From The Philadelphia Inquirer executive editor: How we’re covering the coronavirus and what it means for you
[This article was originally published by The Philadelphia Inquirer]
To Our Subscribers and the Community:
As the sense of urgency surrounding the global coronavirus pandemic grows by the hour, I want to thank you for your support of our journalism and let you know how The Inquirer is mobilizing in every way to cover this ever-expanding crisis.
In my 35 years as a professional journalist – 20 of which I’ve spent at The Inquirer – I’ve never felt a stronger sense of purpose in what we do. And I have never been more inspired to see the company — and our audience — unite behind this critical mission. Beyond the exhaustive and dedicated work of our staff, we are benefiting greatly from the constant flow of valuable news tips, firsthand accounts, photographs, questions, and stories that continue to pour in from our readers. Many of those suggestions – as well as your notes of encouragement – are elevating our coverage in a profound way.
Over the past two weeks, we have tapped every corner of our news operation to bring you urgent health and safety information as well as chronicling the impact this crisis has had on our medical system, our schools, public safety and government agencies, places of worship, financial institutions, businesses large and small, our sports teams, arts venues, and beyond. We’ve also placed heavy focus on how our public officials, business leaders, health providers, and others have responded to this unprecedented event.
As one Inquirer editor aptly put it: “This is likely the most important public service we will ever perform as journalists.”
To best serve you, we’re attempting to tell this rapidly evolving story on all platforms to ensure our coverage is reaching the people who need it. Over the weekend, we unveiled a new landing page on Inquirer.com specific to our coronavirus coverage. This is in addition to our coronavirus live blog, newsletter, and interactive graphics that we have placed outside of our paywall, as a public service, to keep you informed around the clock.
We also are taking every step possible to ensure the health and safety of our employees while preparing to cover every angle of this story for the long haul. After four Inquirer colleagues attended a conference with someone who later tested positive for coronavirus, we brought in crews to deep-clean our 801 Market Street headquarters and other facilities; the four employees have not reported any symptoms while in voluntary isolation.
And now, for what may be the first time in our 191-year history, nearly every newsroom employee is working remotely. Our journalists have guidance to help keep them safe while they fan out across our area’s eight-county region, the state capital, and beyond to report on the biggest story in a generation.
In the days ahead, our print and digital subscribers can expect a revamped news report that accounts for the temporary shutdown of many of our schools, sports leagues, arts and cultural venues, restaurants, and other businesses. Our goal is to deliver a more timely and relevant newspaper filled not only with critical information on the health crisis, but also essential coverage of the pivotal presidential campaign, the urgent state of the economy, crime and justice news, and investigative projects — as well as a good dose of inspiring stories, like those found in The Inquirer’s UpSide, to remind us that there are still reasons to smile every day.
While we’re incredibly proud of how our journalists — including the region’s most robust and experienced team of health, wellness, and science reporters — have responded to the early days of this story, we realize that we face a long road ahead. We’re delivering essential, free of charge coronavirus news at all hours to an audience that has more than doubled in size in recent weeks.
Please consider subscribing to The Inquirer or making a tax-deductible donation to our Investigative News Fund at Inquirer.com/Donate. Our work is supported in part thanks to our nonprofit owner, The Lenfest Institute for Journalism, and many other local donors. We count on your support so we can continue to deliver timely, accurate, essential information that the people of this region deserve and rely on every day, especially now.
On behalf of all of us at The Inquirer, thank you for your continued support, and please stay safe.
Executive Editor, Senior Vice President
Photo courtesy of Alejandro Alvarez of The Philadelphia Inquirer