How to Cover a Fast-Moving Pandemic

As Jon Allsop notes in a recent CJR newsletter, advice and analysis that seemed pressing a week ago is quaint and complacent today. The impossible has become commonplace before our eyes.

We have no idea where this crisis is headed. But what we do know is that the coronavirus, in addition to being terrifyingly contagious, acts as an unusually merciless magnifying glass, showing the flaws in our politics, our healthcare system, our social safety net. And in our media.

Here is what we have learned so far.

The journalism that matters is local. We’ve known for a while that the loss of good local news outlets not only imperils a working democracy, but leaves a void in thoughtful journalism. We have too many (cheap) talking heads and not enough (expensive) concrete and useful information. This crisis reinforces that.

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