How small, independent newsrooms are covering coronavirus in their communities

GOOD Morning Wilton’s Heather Borden Herve is doing live video updates with town officials. (Photo: Good Morning Wilton)

The majority of LION member newsrooms rely on very small teams to cover their communities, and often they are one of a handful — and sometimes the only — newsroom providing that coverage. Here’s a look at how some of our members are being responsive to their community’s questions and making it as easy as possible for readers to access and keep track of information.

We’ll continue to update this post to inspire the work of other LION members and small, local newsrooms. If you or a newsroom you know of is doing great work that should be added to this list, email anika@lionpublishers.com.

Mendocino Voice’s Kate Maxwell shared this one-stop-shop page on coronavirus for readers, saying the idea is to keep updating the page and link to standalone coverage as things evolve.

VTDigger’s Stacey Peters shared this coronavirus landing page with the latest numbers, live updates and recent reporting.

Berkeleyside’s Lance Knobel shared a similar topic page and live blog of all coronavirus-related content, plus a useful reminder for readers to “rely on trusted health authorities” for reliable health information.

Long Beach Post News’s David Sommers has a live blog that keeps “everything in a unified place, but with the ability to independently social each entry as if it was a separate story.” They’re also letting all other local media orgs republish their content, and have built a plug-in version of their live blog so other orgs can automatically publish the Post News’s stories onto their platforms. “This isn’t a time for competition,” Sommers said. “Collaboration matters more.”

The Colorado Sun’s team has a page with a map and tracker of new cases in Colorado, and embedding other national and international maps and charts on this page. They also put together this easy to read explainer and are asking for other readers’ questions.

Potomac Local’s Uriah Kiser did this Skype interview with a local health expert on preparing for the coronavirus.

Crosscut’s Hannah Weinberger and Anne Christnovich are answering reader questions and compiling them into a useful FAQ.

Tuscon Sentinel’s Dylan Smith republished a ProPublica story about missteps at the CDC — a good reminder that all of ProPublica’s reporting is free to republish, per its policy.

TAPinfo Westfield’s Jacqueline Ross Lieberman said they are posting updates and advice from local health officials.

Chalkbeat’s Sarah Darville has a nice roundup of the latest of what’s happening in each of their Chalkbeat communities for its daily national newsletter.

Universal Hub’s Adam Gaffin has been posting updates of event cancellations, updates on school closings/moves to online-only.

We-Ha.com’s Ronni Zimbler Newton said they’re hosting a Facebook Live forum with a doctor, health district representative, and head of the town’s Office of Emergency Management.

GOOD Morning Wilton’s Heather Borden Herve said she’s the only media outlet doing live one-on-one video updates with town officials. She uses either a Mevo camera or laptop or cell phone to go live on Vimeo, Facebook, her website and YouTube simultaneously.

CTNewsJunkie’s Doug Hardy has embedded The COVID19 Tracking Project map on his site. The COVID Tracking Project is aiming “to provide the most comprehensive data on state-level testing for the novel coronavirus” since “the CDC has declined to provide comprehensive testing data.”

A few other tips from our members:

  • The CDC has its own channel of photos for public use on Unsplash.
  • The WHO has some “myth busting” graphics to share.
  • You can request to download some tips and resources from Hearken on how to respond to your community’s public information needs.
  • A roundup from our members on working from home tips.

Deputy director, LION Publishers

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