We are grieving with you, and we are working on reporting.

A message from our publisher.

We are grieving with you, and we are working on reporting.
"The Bird," a statue by Will Ryman on Michigan State University’s campus. Raymond Holt for ELi

By Alice Dreger, ELi’s Publisher

We knew it wasn’t a question of if; it was always a question of when.

A little over two years ago, ELi’s editorial team ran an emergency drill so we could be prepared to serve this community in times of crisis. One of the three scenarios we worked through during that practice session was a mass shooting on Michigan State University’s campus.

East Lansing Deputy Police Chief Steve Gonzalez ran that drill with our team. ELi reporting staff member Nathan Andrus – who was just named to ELi’s Board of Directors along with Karessa Weir – presented us with three surprise scenarios. We talked through with Gonzalez what the police would be doing and what ELi should be doing.

It didn’t really surprise us that Nathan elected to run a mass shooter drill. This is America.

And what we learned from that drill, I used last night, as Managing Editor Julie Seraphinoff and I made decisions about how to handle live reporting.

We stayed out of the way of emergency services. We knew not to report from the scanners and social media, because that can just cause unnecessary panic and wrong moves. We tried to keep people informed about shelter-in-place orders and to remind them how to sign themselves up for direct emergency alerts from ELPD and MSU.

As we come into the aftermath of these killings, Julie and I recognize that the ELi team’s best use is not to try to get the information that all the big media outlets will obtain.

Instead, our aim is to be here for you, the people who live here, and to provide you the information you need to get through today and tomorrow and the next days.

We are working on bringing you information about closures, postponements and psychological support services.

We are also working on having our reporters bring what I would call “witnessing” – reporting that helps you feel seen and heard, reporting that recognizes that you are a member of a community in shock and in grief.

And, of course, we are working to continue the reporting we do most of the time, the bread-and-butter reporting on what happened at school board last night and what will happen at city council when it meets again. (Tonight’s council meeting has been canceled.) We know that we can’t stop doing that work because you still need us to do it.

But as we do that, we want you to know we are grieving with you. Our hearts are heavy for everyone personally impacted by this senseless slaughter. We feel disoriented by the beautiful weather and the quiet of the skies after last night’s endless helicopter noise.

We wish it could have stayed “if” longer for our city.

Stay with us as much as you need. Remember you can sign up for our newsletter here. You can follow us on Twitter and on Facebook. And you can reach us through this portal. Let us know if we can help, including by simply listening to what you want to share.