CORONAVIRUS

COVID-19 pandemic creates reporting challenge

The COVID-19 pandemic has touched all of our lives in some way over the past week. Moments of such impact are rare, and evolving conditions like these require continuous caution, monitoring and preparation.

As true with companies across the nation, the health and safety of our employees is top priority as we continue to tirelessly serve Eastern Iowa.

My message to readers today is to reaffirm The Gazette’s commitment of providing accurate and timely information. We have all hands doing everything we can to not only review and pursue the constant flow of information, but to accurately contextualize what’s happening. There is not a segment unaffected. We’ll avoid fearmongering, and won’t overstate or understate what’s happening. This is our journalistic responsibility and, just as important, our devotion as a media company in Eastern Iowa for over 136 years.

From all indications, this will be an evolving situation for some time, and we will cover it however it evolves. I wanted to take time to share some details of what our plans are, and how the pandemic is impacting us behind the scenes.

All of our coverage regarding the COVID-19 pandemic can be found at the following link: https://thegazette.com/coronavirus. We’ll have a daily post containing a roundup of updates, and this page also will serve as an index of all pandemic coverage. We also want to hear from you and collect your questions about the pandemic. A form near the top of the page can be used to send our news editors questions, send updates, and provide suggestions for our coverage. We’ll work to address every submission and produce regular Q & As.

Because of the importance of providing information to anyone in the community, we have put content related to the COVID-19 pandemic in an area of the site with free, unlimited access. You can also sign-up for a free newsletter specific to COVID-19 headlines that will come to your inbox each day.

The pandemic presents some key differences from other major storylines like floods or major disasters and the impact to our content, communication, and distribution. Unlike a flood, much of the risk is invisible and the impact isn’t immediate. Like many businesses, we’ve been testing and refining our emergency plans to work remotely for extended periods of time. This event is causing us to rethink how we gather the news. We’re rethinking how we interview and interact with sources and the public as part of the reporting process. We’ll be conducting more virtual or phone interviews for the foreseeable future.

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The cancellation and postponements of many sports seasons also means that we’ll have to pivot with our sports coverage over the next few weeks. While we’re still focused on covering the impacts of such an unprecedented situation, we’ll be temporarily reducing the number of pages dedicated to sports coverage so that we can focus on other subjects. The change is being done on a temporary basis and we’ll adjust when the situation changes.

You may also notice adjustments to delivery of your print newspaper. Many residential facilities are adjusting visitor guidelines, while we’re also coaching our independent contract carriers on some modified delivery techniques. All of these changes are being done with the safety of people in mind.

On behalf of the entire team at The Gazette, thank you for your continued support. I welcome your questions and concerns at zack.kucharski@thegazette.com.

Support our coverage

Our most important Coronavirus coverage is free to the public.

If you believe local news is essential, especially during this crisis, please donate. Your contribution will support news resources to cover the impact of the pandemic on our local communities.

All donations are tax-deductible.

Support our coverage

Our most important Coronavirus coverage is free to the public.

If you believe local news is essential, especially during this crisis, please donate. Your contribution will support news resources to cover the impact of the pandemic on our local communities.

All donations are tax-deductible.