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COVID-19 presents unique challenges for news industry, professor says

Wed, 03/25/2020

LAWRENCE — As the novel COVID-19 pandemic continues to upend life and business around the globe, countless industries are struggling to adjust how they operate in unprecedented circumstances. The media industry finds itself in a similar situation of operating during a time of crisis, on the heels of a decade-plus of changes brought on by downsizing, shrinking newsrooms and budgets, increased demands on journalists and other factors.

Scott Reinardy, Malcolm Applegate Professor in News Management and Editing at the William Allen White School of Journalism & Mass Communications, is available to discuss the challenges COVID-19 has presented for the news industry. The University of Kansas researcher has conducted extensive work in the changing face of newsrooms and how journalists practice their craft. He can discuss news coverage of the pandemic, financial challenges to news outlets due to the virus, disaster coverage with limited staff and resources, news staff morale, news deserts, media outlets closing, the importance of accurate reporting and credible, fact-based coverage during a crisis and related topics.

“Quality, fact-based journalism is more important than ever during challenging times, particularly in local communities where newspapers have withered or disappeared altogether,” Reinardy said. “Unfortunately, the drastic cuts in the number of journalists producing the news creates an information gap that is susceptible to misinformation, rumor and assumptions. Social media sites are carriers of ill-informed and incorrect information. Proper vetting of facts and information is the social responsibility of professionally trained journalists and their outlets. Newsroom workers accept and excel in meeting the tremendous challenges that come with that responsibility.”

Reinardy has conducted research surveying journalists about their professional identity, even when forced to leave the field, layoff survivors, how journalism burnout has disproportionately affected women and written numerous journal articles on the changing media landscape as well as the book “Journalism’s Lost Generation: The Un-doing of U.S. Newspaper Newsrooms.”

To schedule an interview, contact Mike Krings at mkrings@ku.edu or @MikeKrings.



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