Digital Editor Michael Abernethy nailed our focus Monday when the staff met to talk about Hurricane Florence coverage and our schedules.

“We have the opportunity to be the resource,” he said.

Indeed. That’s what good newspapers and their accompanying websites do every day.

But in the moment of impending emergency that has to be the focus.

Immediately, we took down the paywall on the website and let readers know via social media. We added a note about that in the next day’s newspaper.

I told my colleagues we needed to be ready well into this coming week with no time off. We reserved a Burlington hotel room in case folks couldn’t get to and from home.

No one balked. We understand this is what we do. Reporter Isaac Groves reminds us of this this at the end of each each email with a sign-off quoting Lee Strasberg in “Godfather II,” who says, “This … is … the … business … we’ve … chosen.”

I would never compare journalists to first responders, those on the front lines of emergencies. Our role in newspapers is to follow them and let the general public know what’s happening.

I like to say in speeches that we are the historians of the day before. We tell you what happened.

The meeting took place on a day when the eye of the storm, after hitting near Wilmington, aimed straight at Alamance County. Early forecasts had us getting straight-line winds up to 80 mph with 17 inches of rain.

We brainstormed ideas, the vast majority of which were aimed at helping our community cope with what we thought was coming.

Getting gas, water, generators. Finding your way to safety. And, because this is Alamance County, finding bread and milk.

Long-time residents joke with me we could win a Pulitzer if we could figure out why it’s bread and milk no matter the emergency. Hurricane? Bread and milk. Ice storm? Bread and milk. Snow? Bread and milk. Aliens? Bread and milk. Zombies? Bread and milk and shotguns. Antifa? A croissant and soy milk in my Café Americano.

We also started keeping a list of cancelled events, a list that grew like a weed. Among the biggest were the cancellations of Carousel Festival, a Taste of Gibsonville, and the appearance of world-famous attorney Alan Dershowitz at Elon University.

Tuesday was the second-busiest day in the history of www.thetimesnews.com as we updated our family, friends and neighbors on a quickly changing scenario.

At the same time, I had friends from throughout the country asking if I was going to evacuate.

“Can’t,” I wrote them back on social media. “In times of trouble journalists have two options. 1.) Go to the trouble. 2.) Hunker down.”

My brilliant daughter checked in with me, asking if I was evacuating. No, I told her. But given she’s grown up in my newsrooms over 18 years (on Sept. 25), she understood. Nonetheless, she was happy for me and her new Alamance County friends as the storm moved south.

On Thursday, I answered my cellphone.

“Hello, big head,” said the voice.

“Mom!”

“Are you safe?” my 86-year-old mother asked. Despite being a 52-year-old executive editor who’s seen uncountable emergencies, storms, dangers and death threats, she still has to check on me.

“Yes, Mom,” I said.

By then the storm had moved far south and then was expected to turn north to the point where Alamance County was no longer in the “cone of uncertainty,” which I think would make a great movie title.

I assured her that I was safe, my car was fine and that I was wearing clean underwear. (Why is that every mother’s worry?)

Having my family and so many friends check on me is particularly heartwarming. There are days where I despise the anger and stupidity on social media. Yet it allows long-time, dear friends to connect.

I love that one generation of Jacksons, my mother, and another generations of Jacksons, my daughter, can calm their anxiety, electronically or otherwise.

I love that my colleagues sprang into action early in the week when we needed to, without concern about readership.

And, personally, I’ll tell you I am relieved about not having the eye of the storm pass over Alamance County during my first hurricane.

Rich Jackson is the executive editor of the Times-News. He can be reached at 336-506-3030 or at rich.jackson@thetimesnews.com. You also can continue the community conversation with him on Twitter @EditorRjackson and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/EditorRichJackson.