Into My Life · Journalism

What it’s like working in news during coronavirus outbreak

Follow along with us as we track the coronavirus. Here’s one of the links we are using to get updated information: https://coronavirus.jhu.edu/map.html 

As many people know, we are definitely in uncharted waters right now with the coronavirus pandemic.

It’s a very interesting time to be in the news industry right now at the forefront of information with the coronavirus. It can also be very overwhelming as we try to sift through facts and fiction and only report truth. Meanwhile, we must also be mindful of how we present the news and our verbiage to not create any unnecessary panic. There’s a lot going on to say the least.

Though, I do find it amazing that God has put me in the Coachella Valley as an anchor and reporter during this time. The Coachella Valley currently has 10 positive cases of coronavirus. All schools are shut down until April 6. All events, including major festivals like Coachella and Stagecoach are either postponed or cancelled. We are all viewers in this story as we watch how this virus unfolds and impacts our community and economy.

In the newsroom, it’s difficult keeping up with the flood of press releases as new information and cancellations/postponements get released.

Emails and Facebook messages continue to pour in. As reporters, we have to decipher which claims are true and which are rumors/not reportable. We have to fact-check every single message that comes in. This is such a team effort and truly an all-hands on deck situation.

In this time, I’ve learned to just go with the flow and help out where help is needed. I’ve learned to be ready at all times to drop what I’m doing, grab my camera gear and go live at a moments notice.

I’ve also seen how this job can put you in harms way. As everyone is being advised to avoid large crowds, reporters are running into them where we meet and interact with multiple people every day, often at schools, hospitals, nursing homes and places closely-related to the virus. In this time, I often remind myself that I’m in God’s hands. He’s the anchor to my hope. He’s in control and my safety lies with him alone, no matter where I go.

I’ve realized asking the tough questions isn’t always enough. It’s hard when viewers want to know something so we ask but then we aren’t given the answers or sometimes things are left very vague. I’m sure viewers think we aren’t doing all we can when we are. There is a lot that goes on behind the scenes, a lot of work, phone calls and emails that people may not realize.

One thing our station is doing to help get more questions answered is on Tuesday, March 17, we are having health experts and our local congressman, Dr. Raul Ruiz on our show to answer viewer questions live on air. If you have a question please email: coronavirus@kesq.com

For those who live locally in the valley, here’s a helpful web article which we will continue to update on local event cancellations/postponements:

https://kesq.com/news/coronavirus/2020/03/10/list-of-canceled-postponed-events-around-the-valley/

As of the now, the future is very unclear where this coronavirus will go. Will it get worse? Will things slow down? How much longer will we be impacted? There’s a lot of uncertainty, but I think right now the best thing is to be vigilant as a community, and for me as a reporter and anchor I plan to be very transparent throughout my coverage. You can follow along with our coverage of the coronavirus on TV or online at KESQ.com

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