San Francisco Chronicle managing editor Michael Gray sent this message to the Chronicle staff:
September 17 marks six months since we, and all of the Bay Area, were ordered to stay home, stay safe, and just do our jobs as well as we could under those circumstances. Somehow, despite a growing sentiment out there that as journalists we represent the #fakenews and should not be trusted, our work was deemed essential, and we continued to work — without skipping a beat.
We re-created our communication and production systems on the fly. We blew up the newsroom to focus almost all our attention on an unseen but urgent threat, then did it again when it was clear it was not just urgent but likely long-term.
We saw our top editor depart and the newsroom leadership reformed, a process that continues and enters a new chapter next week. We saw the challenges of COVID amplified by the rise of demands for racial justice and equity. And then by the eruption of the worst wildfire season imaginable. And through it all, we — you — have done some of the finest work this paper has ever done.
Separated, isolated, challenged in ways we might never have imagined, we have stepped up and served our community, keeping them informed, engaged, enlightened. Reporting clearly, insightfully, movingly, authoritatively on what is not just “the news,” but a consequential moment in history, even as we all have lived it ourselves. And in doing so, we’ve seen tens of thousands of new readers subscribing — trusting us to keep them informed.
So please, take a moment, before we all dive back into this important work, to reflect on where we were, where we have come, and what we have managed to do in the past 180 days. Take a moment to be a little bit pleased with yourself — you deserve it. And then catch your breath, because there are more challenging, uncertain months ahead.
Thanks, everyone. I am proud to work with you.