An open letter to journalists covering coronavirus

March 16, 2020 12:00

Dear Fellow Journalists:

Thank you.

Despite incredible challenges, despite tremendous personal sacrifice and despite the risks to you personally from the COVID-19 virus, you are doing your jobs.

The communities where you live and work owe you a tremendous debt of gratitude.

You are working hard every day to provide critical health and public safety information that your viewers, listeners and readers need. You are passing along crucial public health alerts and other official communications indispensable to the decisions people must make as this disease spreads across every continent.

You are enabling preparedness rather than panic. You are combating mis- and disinformation with your constant efforts to seek and report the facts about an unprecedented situation. I also know that you are asking tough questions of our leaders to get the best version of the truth that is obtainable. Do not heed the words of anyone telling you anything different.

I know the hours you are working are long. I know the conditions under which you are working are trying. I know that while you are working hard to meet the multiple deadlines you face every day, you are also worried even more about your family, your loved ones and your friends – not to mention your own health.

Most of us got into journalism to serve the public. Now more than ever your public service is important. Stay motivated, stay safe and continue asking questions and reporting stories that will help our communities get through this time of uncertainty.

RTDNA will be working each day – from our own homes to model best practices – to support you in this effort. We are collecting tips and resources to help strengthen your reporting and your safety efforts. We have created a living Coronavirus and the Newsroom Guide to share best practices from newsrooms across the country.

What you do for the public every single day is important. What you do for the public now is saving lives.

So again,

Thank you.

Stay healthy.

Dan Shelley
Executive Director
Chief Operating Officer