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The Jefferson Journal is JPR's members' magazine featuring articles, columns, and reviews about living in Southern Oregon and Northern California, as well as articles from NPR. The magazine also includes program listings for JPR's network of stations.

News Never Sleeps

Recently, I had to insist my husband go on a “news cleanse” when I found he’d been awake into the wee hours most nights reading article after news article about the snowballing impact of the novel coronavirus.

I don’t believe he chose to binge on COVID-19 news because he loves to worry. It’s that stories about the virus have gone viral. Coronavirus doesn’t just dominate the health and finance sections of the national media, it has infected every topic area of every news source. Even sports and entertainment headlines have been all about the virus.

The never-ending cycle of regular news can be disturbing enough, but add a global pandemic and it’s no wonder some folks can’t sleep. The Jefferson Exchange recently hosted a local therapist who advised limiting your consumption of news if it’s causing anxiety or stress. She recommended choosing just one or two specific times each day to check in with trusted news sources.

My husband decided that he would limit himself to 60 minutes of news a day. He’d stick with his usual morning dose of JPR, alternating between Morning Edition and the Jefferson Exchange. At night, instead of reading news online, he’s listening to music, watching sitcom reruns with the kids, or reading a book. He’s sleeping better now.

If you see someone crouched under a table draped with blankets, maybe it’s kids playing blanket fort, or maybe there’s a reporter working under there.

I admit, I’ve been guilty of news over-indulgence as well. Given my work at JPR, I can’t really take a break from the news. Fortunately, the regional news on JPR is delivered by incredibly committed and hard-working journalists sharing information we need and stories we can learn from.

COVID-19 is impacting communities all over the world, but JPR is covering its impact right here in the State of Jefferson. We bring you the voices of local health officials, city and county leaders, health workers at our regional hospitals, owners and employees of shuttered local businesses, teachers from our kids’ empty schools, and our neighbors helping one another.

And, though eclipsed by the pandemic storm, there remain countless other issues affecting our communities that never went away--wildfire readiness and resilience, affordable housing shortages, education funding gaps, social inequities, and much more.

It’s not all doom and gloom, of course. JPR also brings you inspiring stories of hardworking people in the region, fascinating local history, and insightful interviews with interesting people. And when you’re ready for a break from the news, there’s always great music playing. It’s all about balance.

Like many workers these days, JPR reporters April Ehrlich, Erik Neumann, Dave Young and Liam Moriarty have been banished from the office building. But that hasn’t stopped them from bringing you the regional news you depend on. They are conducting interviews by cell phone, writing stories on their laptops, and even recording broadcasts from makeshift studios in their homes. It turns out that closets have pretty decent acoustics, where closely-packed clothes absorb echoes and dampen background noise. And if you see someone crouched under a table draped with blankets, maybe it’s kids playing blanket fort, or maybe there’s a reporter working under there.

When it feels like society has shut down, it can be reassuring to know that your regional reporters are still working their butts off. Their perseverance is a reminder of how much public radio matters. JPR and other public radio outlets provide the news and programming we need for a healthy, balanced community. Avoiding worry may be impossible these days, but knowing we can rely on public radio should help us all rest a little easier.

Angela Decker is the Senior Producer of the Jefferson Exchange. She has a long history as a print journalist and is a part-time poet. She's the mother of two hungry teens and too many pets.