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The COVID-19 pandemic has strongly impacted the journalism industry and affected journalists' work. Many local newspapers have been severely affected by losses in advertising revenues from COVID-19; journalists have been laid off, and some publications have folded.Many newspapers with paywalls lowered them for some or all of their COVID-19 coverage. The pandemic was characterized as a potential "extinction event" for journalism as hundreds of news outlets closed and journalists were laid off around the world, advertising budgets were slashed, and many were forced to rethink how to do their jobs amid restrictions on movement and limited access to information or public officials. Journalists and media organizations have had to address new challenges, including figuring out how to do their jobs safely and how to navigate increased repression and censorship brought on by the response to the pandemic, with freelancers facing additional difficulties in countries where press cards or official designations limit who can be considered a journalist.
Journalists have worked to produce coverage of the pandemic combating misinformation, providing public health updates, and supplying entertainment to help people cope with the virus's impact. The COVID-19 pandemic has also enabled citizen journalism to a small extent, for example, through the CoronaReport digital journalism project, "a citizen science project which democratizes the reporting on the Coronavirus, and makes these reports accessible to other citizens." The long duration of the pandemic may have resulted in a COVID-19 information fatigue that could pose a challenge for journalists.
In some countries – including Turkey,Egypt, India, Bangladesh, Iraq, Iran, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Madagascar, Zambia, Cote d’Ivoire, Zimbabwe, Eswatini, Venezuela, Belarus, Montenegro, Kosovo, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Malaysia, Singapore, Philippines, and Somalia – journalists have been threatened or arrested for their coverage of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Jordanian authorities arrested Roya TV channel's owner, Fares Sayegh, and its news director, Mohamad al-Khalidi, for reporting on lack of jobs and money needed by labourers to feed families during the curfew in mid-April.
On March 16, Romanian President Klaus Iohannis signed an emergency decree, giving authorities the power to remove, report or close websites spreading "fake news" about the COVID-19 pandemic, with no opportunity to appeal.
Myanmar blocked access to 221 news websites,including several leading media outlets.
In China Caixin has had a number of articles about the source and research COVID-19 pandemic removed from their website after publication.
In Madagascar, a journalist was arrested and charged with spreading fake news and incitement of hatred towards President Andry Rajoelina after she criticized the president's handling of the pandemic.
On May 5, Philippines' National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) issued a cease and desist order against the operations of, ABS-CBN TV network, forcing it to suspend operations for all of its physical broadcasting channels.There are allegations that the NTC refusal over the renewal of the franchise was based on the network's critical news coverage of President Rodrigo Duterte's administration. ABS-CBN said: "Millions of Filipinos will lose their source of news and entertainment when ABS-CBN is ordered to go off-air on TV and radio tonight... People need crucial and timely information as the nation deals with the COVID-19 pandemic."
On June 16, Egyptian journalist and editor-in-chief of the al-Diyar newspaper was detained and charged with spreading false news, joining a "terrorist organization" and misusing social media after he criticized his country's handling of the pandemic.
BuzzFeed announced it was ending its news operations in Australia, as well as in the UK, partly due to a slump in advertising revenue due to the pandemic. The news outlet furloughed its four Australia news staff in the cutback.
In Canada, a number of permanent layoffs and the closure of newspapers have been attributed to the pandemic.
In Atlantic Canada, production was suspended on all weekly publications owned by SaltWire Network, for a 3-month period. Only its four dailies ( The Chronicle Herald , Cape Breton Post , The Guardian , and The Telegram ) were kept in production.Halifax alternative weekly The Coast also laid off staff.
Postmedia ended the publication of the Manitoba newspapers Altona Red River Valley Echo , Carman Valley Leader , Gimli's Interlake Spectator , Morden Times , Selkirk Journal , Stonewall Argus & Teulon Times , Winkler Times , and The Prairie Farmer . In Ontario, they closed the newspapers Kingsville Reporter , Windsor-Essex's Lakeshore News , LaSalle Post , Tecumseh Shoreline Week , and Tilbury Times . Further, The Napanee Guide and Paris Star have ceased their print editions, and are now online-only.
Torstar brand Metroland Media has ceased the print editions of the Beach-East York Neighbourhood Voice, Bloor West-Parkdale Neighbourhood Voice, and York-City Centre Neighbourhood Voice newspapers.The Bolton offices of The Caledon Enterprise were closed, with staff moving into the Brampton Guardian and Mississauga News shared newsroom in Mississauga.
In Quebec, CN2i reduced their six daily newspapers to Saturday editions as of March. The move resulted in 143 temporary layoffs.
Sing Tao Daily Toronto , owned by Torstar, ended its weekly free print edition. Canadian Jewish News is closed its operations after 60 years.Winnipeg's The Jewish News and Post, established in 1925, became an online-only publication.
The South China Morning Post announced on April 22, 2020, that it would introduce a package of cost-cutting and revenue-raising measures intended to weather the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic. Twenty-seven senior executives had immediate pay cuts, higher paid staff were asked to take three weeks unpaid leave, salaries were frozen, and a limited number of redundancies were made.From August 2020 the newspaper announced it was bringing back its paywall to try to make up the revenue shortfall due to loss of advertising during the pandemic.
As of May 4, 2020, almost 100 journalists had tested positive for COVID-19 in India. Fifteen employees of the Jai Maharashtra news network had the virus, as did nineteen employees of the Punjab Kesari newspaper.Media watchers reported jobs losses, pay cuts, and shutting down of editions in various places in India.
Many media organisations have reported slumps in advertising revenue as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, Oliver Dowden, said the pandemic had caused the "biggest existential crisis" in the history of the press, as local and national newspapers experienced circulation decline.
On March 20, 2020, the London business newspaper City A.M. suspended its print edition and announced it would halve its staff pay in April.
Independent Digital News and Media, the owner of The Independent and indy100 news websites, furloughed some of its staff and cut wages for employees.
BuzzFeed announced it was ending its news operations in the UK, as well as in Australia, partly due to a slump in advertising revenue due to the pandemic. Its ten news staff in the UK were furloughed in the cutback.
The newspaper group Reach plc, which owns titles including the Daily Mirror and Daily Express , reported a 30% fall in its revenues for April 2020.In July 2020 it announced that due to falling income it would cut 550 jobs.
By May 2020, 50 local newspapers had stopped appearing in print. Meanwhile, digital subscriptions to The Times newspaper were up significantly, according to its editor John Witherow.Amid the pandemic, the Daily Mail overtook The Sun as the biggest-selling newspaper in the UK in May 2020.
In July 2020, The Guardian announced it would cut 180 jobs. Figures at the newspaper said that revenues would be £25 million less than the year's budget.
The scale of the COVID-19 outbreak has prompted several major publishers to temporarily disable their paywalls on related articles, including Bloomberg News, The Atlantic , The New York Times , The Wall Street Journal , and The Seattle Times .Many local newspapers were already severely struggling before the crisis. Several alt weekly newspapers in affected metropolitan areas, including The Stranger in Seattle and Austin Chronicle , have announced layoffs and funding drives due to lost revenue. Advertisements concerning public events and venues accounted for a majority of revenue for alt-weekly newspapers, which was disrupted by the cancellation of large public gatherings. Online advertisements also dropped to avoid running ads next to COVID-19 coverage.
Journalism is the production and distribution of reports on current events based on facts and supported with proof or evidence. The word journalism applies to the occupation, as well as collaborative media who gather and publish information based on facts and supported with proof or evidence. Journalistic media include print, television, radio, Internet, and in the past, newsreels.
The Plain Dealer is the major newspaper of Cleveland, Ohio, United States. In fall 2019, it ranked 23rd in U.S. newspaper circulation, a significant drop since March 2013, when its circulation ranked 17th daily and 15th on Sunday.
The Denver Post is a daily newspaper and website published in Denver, Colorado. As of March 2016, it has an average weekday circulation of 134,537 and Sunday circulation of 253,261. In 2016 its website received roughly six million monthly unique visitors generating more than 13 million page views, according to comScore.
Portland Mercury is an alternative bi-weekly newspaper and media company founded in 2000 in Portland, Oregon. It has a sibling publication in Seattle, Washington called The Stranger.
The South China Morning Post (SCMP), with its Sunday edition, the Sunday Morning Post, is a Hong Kong–based English-language newspaper owned by Alibaba Group. Founded in 1903 by Tse Tsan-tai and Alfred Cunningham, it has remained Hong Kong's newspaper of record since British colonial rule. Editor-in-chief Tammy Tam succeeded Wang Xiangwei in 2016. The SCMP prints paper editions in Hong Kong and operates an online news website.
Iconic Newspapers is an Irish newspaper company that publishes over 20 regional newspapers. Iconic Newspapers are owned by Mediaforce who are majority owned by Malcolm Denmark. Iconic Newspapers hold their newspaper assets in a subsidiary called Formpress Publishing.
A paywall is a method of restricting access to content, with a purchase or a paid subscription, especially news. Beginning in the mid-2010s, newspapers started implementing paywalls on their websites as a way to increase revenue after years of decline in paid print readership and advertising revenue, partly due to the use of ad blockers. In academics, research papers are often subject to a paywall and are available via academic libraries that subscribe.
Donald Gerard McNeil Jr. is an American journalist. He was a science and health reporter for The New York Times where he reported on epidemics, including HIV/AIDS and the COVID-19 pandemic. His reporting on COVID-19 earned him widespread recognition for being one of the earliest and prominent voices covering the pandemic.
The Athletic is a subscription-based sports website that provides ad-free national and local coverage in 47 North American cities as well as the United Kingdom. The Athletic also covers national stories from top professional and college sports (National Football League, National Basketball Association, Major League Baseball, NASCAR, NCAA football, NCAA basketball, National Hockey League, mixed martial arts, Major League Soccer and association football. The Athletic's coverage focuses on a mix of long-form journalism, original reporting, and in-depth analysis. Its business model is predicated on dis-aggregating the sports section of local newspapers and reaching non-local fans not reached by a local newspaper.
The City is a non-profit news organization based in New York City that provides accountability journalism across all five boroughs of New York. The publication was launched digitally in April, 2019, to address the growing deficit in civic information and accountability created by a shrinking local news landscape. It's aim is to promote civic engagement through reliable, in-depth reporting. Multiple foundations and donors contributed to its initial funding, with additional donations coming from membership and sponsorships. The publication's slogan is Reporting for New Yorkers and mascot is a pigeon named Nellie, named after Nellie Bly. Its founding editor-in-chief, Jere Hester steered the coverage through the pandemic in 2020 as well as during the widespread protests in New York, amassing numerous awards.
Newslaundry is an Indian media watchdog that provides media critique, reportage and satirical commentary. It was founded in 2012 by Abhinandan Sekhri, Madhu Trehan and Prashant Sareen, all of whom earlier worked in print or television journalism. It was India's first subscription-driven website when launched, and since then other platforms have followed a similar model, like The Wire. In contrast to news websites such as The Quint, ThePrint or Scroll.in, Newslaundry solely relies on public subscriptions, instead of advertisements, for revenue.
COVID-19 misinformation refers to any kind of subject about the COVID-19 pandemic that has resulted in misinformation and conspiracy theories about the scale of the pandemic and the origin, prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of the disease. False information, including intentional disinformation, has been spread through social media, text messaging, and mass media. False information has been propagated by celebrities, politicians, and other prominent public figures. Multiple countries have passed laws against "fake news", and thousands of people have been arrested for spreading COVID-19 misinformation. The spread of COVID-19 misinformation by governments has also been significant.
The first confirmed case relating to the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States was announced by the state of Washington on January 21, 2020. Washington made the first announcement of a death from the disease in the U.S. on February 29 and later announced that two deaths there on February 26 were also due to COVID-19. Until mid-March, Washington had the highest absolute number of confirmed cases and the highest number per capita of any state in the country, until it was surpassed by New York state on April 10, 2020. Many of the deceased were residents of a nursing home in Kirkland, an Eastside suburb of Seattle in King County.
Media coverage of the COVID-19 pandemic has varied by country, time period and media outlet. News media has simultaneously kept viewers informed about current events related to the pandemic, and contributed to misinformation or fake news.
The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the tourism industry due to the resulting travel restrictions as well as slump in demand among travelers. The tourism industry has been massively affected by the spread of coronavirus, as many countries have introduced travel restrictions in an attempt to contain its spread. The United Nations World Tourism Organization estimated that global international tourist arrivals might decrease by 58% to 78% in 2020, leading to a potential loss of US$0.9–1.2 trillion in international tourism receipts.
Helen Branswell is a Canadian infectious diseases and global health reporter at Stat News. Branswell spent fifteen years as a medical reporter at The Canadian Press. She led coverage of the Ebola, Zika, SARS and swine flu pandemics, as well as the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
The COVID-19 pandemic had a deep impact on the Canadian economy, leading it into a recession. The governments' social distancing rules had the effect of limiting economic activity in the country. Companies started considering mass-layoffs of workers, which was largely prevented by the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy. But despite these efforts, Canada's unemployment rate was 13.5% in May 2020, the highest it has been since 1976.
The COVID-19 pandemic in the United States has had far-reaching consequences in the country that go beyond the spread of the disease itself and efforts to quarantine it, including political, cultural, and social implications.
CeFaan Kim is an American journalist of Korean descent. He is currently an ABC News correspondent and reporter for WABC-TV in New York City. Previously, he worked as a reporter for News 12 Westchester/Hudson Valley and as a field producer for NY1 News, where he covered local politics and breaking news.