By CapRadio Staff
Different types of emergencies pose their own unique challenges for journalists trying to cover them.
As the COVID-19 outbreak ramped out, the newsroom immediately began discussing how to cover it — with a focus on the communities most likely impacted by the disease.
But reporting on a highly contagious virus requires reporters to take additional precautionary steps before and after being in the field. They have to consider the risks of contracting it themselves — and the risk of unintentionally spreading it to others if they carry the virus but are asymptomatic.
The CapRadio newsroom, in consultation with the Committee to Protect Journalists, has developed a guide for reporters to follow when reporting on coronavirus, especially when interviewing members of a vulnerable population, including the elderly and unsheltered.
It contains recommendations on equipment to use to maximize social distancing during interviews. There are creative suggestions to get quality tape without meeting a source in person. It also provides a detailed, step-by-step guide for sanitation practices before, during and after reporting in the field.
“Journalists are on the front lines of this crisis,” Nick Miller, managing editor of news at CapRadio, said in a statement. “They are vulnerable to exposure, but can also unwittingly infect others. So, while it's crucial that we keep the public informed, we must do so in a way that is safe and protects the community."
CapRadio is sharing the document with you in its current form in an effort to be transparent about how the newsroom is approaching coverage. The guide will be treated as a ‘living document,’ so to speak, which will be updated as new information and recommendations from leading health authorities become available. The most recent version was last updated on March 20, 2020.
CapRadio provides a trusted source of news because of you. As a nonprofit organization, donations from people like you sustain the journalism that allows us to discover stories that are important to our audience. If you believe in what we do and support our mission, please donate today.