Covid-19 through the eyes of those who report on it
JOURNALISTS REFLECT ON THE PAST YEAR
AS lockdown restrictions begin to ease, it’s given many of us a chance to look back and reflect on what we’ve been through and how we’ve dealt with everything that’s come our way in the last year. For some, like the media, coronavirus has been our lives, day in day out. Keeping the public informed and providing the latest updates has been an incredible responsibility for myself and others in the profession. Although relatively new to to the field, I’ve quickly seen just how important the news on coronavirus is and the reason for keeping the public so up-to-date on it. However, as times goes on, it seems as though some are becoming disengaged by the topic. Myself and two other reporters sat down, socially distanced, to have a conversation about how we’ve fared with coronavirus reporting over the last 12 months. Speaking to former Grimsby Telegraph reporter Corey Bedford, he feels like its seen as less impactful as time has gone on. He said: “I think people have become fatigued by coronavirus. It’s been around for so long now that it just feels like another part of our lives. “However, it’s important to remember that the pandemic has affected us all in different ways, giving us all a personal connection to what’s happened over the last 12 months.
“As well, it’s been hard to report on something we’re not trained for
or experts on. We’re learning as we go and reporting as best we can. “At the start of the pandemic, Covid was incredibly scary. However, it feels even scarier that it’s become normalised. The statistics always weigh heavily on me. They’re not just numbers, each one is a life.
“When you’re writing updates and looking at the figures every day, it does start to get to you. In effect, you’re writing about people dying everyday.
“I remember speaking to a dad who’d lost his daughter to Covid and it was absolutely heartbreaking. To this day, I feel devastated for him. You have to empathise with people when they’re telling you these personal stories to do it justice. As reporters, the main reason we cover Covid stories is to keep people informed about the pandemic, not to chase views or overdramatise things.
“It’s also important for us to tell the stories of those directly affected by the pandemic, as it’s vital to document those experiences. Every journalist I know takes this incredibly seriously, and we only want to do what we can to help people get through this and stay informed.”
Grimsby Telegraph reporter Gregory Ford echoed a similar sentiment. He said: “Writing about Covid everyday does become exhausting at times, we work so hard to be considerate in our coverage.
“The desire to be accurate and report fairly underpins everything we do, both in general and in
Covid reporting. Although others may not believe that, we’re not writing these stories for views alone, we’re doing it to inform and to tell the public what’s happening. It’s so difficult to report on it and keep it at arm’s length sometimes as well. Every case is a person and they can all become a personal tragedy. The pandemic doesn’t end with us, we just report on what information is out there, it goes much much deeper.
“We still feel every case and every death. It’s a hugely personal topic to deal with and the fact it could be one of us or our family members that has it hits hard sometimes.
“In our area, there have been around 500 coronavirus-related deaths and that is staggering to think 500 people have lost their lives to Covid. It’s not something we’re trained for, nor do we always know how to deal with it.
One of Greg’s flatmates, who wished to remain anonymous, believes we need to start helping ourselves now.
“We need to keep safe and vigilant now. What can we do to make sure we are OK in ourselves. It’s not something to be bored of, it’s still a very prevalent issue.
“We need to look at other avenues of our health as we move out of lockdown. Going forward, granted we can’t negate what we’ve done so far, but we need to question what we can do to keep ourselves healthy.
“The biggest change recently seems to be people taking action to better themselves now.”