The Indiana Publisher

May 2020 IP

Hoosier State Press Association - The Indiana Publisher

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Ruth Witmer Hoosier State Press Association Typically, Kelly Lafferty Gerber would work afternoons and evenings photographing assignments for the Kokomo Tribune. There were always a lot of events, high school sports and more. But by mid-March, Gov. Eric Holcomb had placed the state in lockdown mode to help curb the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus. The typical coverage topics were on hold as people were confined to their homes. "All that was canceled," Lafferty Gerber said. "I was like, all right, let's think of something to do to illustrate what's going on." Early on, Lafferty Gerber had seen a newspaper in California that ran a series of window portraits of community members and decided to apply that to high school seniors in her area who were finishing their year from the confines of their homes. They wouldn't have graduation and proms, but this was a way to mark their milestones. The past two months have seen newspapers across the state work to respond to the changing landscape of limitations imposed by the pandemic. With Indiana now moving toward Stage 3 of a statewide reopening, newspapers are continuing to adapt to a world in flux. Lafferty Gerber said she was looking for a safe way to tell the stories of her community's high schoolers when she embarked on her project, "The Quarantined Class of 2020." It includes portraits taken from a distance with teens in their home windows paired with extended Q&A captions where each student was asked the same three questions about their thoughts and feelings. "They've been really positive — which is really encouraging to me personally. They have a mature, worldly outlook on it all," said Lafferty Gerber who was impressed by the empathy and maturity expressed by the teens. For Lafferty Gerber, the project provided a creative outlet to continue storytelling during trying times. "It gave me a sense of normalcy just to talk to another human being for a few minutes. You don't realize how important that is until you don't have a choice," she said. The Indianapolis Recorder started and is continuing a series of Facebook Live town halls to address concerns of members of the community. "I sort of had this town hall idea before and we were thinking about launching town halls this year," said Editor Oseye Boyd. When the pandemic hit, the idea to do town halls virtually rather than in person was the brainchild of president and COO Publisher The Indiana Volume 85, Issue 5 • May 2020 Published on second Thursday monthly See Forward, page 13 Moving forward Seniors included in Kelly Lafferty Gerber's series of high school senior portraits for the Kokomo Tribune, "The Quarantined Class of 2020," from top left: Caitlin Laubsch, Eastern High School; Nico Dinglasa, Guerin Catholic High School; Patrick Bath, Northwest- ern High School; and Halle Rizzo with her dog Ollie, Western High School. Two graduating high school seniors — an Ella and an Elle — have been named as recipients of the 2020 HSPA Foundation Legacy Scholarships. A panel of retired Indiana newspaper publishers chose the college-bound students, Ella Miller and Elle O'Bannon, from among this year's applicants. Each will receive $1,000 toward their education. Two scholarships are given each year to children or grandchildren of employees or independent contractors of an Indiana newspaper. Ella Miller of Fort Wayne is the granddaughter of Mark Miller, opinion page editor for the Bluffton News-Banner. In his 45-year career, he also served in a vast range of roles including presi- dent, publisher, editor, ad sales, ad manager, and general manager. His granddaughter Ella is graduating from Carroll High School and plans to study music education at Anderson University. Ella said she is a show choir enthusiast and her grandparents and parents were always support- ive of her interests. In her applica- tion, Ella wrote about how her grandfather Mark would come to HSPA Legacy Scholarship recipients announced Miller O'Bannon Newspapers respond to community needs, storytelling challenges as Indiana moves toward Stage 3 of reopening most of the state See Legacy, page 12

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