News and information that journalists need to serve the public and stay safe.
March 20, 2020
NBC News employee who tested positive for COVID-19 dies
Larry Edgeworth, a longtime NBC News employee, died Thursday after testing positive for coronavirus last week. Edgeworth (shown in this NBC News photo) is the first known news organization employee in the U.S. to die from the disease. The 61-year-old worked at NBC News for 25 years, most recently in an equipment room at the company’s 30 Rock headquarters in New York City. He was a veteran audio technician who worked with network correspondents around the world, NBC said. "Larry was a gentle bear of a man, the heart and soul of our extended NBC family," said Andrea Mitchell, NBC News' chief foreign affairs correspondent. At least two other NBC News employees have tested positive, NBC said. The network is requiring most staffers across the country to work from home.

· A ‘strange and eerie time’ for White House reporters — and a risky one, too (Washington Post)
· Past health crises can inform reporting on COVID-19 (International Journalists’ Network)
The ABCs of self-care: Awareness, balance, and connection

Journalists rush in when other people are running out, putting them on the frontline during times of crisis.

That first responder-level stress can accumulate during a regular work week for journalists. But here we are. The CDC reports there are more than 15,200 cases and counting of coronavirus in the U.S., and 201 deaths. Our colleagues are falling ill. One has died from the virus

We’re working in isolation. Schools are closed. Social outings are off.  

It’s all hitting home. And this time, it’s different. 

Dr. Kevin Becker, a Boston-area trauma psychologist with more than 30 years experience and a keen interest in journalism-related trauma, says being aware of your feelings is the first step. Becker is hosting a weekly chat for journalists — shared in the Journalists Covering Trauma Facebook group —  to discuss challenges and coping mechanisms as they continue to cover coronavirus. 

Becker offered these ABCs of self care in an interview on Friday. 

“There’s that whole level of awareness about what your job is exposing you to,” Becker said. Once journalists are aware of signs of compassion fatigue and vicarious stress , they can do something about it. Assess your stress

  • Are you sleeping as much as you should be? 
  • Has your eating changed?
  • Has your ability to get things done shifted?
  • Are your relationships with loved ones suffering?

“Once you are aware how your work is affecting you, seek balance,” Becker said.

  • Take breaks.
  • Find creative outlets. 
  • Consider training activities. “Upping your level of professional development can balance out constant exposure to things that are draining you,” Becker said.
  • Create a healthy routine: exercise, regular sleep, healthy eating. ”They all have a part in bringing balance into your life,” Becker said. 

“Nobody recovers in isolation,” Becker said. “And here we are in a pandemic, and we’re being told to be isolated.” 

  • Figure out how you can stay connected during this time. Digital tools make it easier than before. 
  • It’s especially important, Becker said, to stay connected with the people we care about and who we know care about us. 
  • Avoid staying connected to talk about work. 

“It’s really the connectedness with others that helps us best cope with trauma, with crisis,” Becker said.

Connect with others: 

A note from our team: We’re in this together. Please share your tips and resources that have been helpful to you in this challenging time. We’ll share them daily in this newsletter and add them to our self-care tip sheet
Try this: Give readers (and nonreaders) a place to share their stories
Executive Editor at The Commonwealth Times
Virginia Commonwealth University

Geen and her student media team have set up a form where “people who have been affected by COVID-19 in any way (classes canceled, having to stay on campus with limited resources, job loss, or people who have gotten sick themselves) can fill out their information to share their experiences. I've seen a lot of other college outlets do this recently, so we wanted to give it a try.” 

“We've experimented a bit in the past with social media callouts, but I think we've found with this that a Google form is a better strategy when you're looking for a lot of information from people.”

Thanks for the tip, Georgia. 

Watch New York Times investigative reporter Sarah Kliff describe how to use forms and other callouts to find people for policy stories during our Policy for the Public workshop.
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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