Pat Furgurson texted his former colleague.
“Hey there, you still on the corona beat?”
He shared a project supporting local businesses through gift cards with Capital Gazette reporter Selene San Felice.
“Miss y’all. Stay safe. #PressOn,” wrote Furgurson, who was one of the reporters who covered the shooting in his newsroom in Annapolis, Maryland, recognized along with them with a Pulitzer citation, appeared with them on the cover of Time Magazine as 2018’s Person of the Year, and who, in February, took a buyout.
“…We’re all on the corona beat now,” San Felice responded. “Miss you more!!!!”
“Also, I saw another local effort,” Furgurson wrote. “Someone has set up a table on the circle on Arundel Beach Rd. just of Ritchie giving away bag lunches ‘for those in need.’”
San Felice went to check it out, and a few days later, her story was up: ‘For anyone who needs it’: Neighborhood mom leaves free lunches, message on table in Severna Park.
That story is just 169 words, but since it published last week, it’s gotten thousands of shares.
Her former colleague has a great eye, San Felice said.
While most journalists aren’t in their newsrooms right now, they can be in their communities to spot stories like this, both physically and virtually.
“If people feel safe, I would encourage them to just drive around the neighborhoods and look for things like that. And also scour the neighborhood Facebook groups,” she said. “People really want to share good news right now, so they’ll be extra willing to help.”
In Annapolis, that help comes through an ongoing act of kindness. Here’s the lead of San Felice’s story:
In Severna Park, kindness comes in the form of a folding table and brown bags.
Someone has been leaving bagged lunches outside the Arundel Beach Road traffic circle every day from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
A sign on the table reads, “For anyone who needs it…I will be leaving some healthy sack lunches on this table for you if you are hungry and need to eat. Made with love by a neighborhood mom in a clean and sanitized kitchen.”
Here are a few other ways local newsrooms are covering the story of the coronavirus:
- The Indianapolis Star harnessed our love for our furry new full-time coworkers in this piece featuring submitted photos of people working from home with their pets. Thank you, Chewy, Moira, Kitty, Charlie Brown and the rest of you. You’re good boys and girls.
- WRAL in North Carolina created “Here to Help: Support Local Businesses.” The virtual fundraiser raised $275,000 for the NC Restaurant Workers Relief Fund. The TV station also created a directory of local businesses offering take-out, pick-up, curbside and other options.
- Good news is in short supply right now, unless you know where to look. There are two things I like about this piece from the Tampa Bay Times, which Poynter owns. One: It’s a collection of 10 uplifting stories. And two: These are all stories the Times reported out recently, and this is a great way to remind people of that work in a different way.
- On Tuesday, Lee Enterprises, which runs newspapers in 25 states, announced furloughs and pay cuts.
- The Capital Times in Madison, Wisconsin, announced furloughs and pay cuts on Tuesday.
- 22nd Century Media, which published community newspapers in the Chicago suburbs, went out of business on Tuesday.
- The Times Leader in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, announced Monday that it’s cutting print on Saturday, Monday and Tuesday.
- Also on Monday, the Henrico Citizen in Henrico County, Virginia, announced it was stopping its twice-monthly print edition for April “and possibly beyond.”
- VTDigger, a nonprofit digital news site in Vermont, announced its first three layoffs since launching 10 years ago.
- Adams Publishing Group, which operates dailies and weeklies in 20 states, announced a cut in workforce hours.
One question: How can we help our colleagues experiencing furloughs and layoffs right now? I’m collecting tips, ideas and suggestions.
One way Poynter wants to help right now is by sharing and amplifying all the resources we can. Please send me more.
- Poynter is now offering free chats with our experts. You can read the takeaways and watch the first, with Kelly McBride on newsroom ethics in a coronavirus outbreak.
- Join INN for this Q&A webinar with health editors at 11:30 Eastern time on Thursday, April 2.
- Join Joy Mayer in this webinar on Earning Trust with Coronavirus Coverage at noon Eastern time on Wednesday, April 8.
- Local Media Association just launched the COVID-19 Local News Fund, “democratizing tax-deductible donations to local news organizations through our 501(c)(3) foundation. This program is available for independent and family-owned media companies only.” Find out more by registering for a series of webinars at noon Eastern time, Thursday, April 2, Friday, April 3 and Monday, April 6.
- LION has a free webinar on How to Manage Your Business in the Face of a Pandemic at 1 p.m. Eastern time on Friday, April 3.
- International Women’s Media Foundation has created the Journalism Relief Fund. The Fund will offer up to $2,000 “to women-identifying journalists in dire straits — journalists who have faced significant financial hardship, lost work, were recently laid off or who urgently need assistance to avoid severe, irreversible outcomes.”
- Do you have a COVID-19 data story you’d like to have peer-reviewed? Open News has created this great way to check each other’s work.
- Sign up for the Center for Cooperative Media’s weekly email, The Local Connection, which includes great ways to localize national stories.
- INN has tips for managing coronavirus reporting risks and a robust list of resources for nonprofit newsrooms covering COVID-19.
- Reynolds Journalism Institute has a good read about what all this can teach us about Solutions Journalism.
- The Solutions Journalism Network has this collected these coronavirus stories any newsroom can republish or re-air.
- National Geographic has a COVID-19 Emergency Fund for Journalists, which will be offering between $1,000 and $8,000 for “local coverage of the preparation, response, and impact of this global pandemic as seen through evidence-based reporting”
- The Carter Center has these mental health resources for journalists.
- The National Association of Hispanic Journalists is hosting weekly webinars on mental health in both English and Spanish.
- The American Press Institute collected this list of tools, content and funding.
- Check out this Covering COVID-19 Media Briefing Webinar from SciLine, and this one on Social Isolation, Mental Health and COVID-19. SciLine also has quotable statements from experts, tips for covering the pandemic, a state-by-state embeddable infographic showing cases and a set of links to other credible sources.
- You’ll find answers to many questions you might have now about covering the coronavirus and the right to public access and information from the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press.
- The Pulitzer Center is looking for grant proposals from newsrooms working together to cover the coronavirus.
- Poynter is collecting live coronavirus coverage training opportunities, if you have them, you can share them here. And Al Tompkins’ daily media briefing is always full of great ideas.
This front page from Newsday in Long Island feels like something we’ll be seeing in the history books. It’s via Newseum.
- Big time prayers for people who work in the media from the Pope.
- BIG congrats to Ken Ward Jr., Greg Moore and anyone who cares about local news in West Virginia. They’re launching a nonprofit, investigative newsroom. (And also big congrats to their former colleague, Pulitzer winner Eric Eyre, on the launch of his new book!)
- To people who support local and speak out, thank you. (Extra thanks to politicians who do this.)
- Love this story about the Chicago Reader’s coloring book/revenue project.
- Here are the three best things local newsrooms are doing to help their communities.
This daily roundup of coverage by local news and resources for them is made possible with support from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation