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Journalist Resources for Current Emergency

- Coverage Ideas, Remote Reporting, Ethics, Self-Care

By now, most folks working in a Texas newsroom have seen a viral video of a Houston news crew getting verbally accosted during a COVID-19 related live shot late last week. We’re likely to see more of it in the coming days. People are angry, frustrated, and frankly, a little scared.

The sad fact is that it’s a common human response to lash out at someone or something when feeling such emotions. Blaming the messenger is a practice that’s as old as Roman times.

We’re any easy target, especially when we’re in the field.

Reporting on this ongoing situation is going to take a continuous and steady stream of solid facts, as well as a large measure of courage and even temperament. It’s not unlike what we’ve seen, or experienced, in other long-term major event coverage.

There are resources available to help journalists.

Covering COVID-19

TAB’s frequent collaborator on newsroom seminars, Al Tompkins of the Poynter Institute, has started a daily newsletter, Covering COVID-19. Tompkins’ goal is to inspire reporting that is useful, reflective, and even uplifting. You can sign up for the newsletter here.  He and Poynter are also looking for good coverage examples: how it was done, who newsrooms talked to and where newsrooms found sources. Tompkins and Poynter will endeavor to share the best with everyone.

Working Remotely, Prepping Newsrooms for the Long Haul

Some newsroom staffers are used to working remotely, but for those who aren’t, Poynter has compiled a list of tools that may help newsrooms address different needs of the team in staying connected and effective while working from home.  These tools will make the transition to working from home easier.  Beyond working remotely, newsrooms are preparing for the Caronavirus in various ways.

Ethical Decision-Making

Poynter has also explored some of the ethical decisions newsrooms have encountered thus far in COVID-19 reporting.  You can read about them here.  RadioInk offers these 10 Commandments of Coronavirus Coverage.

Self Care

Tompkins wrote this past Sunday about the need for journalists to care of themselves during this stressful time. He and his wife Sydney, a licensed psychotherapist and retired minister, have been sharing this message at workshops around the country for the past year.

Al and Rev. Tompkins have produced a short video on the topic of self-care for journalists which you can view here.  There’s also a summary of nine tips journalists can put into practice on the same page.

What Texas journalists are doing today to keep the public informed is important and needed. Keep up the good work and take care of yourself in the weeks to come.

Questions? Contact TAB’s Michael Schneider or call (512) 322-9944.

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