3 Nebraskans seek to honor COVID victims
August 27, 2020
It’s tough to find the silver lining in a pandemic. Not only do we at the newspaper miss covering events we miss not being able to pray for and support those suffering from COVID-19. However, our government mistakenly believes it is wrong to identify those who have contracted the disease. Thus health care agencies are not allowed to release the names of victims.
We recently communicated with a neighbor who has lost two close friends to the disease. We have a regular contributor to this newspaper who has lost at least two family members, including a brother to the disease. A subscriber in Florida reported COVID-19 claimed the lives of both a niece and a nephew.
While it is legal for us to publish the names of those suffering from COVID-19, it is nearly impossible to find their names.
But this week three Nebraska residents are launching an effort to crowdsource the names and stories of Nebraska’s COVID dead. The goal is simple: To tell the stories of who we’ve lost, and better understand what we’re all going through.
The information collected will be shared far and wide.
To-date, more than 250 Nebraskans have died but we don’t know much about them. Every day a health department issues a press release that says a man or woman of a such and such age died. From the health department they are only numbers but we know they are more than numbers.
They are mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, friends, neighbors and members of our community, though we know little about them.
In other times, we would have memorials to the dead. We would remember them and talk about them.
And so three men, Matt Wynn, John Heaston and Matt Waite have set about to create a list of all who have died. They want more than just the names of the deceased, They would like to know where they were from and what they did.
They want to document those we have lost. The project isn’t limited to Nebraska. Similar endeavors are being started in other states.
In Nebraska the data is being organized by the Roper Lab for Data in Community News at the University of Nebraska Lincoln College of Journalism and Mass Communications.
We have a link to the submission form with this story on our website. It is several lines of code which is easiest to access on our website. If you want more information, here are the names of the three men responsible and their email addresses. Ask and they mail email a form.
Matt Wynn ([email protected] com)
John Heaston, The Reader/El Perico/PioneerMedia ([email protected] thereader .com)
Matt Waite, University of Nebraska-Lincoln College of Journalism and Mass Communications, (Matt. [email protected])