With “Newsmakers TV” on indefinite hiatus, our Department of Global Video Platforms and Luddite Technology has launched a new series of Zoomed interviews and conversations, to gather and gain perspective about the coronavirus pandemic.
Our lead-off guest is Nick Welsh, Santa Barbara’s best-known journalist (and a regular contributor to our shut-down TV show). He joins Jerry from his self-isolated office inside the newsroom of the Independent weekly newspaper, where he serves, not only as executive editor and Angry Poodle columnist, but also all-around dogsbody who, with his third hand, lately has been disinfecting office doorknobs and desktops.
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From the testing shortage to the transparency (or lack thereof) of officials working on the crisis, Nick explains the strategy the paper has used to cover an enormous breaking story that won’t hold still (“Everybody go long”), sheds light on the challenges of collecting – and confirming – credible information under chaotic conditions and addresses the big question on everybody’s mind — what can our community expect next?
For news organizations, the Covid-19 crisis is both an unbounded, once-a-lifetime story about a worldwide public health emergency and economic shutdown — and a lived experience that puts at personal risk the reporters and editors assigned to cover it, while posing a severe financial threat to the journalistic enterprise.
“The wolf is definitely at the door,” Nick said, talking about the local impact the pandemic has had on Santa Barbara’s small business community, including the Indy, which has suffered a massive loss of advertising during the crisis.