Remain vigilant, but remain calm, the vaccine is doing its job

Christmas shoppers in face masks out in Norwich. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

We've seen a return to wearing of facemasks in certain situations this week - Credit: Denise Bradley

There are numerous reasons as to why we chose to put something on the front cover of the Eastern Daily Press.

Primarily, of course, it's a vital mechanism to help us sell the product. The front cover is our shop window and one of few opportunities to appeal to the casual passer-by, which is why often you will see competitions or offers featured and why the goings on at Norwich City Football Club also regularly appear.

Football may be a bit of a marmite subject, but when the Canaries are doing well people undeniably want to read more about them than when they are struggling.

However, cold hard sales isn't the only reason we'll decide what leads the paper (the 'splash' as we call it in the newsroom). If it was we'd soon turn to sensationalism, which would very quickly switch regular readers off and lose us our reputation, which is why we try to avoid it at all costs.

Sometimes a subject matter is so important it's the right thing to do. During the height of the coronavirus pandemic, for instance, there were numerous messages we felt needed to be given such prominence. Sometimes that was more important than grabbing a quick sale.

On other occasions our choice of front might be determined by a desire to let the reader know what we stand for as a paper, whether that be a 'leader' piece giving a view on a particular subject or attaching ourselves to a particular campaign.

It is these front pages which, I believe, help shape people's long-term view of the EDP and its role in Norfolk and Waveney and whether they feel we play a constructive role in society. I sincerely hope you believe that overall we do - and that's why you're reading this. Even if you don't always agree with everything we write.

Face masks, changes to the curriculum and impact on exams were cited by parents as ways students had

Some school pupils are being asked to wear masks again - Credit: PA

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However, sometimes, the decision of what we chose NOT to put on the front page is as important as what we DO put on there. We had one of those examples just this week.

A front page presence puts a certain status or prominence to a story. Whether we mean to or not - it makes a statement.

So when news started to emerge over the weekend relating to the new Omicron variant of coronavirus and the subsequent government measures to stem any spread it was a clear front page contender. Here you had specific actions being taken that would very quickly impact people's lives.

Yet, 24 hours later, when deciding what to lead with in Tuesday's edition, we took the active decision not to lead with Omicron.

Of course it still featured heavily inside, but we felt it was important to play our part in preventing people from unnecessary panic about the latest twist in the pandemic.

We must all be careful, wary and remain vigilant - but equally let's keep things in perspective. As I write this we've seen just 14 cases of the new strain in the UK and there is still so much that is unknown about the impact of the strain and how it reacts of the jab.

I totally understand why people are so nervous. We've seen so many lives lost, livelihoods fall apart and plans ruined, especially at this time of year. But let's not forget that whilst cases may be high, hospital admissions remain very low amongst those who have been jabbed. The vaccine is doing its job.

The Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine is administered. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

The vaccine remains the best way to protect ourselves from covid, says David Powles - Credit: Denise Bradley

Vigilance is one thing. It isn't too much to ask that we all start wearing face masks in various settings. That measure probably should never have been removed.

But hysteria and panic is something completely different. We can't keep putting our lives on hold every time a new variant emerges.

Let's keep following the evidence, get the jab and get the booster. That remains the very best way we keep the ravages of this pandemic at bay.

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