Journal Opinion: Together in Transformation

Ask Google what lessons businesses learned in 2020 and the citations appear to be endless. No industry was untouched by the pandemic and the most obvious takeaway from lists and lists of lessons learned is that every business was forced to rethink how it operates. 

“For many who crossed the digital divide [in 2020] there will be no going back,” The Wall Street Journal succinctly summarized Dec. 26. “The COVID-19 pandemic forced Americans to collectively swap the physical for the digital world in a matter of months. As retailers learn to operate without stores, business travelers without airplanes, and workers without offices, much of what started out as a temporary expedient is likely to become permanent.”

So here we are: 2021. Thankfully, widespread vaccinations are beginning worldwide. In time, the pandemic that plagues our new world will be conquered – but we will never return to business as it used to be.

The trials of 2020 required businesses and organizations to reinvent themselves, to learn new ways of accomplishing their missions. In this edition, we look at how our industry – local media – is adapting to the challenges presented by the virus and the ever-evolving digital media platforms. In many ways, we’re no different than any other industry.

There’s no diminishing, however, through no fault of their own, how too many businesses were unable to survive 2020. And the ultimate fate of many more remains uncertain. Most excruciating is watching the restaurant and entertainment industries suffer – their idled low-wage workers  dependent on unemployment benefits and food banks. And never forget the 340,000 Americans who have died, as of press time, from COVID-19 and their grieving families. Hospital ICU units are filled past capacity; the immediate outlook is bleak.

We will get through this but many more people and businesses will die.

As we begin 2021, we have reason for optimism as well. General Motors Co. and LG Chem are putting up walls at their $2.3 billion Ultium Cells plant under construction in Lordstown. Recent land transfers adjacent to the site give rise to speculation of a greatly expanded project (See page 1). A stone’s throw away, Lordstown Motors Corp. is testing the beta model of its electric pickup and is on track for production to begin in September.

Ultium and Lordstown Motors are the marquee headlines in the transformation that lies ahead. There are hundreds more transformative stories about homegrown companies moving forward and innovating opportunities from the challenges of 2020. We hope to tell your story, which brings us to Growth Report 2021.

Tell us about your transformation. Throughout this edition, you’ll see advertisements that seek your growth report story – and your marketing message. This year’s theme is “Together in Transformation.”

Go for it!