News and information that journalists need to serve the public and stay safe.
March 18, 2020
How The Washington Post’s graphic reporter created that viral virus simulation
At the top of The Washington Post’s most-read list for the last four days has been a visual explainer of how the coronavirus could spread and how America could #flattenthecurve . Post graphics reporter Harry Stevens describes the collaboration that led to the graphic — “I got a lot of tough and constructive criticism ... which ended up making the final graphics better and clearer” and reader reaction. 

“I've received hundreds of messages which basically fall into four categories. The first, and most common, is just readers saying thanks. The story has helped show people that there's a light at the end of the tunnel if we adapt our behavior, and so it's given people hope in an anxious time, which is a reaction I did not anticipate but feel good about.

The second is requests from readers to translate the article into their native language, which we've been working hard to accommodate. We already have Spanish and Italian versions published, and more are on the way.

The third is technical questions about how I built the visualizations – which programming language, which libraries, and so on.

The fourth is from readers who criticize the article on the basis that the simulations do not accurately reflect the reality of covid-19.”

Try this: Meteorologist starts online weather classes
Weather has taken a back seat to breaking news coverage related to coronavirus — and rightfully so, says Albert Ramon , chief meteorologist for KVUE in Austin, Texas. Tapping into his desire to educate, Ramon is starting a series of online weather classes geared toward helping families — and anyone — now stuck at home.

How did you come up with the idea to engage the community in this way?
I wanted to be able to contribute some way in the days and weeks ahead and, with school being out indefinitely, I figured there was a need for students to continue to get some education.

How might another journalist - not necessarily a meteorologist - tap into their expertise and present it in new ways for audiences? 
I'm a firm believer that learning shouldn't stop, no matter what's happening in our world. I have a neighbor who is offering Spanish lessons via Facetime and a friend who is doing cooking classes on Facebook. It's these little things that will go a long way to get us through this together. If you have an expertise or hobby that you want to teach others, go for it!

Chicago Tribune’s primary coverage changed by pandemic
Tuesday’s primaries in Illinois, Florida and Arizona were the first to take place after public health guidelines significantly tightened in response to the coronavirus outbreak. The Chicago Tribune’s Rick Pearson shared a glimpse of what primary day coverage looked like during a public health alert.

“I’d note that we didn’t have record low turnout in Chicago and its suburbs despite polling place snafus and concern of coronavirus. The Democratic presidential contest was called early, which actually helped us have more time to get granular on the results, point to differences from a close 2016 contest, and note demographics of importance using AP VoteCast … . As for upcoming primaries, I’m not sure what we’ll face though the vote-by-mail push is real despite potential problems as a one-stop alternative." 

Self Care: It's a marathon, not a sprint
"The best thing we’ve found so far is to stick to a routine. That includes breaks. We know the work we do is critical to our community but no one should put themselves in harm’s way or think they can constantly be ‘on.’ If one person needs to tap out for a while, someone else can jump in. We’re still a newsroom after all. We have to keep in mind that, while it may all feel like breaking news, this is a marathon of coverage — not a sprint.”

Editor in Chief, Corpus Christi Caller-Times
This newsletter is written & edited by the National Press Club Journalism Institute staff: Beth Francesco, Jim Kuhnhenn, and Julie Moos. Send us your questions and suggestions for topics to cover.

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