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A guide to taking care of yourself and your newsroom in times of coronavirus

The newsroom guide covers four main topics: general need-to-know info about coronavirus itself and what to do if you’re exposed to it; how to care for your own physical and emotional health as you cover the pandemic; caring for others, whether they’re your colleagues, reporters, or freelancers; and recommendations and tips for event planners.

COVID-19 Guide for Visual Journalists

These general tips for visual journalists were created by Jenell Stewart, DO, MPH, Infectious Diseases physician-scientist at University of Washington.

A new "What's open?" app from Creative Circle Media Solutions is a self-service module allowing businesses, schools and government agencies to indicate whether they are open or closed using a simple form that then displays that information on websites using widgets. Newspaper staffs can also create or edit listings through the back end of the app.
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In this edition of “Herald Headlines,” Executive Editor Phillip O’Connor talks about The Daily Herald’s commitment to covering the coronavirus crisis and urges residents to support the work of the newspaper's dedicated journalists.

The era of self-quarantining brings perhaps unexpected content changes in Kankakee

The wave of self-isolation has changed the Daily Journal lifestyle sections dramatically. While much of the coverage until literally two or three weeks ago centered around events in Kankakee and its surrounding, those events have gone away — for the moment at least.

Silver City paper will maintain delivery to all

Kudos to the Silver City Daily Press in New Mexico, which announced this week that it will not stop delivery for customers who find themselves temporarily unable to pay their subscriptions during this COVID-19 health crisis.

Newspapers in the time of COVID-19

What steps are you taking to meet the challenges at your newspaper — both in terms of keeping your staff safe and providing the needed information your community needs? Share your news with America's Newspapers for this developing story: cdurham@newspapers.org 

In the first days of March, when southern Louisiana had yet to see its first case of COVID-19, the leadership of the parent company of The Times-Picayune | The New Orleans Advocate, began meeting to prepare its properties for possible infection.

By Tuesday, March 10, they had hired a bio-hazard company to do a hospital-grade deep cleaning and disinfecting of its facilities in New Orleans, Baton Rouge and Lafayette. By Wednesday, the company had banned not just business travel, but visits by employees between its properties.

At the same time in the far suburbs of Chicago, the top executives of Shaw Media met to brainstorm COVID-19 preparations, with some arguing the company was overreacting to the threat. Then came a steady increase in cases, and President and CEO John Rung was telling all employees who could work from home to work from home.

Meanwhile, two big national newspapers,  The Washington Post and The New York Times, were telling their employees the same thing.

At its Galveston, Texas, headquarters, Southern Newspapers are preparing for COVID-19 as if it were an approaching hurricane.

At the flagship The Daily News, everything is business as usual, Publisher and Southern Newspapers President Leonard Woolsey told America’s Newspapers.

“Business as usual is a nice way of saying we are running at a high rate of reinvention,” Woolsey said.  “Everything from editorial coverage to advertising strategies are being evaluated in real time and at a pace similar to when we are facing a hurricane coming off the Gulf of Mexico.”

Across the nation, newspapers big and small have reacted quickly — and with a modicum of advance planning not seen at the federal government level — to the threat to their employees and their businesses from the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We are ready,” Judi Terzotis, president and publisher of The Times-Picayune | Advocate, said in an interview. “We’ve tested everything from layout to production and such so we know we could work remotely if we had to. We have proactively stepped up.”

Here’s a look at what some representative newspapers are doing to prepare for a COVID-19 workplace crisis:

In U.S. epicenter for COVID-19, Seattle Times empties its newsroom

“For the first time ever, every newsroom employee is working remotely from home, as are all company employees who are able to do so,” Seattle Times Executive Editor Michele Matassa Flores reported to readers Sunday, March 15.

Galveston publisher: 'We are running at a high rate of reinvention'

The editorial staff at The Daily News in Galveston, Texas, has been repositioned to provide the in-depth coverage of the virus that the community needs.  At the same time, Publisher Leonard Woolsey said he wants to create a reassuring feeling in the community without contributing to panic. 

Hearst's Steve Swartz addresses effect from coronavirus in annual letter

Hearst is continuing to evaluate the safety of its offices on a daily basis, and any colleague who feels uncomfortable coming into work has been advised to talk with their manager about working from home where possible.

Chicago Sun-Times conducts trial run with journalists working from home

From a Chicago Sun-Times editorial on March 12, saying every journalist will work from home for one day in test:

This is a trial run. We’ve seen no evidence of COVID-19 in our newsroom or in the places we send reporters. But we want to make sure we can keep our employees safe and continue to provide you with the news, 24 hours a day.

Strict social distancing is rigorously enforced in New Orleans, Baton Rouge and Lafayette

In addition to the deep cleaning and practicing for remote operations, the newspapers in New Orleans, Baton Rouge and Lafayette are rigorously enforcing a policy of “social distancing.”

Shaw Media: 'Anyone who can work from home should work from home'

A detailed memo outlines four basic goals set forth by Shaw Media in response to COVID-19, the most dramatic of which is the directive to employees to work from home if at all possible. “We said anyone who can work from home should work from home,” Rung said in an interview.

The Pilot: 'We exist for moments like this'

“In turbulent times like these, our community looks to The Pilot and its publications to provide accurate information and a steady dose of normalcy," David Woronoff, publisher of The Pilot, in Southern Pines, North Carolina, wrote in a memo to all employees. "Thank you all for staying calm and focused on your work, as it’s very easy to get distracted.”

Graham Osteen: Readers are depending on us now more than ever

Employees of Osteen Publishing Company were given links to the America's Newspapers coronavirus page and to the CDC website as sites that are "pertinent to our industry's situation, so please refer to them regularly for updates in the coming days."

At Chicago dailies, COVID-19 comes into one HQ and another tries a one-day remote newsroom experiment

Even as the COVID-19 pandemic brings shocking cultural and economic developments on a daily, if not hourly, basis, the week of March 9 was a particularly jarring one for Chicagoans. At the Chicago Sun-Times, the reaction was to try going remote for a day on March 12, with nearly all newsroom employees working from home. But at the rival Chicago Tribune, the challenge wasn’t a test. The possibility that its employees had encountered a person infected with COVID-19 was very real.
The Poynter Institute is dropping tuition for all News University webinars and self-directed courses  to help educators and students affected by COVID-19 (coronavirus).
Day in and day out, newspapers bind communities together, enhancing civic life and informing, entertaining and educating their local audiences. But it is during crises that newspapers prove their mettle. Newspapers are especially essential in this COVID-19 public health crisis. (This editorial is available for reprint in newspapers.)
What you need to know

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