Salem-Keizer superintendent Christy Perry stands for the pledge of allegiance at the beginning of a school board meeting on Tuesday, April 14. (Amanda Loman/Salem Reporter)

Reporter Rachel Alexander provided readers powerful scenes as she reported on how coronavirus hit hard at a Salem church.

The account, published Sunday, resulted from the trusting relationship she built with church leaders and members. The story exemplifies the best work in journalism – honest, sensitive, informative.

One scene described 78-year-old Ruth Hall having to leave her husband behind at Salem Hospital for medical care.

She pulled out of the hospital lot for the drive back to their house.

 “I pulled over to the side of the road and sat there and cried for a long time before I could go home,” she said.

The moment reflects the toll COVID-19 is taking on families and the community.

At Salem Reporter, our reporters and photographers have captured that toll in countless ways in recent weeks.

And as the community turns towards recovery, Salem Reporter plans to chronicle Salem’s slow return to vitality.

But to do that, we’re dependent on you.

Without community support through subscriptions and contributions, there would be no story of Salem First Church of the Nazarene.

Without community support, our team couldn’t keep you closely advised on the health and medical issues in Salem. We’ve reported carefully – without panic-inducing tones – as cases of COVID-19 have emerged.

Our news team has paid close attention to the local economy.

Stories have tracked the growing number of jobless claims. We’ve interviewed business owners and reported on their struggles to survive. Salem Reporter has shared the ways that nimble businesses are keeping on the lights and paying workers.

Without community support, we couldn’t report on how Salem schools are adjusting to ever-shifting mandates from state officials. We told you how teachers and administrators intend to teach from a distance. And we shared with you how high school seniors suddenly find themselves graduates, with not another day to be spent in the classroom.

And without community support, we couldn’t provide the remarkable photography provided in recent weeks that records for now and for history how Salem is enduring. Ron Cooper’s scenes from Bush’s Pasture Park, for instance, drew rave reviews. And did Amanda Loman’s work to get behind the scenes to show how key leaders are doing their jobs these days.

At the moment, providing the community the information it can trust is essential because so many conflicting reports swirl out there. As is our practice, we’re questioning authorities and digging out the facts, not just printing government press releases.

And we made a crucial choice early on – making such news free to anyone who wants to read it. No subscription required. No fee.

That free service for Salem isn’t free to produce, though. That’s why we turn to the community again and again for help.

Many of you have helped ensure Salem Reporter is around as a community resource. Digital subscriptions are key. So are contributions, now tax deductible. To those who have sustained us so far: Thank you!

Today, we’re asking again for your support for the kind of journalism that Salem deserves – credible, local, and accurate. If you agree that your community needs such reporting in the weeks and months ahead and you want to join our legion of partners, here are two ways you can help right now:

SUBSCRIBE: A digital subscription starts at $5 a month. If you already subscribe, you can buy a GIFT SUBSCRIPTION for a relative or neighbor who is out of work.

CONTRIBUTE: You can contribute to our Local News Fund. We have partnered with the national Local Media Association to make your contribution legally tax-deductible. You can skip that charitable route and contribute directly, too, by writing us at Salem Reporter (2925 River Rd S., #280 Salem OR 97302)

Provide us the means to keep going and we’ll continue providing the people of Salem the probing and hopeful information so important in these confusing times.

Les Zaitz is editor Salem Reporter. Email: [email protected]