Graphic by Kelsey Jackson
Journalists won’t let the news stop even in the midst of a pandemic.
Student journalists are taking online reporting in stride as they report on COVID-19 and their regular school updates through web interviews, sharing resources, and turning back to old-fashioned newspaper at doorway delivery.
In light of the current quarantine restrictions the World Health Organization recommendations, Dixie Sun News journalists have limited social interaction by conducting their interviews through email, phone or videocast forums, such as Zoom or Skype. The Dixie Sun News has forgone print papers and a live studio broadcasts for an e-newsletter and online edition and prerecorded news.
In California, California Polytechnic State Univerity CPS Mustang News is collaborating with other schools to gather relevant information on COVID-19, which has had different effects on each state. Through this effort, students from around the nation will be able to keep up with their state’s news while remaining at their school.
For Mustang News Stephanie Zappelli, assistant news editor, said, “We are brainstorming a city edition, going door to door and dropping it off.”
Zappelli also said Mustang News is still doing impact stories as well as breaking news in regard to COVID-19.
Though the news team seems to be doing well with the change in structure, they are suffering from a change in income since they no longer have print ads for revenue.
Zappelli said Mustang News is looking to the journalism department at Cal-Poly to provide the lost funds.
Janelle Salanga, news reporter from Univeristy of California, Davis news reporter, is experiencing the change in journalism mostly through the extra time. The change from in-person interviews to over the phone have required her to spend longer amounts of time getting to know her interviewees, she said; however, Salanga said she is enjoying the ability to create her own schedule and interview times since her schedule is so open.
“I schedule all my interviews for either noon or later, Salanga said. It’s frustrating to know that this schedule is unattainable normally.”
Aidan McGloin, a senior data reporter for the CPS Mustang News, had the option to stay at his university or go home over their course of the extended two-week spring break. McGloin decided to stay in San Luis Obispo for the remainder of the semester to be close to friends and for reporting purposes, but it’s not an easy feat.
“I’ve been knocked of my practice because of [COVID-19],” McGloin said. “Stories that I had been working on previous to spring-break have been put on hold.”
McGloin and the CPS Mustangs have used this isolated time to see how past reporters dealt with the Influenza of 1918. They found that past CPS reporters were the calm in the storm and the univerities stringhold for information at that time. The current reporters are aiming for the same.