5 takeaways from Lifestyle and Service Journalism In The Age of COVID-19

Chelsea Cirruzzo, (@chelseacirruzzo), a volunteer with the ONA Resource Team, compiled these key moments from the ONA20 session on Oct. 16, 2020. To view a recording of the session, register for on-demand access to the ONA20 archive. Session participants included:

5 key takeaways:

  1. Lifestyle stories are taking on more vital roles right now as people try to cope with COVID-19, with a lot of articles discussing “how to survive during a pandemic.” CNN was able to launch a mini-series on “how-tos” and grew its audience as people turned for advice on how to go to a dentist, how to grocery shop, how to sleep, etc.
  2. Parents are a critical audience for lifestyle and service journalism, as they grapple with how to get kids to wear masks, how to connect with grandparents and how to both work and help with at-home schooling.
  3. Myth busting is part of the job. CNN reporters lean on experts in addition to everyday people for advice. But some time is spent trying to understand and speak to populations of people who don’t believe COVID-19 is real or won’t follow the rules (ex. college kids)
  4. “Because the virus clearly discriminates,” CNN focused some of its coverage on the people most impacted by the virus, including frontline workers, low-income people, and communities of color.
  5. When racial justice protests picked up in the summertime, CNN turned to experts on how to do inclusive reporting that recognizes how racism impacts wellness, including psychologists and author Robin DiAngelo, and is working on building coverage around that.

Memorable/tweetable quotes:

  • Kristen Rogers, on working on wellness coverage that challenges racism: “Every time racism goes unchallenged, people build a tolerance for prejudice.”

Links to additional resources