COVID-19 Response

WTSP newsroom
WTSP’s (Tampa) socially distanced newsroom.
FactsNotFear KTHV Marlisa Goldsmith
THV11 (Little Rock) reports on the COVID-19 pandemic.

Coronavirus Response: Facts Not Fear

Our reporting throughout the pandemic sought to reassure viewers through our “Facts Not Fear” editorial philosophy that focused on providing fact-based, trusted news and information to keep our audiences safe. Our most critical role at the onset of the pandemic was reporting the news without adding to the fear and uncertainty our communities were experiencing. Across all platforms, TEGNA stations worked to ensure data was reported with proper context, relying on experts to help explain medical and scientific information to our audiences.

TEGNA stations also created special programs during the pandemic to ensure our audience was fully informed and armed with facts from leading experts. TEGNA’s 12 Texas stations aired a live, one-hour statewide special titled “Texas Together: A Coronavirus Conversation,” that focused on the significant issues Texans were facing as COVID-19 was impacting all facets of their daily lives. The show featured an update from Texas Governor Greg Abbott and discussed topics ranging from personal finance and the economy to mental health, with experts providing strategic, actionable advice and answering viewer questions.

In Washington, D.C., WUSA teamed up with TEGNA’s VERIFY team and Reddit in a COVID-themed “Ask Me Anything” (AMA). WUSA devoted the entire half hour of its 7 p.m. news program, “The Q And A,” to answering viewer questions about COVID-19 and looking in live at the Reddit AMA.

Much of the data and information related to COVID-19 is extremely complex. That’s why in addition to relying on experts to help viewers easily understand concepts such as herd immunity and percent positive rates in local communities, TEGNA stations also utilized data explainers. Data explainers take complex issues and break them down so that they are easily relatable and understandable for our audience, like this video explaining the COVID-19 virus:

TEGNA’s Texas stations air a statewide special to help Texans cope with the impacts of the pandemic.
TEGNA’s data explainers help viewers understand complex issues.