People who can are working from home right now. But when your whole business is live storytelling events in cities across the country, well, you gotta pivot.
While the Storytellers Project hosts live events in 20 cities, “there’s no reason why we can’t tell stories online. Period,” said Megan Finnerty, the project’s founder and director.
The theme of the night is meant to uplift all of us who are stuck at home right now, worried about loved ones, our jobs, our communities, the planet, etc. Those stories will be told by five people from their own homes around the country.
“This is just uplifting,” Finnerty said. “There are no sad or difficult truths. We have very good stories all the time that are about the sad, hard things that can happen.”
But that’s not what you’ll see tonight.
“This is counterprogramming,” Finnerty said.
The Storytellers Project has had to pause 23 shows so far through the middle of May. Finnerty figures about $150,000 in business has evaporated from the Storytellers Brand Studio, the consulting side of the editorial project. Staff, which are part of Gannett, are also dealing with this week’s news of company-wide furloughs (something a lot of newsrooms are facing right now).
In 18 years in at Gannett, this is Finnerty’s third round of furloughs.
“I feel incredibly lucky to be as busy as I’ve ever been and to have all kinds of opportunities to continue serving our communities with really high-quality journalism,” she said.
Everyone’s struggling right now, she said. But there’s still work to be done, even if it’s all new.
“It is a blessing to be useful.”
Here are a few other examples of how local newsrooms are covering the story of the coronavirus:
- In The Buffalo News, Sean Kirst tracked down the doctor whose firsthand account of working the “COVID floor” went viral. “While he has seen events that many of us would find unbearable, he has always managed to reach the kind of equilibrium that allows people in his profession to do their jobs. Yet what he saw Friday on the 12th floor involved an unsettling level of the unknown, a measure of fast-moving uncertainty and risk at such a point it made it difficult for him to sleep that night.”
- Lisa Gartner wrote for The Philadelphia Inquirer about doctors who have the coronavirus and are still seeing patients virtually. “She had contracted the coronavirus, and for nearly two weeks she has been quarantined alone inside her Philadelphia home. But rather than sitting out the greatest fight of her medical career, Joshi has been using telemedicine to continue treating patients with the same COVID-19 symptoms she’s feeling.”
- And Block Club Chicago has created a list of resources for people who need them and it’s directing people how to help.
We’re collecting live trainings, sharing our own, looking for resources and funding opportunities for newsrooms
- ICFJ’s International Journalists Network is hosting an online panel with lessons from international newsrooms covering the pandemic. It’s at 9 a.m Eastern on Friday, April 3 and features CEO and editor-in-chief of Rappler, Maria Ressa.
- Learn about how to find accurate data about COVID-19 with this webinar from the University of Missouri and IRE. It’s at 11 a.m. Friday, April 3.
- The National Press Club put together this guidance on your legal rights while covering this story.
- Substack is donating $100,000 to independent writers experiencing economic hardships because of the coronavirus. Grants will be made in $500-$5,000 and include digital mentorship. Apply by Tuesday, April 7.
- Reporters Without Borders has started tracking the coronavirus’ impact on press freedom.
- Free Press has this advice on reporting on this pandemic and the digital divide.
- The National Press Foundation has a briefing for journalists on COVID-19 and homelessness at noon Eastern Monday, April 6.
- API has seven ways to get your reporting on COVID-19 to the people who need it.
- The U.S. Chamber of Commerce shared this on how to access stimulus funding for your small business.
- 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.
Today’s front is all of us:
The Tampa Bay Times’ TBT, via Newseum:
- Eric Zorn wrote for the Chicago Tribune about the small pleasures of being cooped up right now, collecting other people’s #LockdownSilverLinings.
- Jessica Swarner wrote about all the ways people are helping each other in Arizona for The Copper Courier.
- Hanaa’ Tameez wrote for Nieman Lab about Boston.com’s Boston Helps, “a service to connect people in need with people who are able to help. As local news outlets suffer blow after blow in this pandemic, Boston Helps is a reminder that local news outlets are an invaluable resource in a person’s day-to-day life.”
- Steve Waldman wrote for CJR about how to cure local news for good.
- The Center for Community Media gathered ways newsrooms are serving immigrant communities.
- And I saw this yesterday and figured for sure it was an April Fools’ joke, but look, in Canada, all of National Post’s content is now free thanks to this fried chicken restaurant chain.
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.