Some may wonder how coronavirus connects us all when some communities are being hit hard and others are showing limited numbers of cases.
Over the past month I have been delivering local news coverage of how this pandemic is disrupting lives and businesses. There is one element I keep coming back to that drives which story angles I believe are important. And that is to tell a story through real people and emotions, not just facts and figures.
As we all watch events unfolding in the US epicenter of this pandemic, New York City, and the thousands of lives lost, it can quickly become overwhelming. One could shut off the television and convince yourself that nothing like ‘that’ could ever happen in ‘my’ community. That reaction could especially hold true if day after day you are hearing only a number count…
- How many new cases…
- The numbers of those who have died…
- Which states have needed supplies and which ones need more…
- Steps politicians are or are not taking when lives hang in the balance…
However, it’s not so easy to turn from the story when it is framed in the context of how this crisis is directly impacting people …family, friends, colleagues, friends of friends and yes; each and every one of us.
There are several moments I would like to share with you that drive home the point of just how interconnected we are and the ripple effects of this deadly virus.
When life depends on it…
A dear friend of mine recently underwent an extensive medical procedure.
She is the recipient of a double lung transplant! That operation was in January. Only weeks later we all began to learn about this emerging virus; Covid-19 that attacked the respiratory system and was causing widespread deaths.
All of a sudden the reality of just how vulnerable and susceptible my friend could be hit me like a ton of bricks. At the same time there were some saying they were young and strong and didn’t need to take precautions. ‘Devil may care,’ they shouted to the coronavirus!
So while local news coverage in times of crisis is more valuable than ever, I reached out to my friend who lives on the opposite coast, to ask if she would share her story; which by default had become my story.
And it is a story that puts a name and face and life… to a moment of educating the public of how and why we all must take safety measures. Someone’s life may very well depend on all of us doing so!
Days later, while scrolling through my social media accounts, I discovered another heart wrenching and devastating coronavirus connection. A former colleague announced he had lost his father to the virus. His pain poured out through his words as he described how he and his family had not been allowed into the hospital. He shared that his father passed while holding the hand of a stranger. That is just one of the now thousands of such cases. We are all connected.
As of this blog writing, the county I live has confirmed cases of coronavirus but no deaths (yet) and I pray it stays that way. But I am realistic and know we could just be in a statistical holding pattern. And that worries me. Because I am one of the thousands of family members now cut off from a loved one residing in a senior care facility. Our elders are more at risk than ever.
Covering a news topic by telling a story with real people
Seniors on Lockdown
In this case, that story is my own. I posted a photo to my social media…showing my mother inside her room; me outside the window. It is now our mode of communication. It tears at my heart and worries me beyond what I can explain. I know I am not alone in this angst. So I reached out to others experiencing the same frustrations and fears and produced a story.
Is there a solution? As of yet…no. But I know that my approach to storytelling has an impact. One viewer who saw the story sent this:
I suspect in the coming days, weeks and even months, all of us will face a hosts of different challenges related to the coronavirus pandemic and all the unknowns now facing our society.
My hope is that everyone, regardless of background or political affiliation will remember that this is not about numbers and statistics… it is about lives. The lives lost and the families who will be forever changed. The lives that may look a bit different now due to stay-at-home orders and job losses but individuals who will have the opportunity to move forward.
Let’s hope we can all work and learn together and have a better understanding of how coronavirus connects all of us. We are in this together.
Have a topic you would like discussed here? Send me an email: firstname.lastname@example.org