Reporting during coronavirus

Hi everyone,

I hope you are all holding up okay and staying home to the maximal degree possible. If you’re a healthcare, service industry, childcare, or government employee reading this — thank you so much for all your work right now.

This is an extraordinarily hard, chaotic time, and calls for a lot of compassion and solidarity. It calls for tipping generously, for supporting local businesses, for doing what you can to help make it easier for the elderly around you, for balancing your mental health with the need to stay informed.

I’ve been working hard from home this week to do coronavirus reporting, and have been so impressed by the incredible journalism coming out across the industry — even as outlets take an abrupt and painful hit from the loss of advertising revenue. (Many outlets, especially local ones, depend on ads about businesses and upcoming events — all of which are being slashed.) If you can afford to subscribe to your local news organizations right now, I’d strongly encourage that.

That said, while there’s been so much strong reporting, I have also worried that too much coverage of the pandemic has sensationalized, and often stigmatized, those who got the disease. Contracting COVID-19 is not shocking news, and it’s going to happen to so many of us. What’s shocking is the government response, and the lack of preparedness for this moment. If you do get sick, please, please don’t be hard on yourself. We’re all vulnerable and extremely susceptible — the blame does not belong with you.

I’m in the middle of reporting a more in-depth COVID-19 story, but wanted to share a piece I published this morning. Earlier this week Minnesota’s Democratic governor suspended parts of his state workers’ collective bargaining agreements. At The Intercept I reported the back story behind this move, and why workers elsewhere are on guard for anti-union leaders who might try and exploit the crisis. Bonus for labor / history fans: Nelson Lichtenstein. You can read that here.

And if you’re a new subscriber to this newsletter, welcome, and thank you. I really appreciate it — it’s an especially uncertain time for freelancers.

Stay safe, enjoy your weekend, and more soon.