It takes more than a devastating fire to quell the spirit of this community.
The Grand Strand proved that in 2009 when a wildfire tore through Barefoot Resort, and we proved it this weekend when a blaze leveled 26 condominium units to ash.
This was what we in the news biz call big news. Big news, by the way, can be good or, as in this case, very, very bad.
But more than that, it is the kind of news that demonstrates the critical, even life-saving, importance of the connections between the media and the communities they cover.
I was, of course, especially proud of the work of our team on Saturday as it quickly became clear this was no routine fire call. Text alerts, social media and The Sun News online gave us ways we didn’t have back in 2009 – when North Myrtle Beach was dealing with a massive fire – to keep people up to date on the status of the danger they faced and where to find help.
And while we are proud to claim the title of the only daily newspaper in the area, we were one of many sources for information this weekend. In the wake of such devastation, it is clear that it is a time to put competition aside in the interest of serving the common good, and serve the common good is what our weekly, radio and television partners have also done.
It seems appropriate that such a demonstration of the kinds of service and aid we can provide came at the end of Sunshine Week, a week designated to highlight the public’s access to government information.
You can be sure that all members of your media marketplace will continue its coverage of this devastating event, and the corresponding upsurge of community support that surfaced even before the flames were out.
And yes, we’ll be competing for coverage of the angles that matter most to you. That’s how it should be, and that’s why a free press is important.
About those angles
Many questions remain and we have no doubt investigators will be working overtime seeking answers.
We’ve brainstormed many of those questions ourselves but we also could use your help. What questions do you have about the fire? Send them to firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll take your concerns into consideration as we plan our ongoing coverage. Please put “fire questions” in the subject line.
Thanks for all you’ve already done to help those who lost everything in these fires. And thanks for continuing to read our coverage and send us your thoughts on what’s important.