On The Record: Covering Coronavirus
How The Eagle is tackling the ongoing pandemic
I am writing this week’s column from my corner of the Earth while my Eagle colleagues are dispersed across the country. As the coronavirus keeps us all apart, The Eagle staff is working to make sure our coverage can bring all of us — reporters, editors and readers — together.
We want our audience to know that we are constantly making decisions and coming up with new plans to bring you coronavirus and other AU-related news. Our coverage of the outbreak started when the University called home all students studying abroad in China last month, and we continued to follow along as students in other countries were brought back to the U.S.
When the news broke last week that AU would be moving all classes online, our staff knew this was a turning point. Within a matter of days, the University issued several updates about how campus would operate, and it became clear that we needed to rethink the entire structure of our publication.
Our reporters and editors have been working remotely and maintaining constant communication about the stories in the works and the ongoing updates. Our main priority is to function as closely to normal as possible, and for us, that means producing news regularly and bringing our audience much-needed information.
Below is an outline of the major decisions we’ve made so far that we feel have the greatest impact on the information you have received and will receive in the coming weeks.
First, as we started to publish more and more on the coronavirus, we felt that we needed to aggregate all of our coverage in one place. We decided to compile all of the breaking news stories revolving around coronavirus in a single news page.
Second, we agreed as a staff that we would no longer print the spring edition of The Eagle, which was scheduled to be released in April. We made this decision because there would not be anyone on campus to read the physical copy, and all of the planned stories can be published online, as normal.
Third, we are asking members of the AU community, but specifically students, to share their experiences grappling with the ramifications of the coronavirus. There are many individuals’ stories circulating online, and we want to be able to highlight these voices and share them in our Opinion section. Here is a form for you to fill out so we can publish what you have to say.
Fourth, the new project site we are launching for all things coronavirus will be live on Friday. This is an expansion of the news page already created, with coverage outside of breaking news that delves into larger enterprise stories. The site will be updated with new articles as we report them. We are working around the clock to keep the AU community up-to-date and well-informed with the sea of information coming out of the University and city officials.
We are doing our best to balance immediate news of the coronavirus pandemic with day-to-day stories about the AU community. As always, readers are encouraged to submit letters to the editor and op-eds if they seek to address concerns or offer feedback about our coverage. We additionally ask that you fill out this survey if there is anything you would like to specifically see addressed in this column.
One final note: All of us on staff, as students at AU, are dealing with the abundance of changes along with everybody else. As journalists, we try our best everyday to avoid having a stake in the stories we report, but this is different. We are among the students being told to move out of our on-campus housing and the ones who are losing jobs and internships, as companies can no longer support us. We are the students studying abroad being told to return home and the seniors finishing their last months on AU’s campus from their couches across the country. We feel how overwhelming this time is, and we take it to heart. Our job feels even more important now, and we take that very seriously. We want to be there for our audience in the best way we know how: as sources of information.