Kari Plog ‘11 on telling the stories of those most impacted by COVID-19 pandemic | MarCom

Plog: As a tiny however mighty radio station, it was troublesome to start with to maintain up. This story didn’t simply change every day, it modified hourly. That creates logistical challenges when writing and producing for broadcast, to maintain your protection related and up-to-the-minute. As a digital journalist for our station, I leaned closely on social media sharing and web-first reporting to start with. As numbers of COVID-19 circumstances grew, and the scope of these affected modified, we tailored to take a big-picture method.

Our high precedence now could be placing human voices and human faces to the numbers. We wish individuals to grasp how households of victims are grieving, how college students and fogeys are adjusting to distant studying, how immigrants and extra weak populations are faring amid an financial shutdown. We anticipate there are hours and hours of tales to inform, however something we do will probably be centered on public service journalism, information you need to use, and the human toll. Everyone seems to be collectively grieving in their very own method, from afar, and I feel listening to how others are coping actually helps foster group, even when we are able to’t be within the presence of others.

PLU: How essential is journalism proper now, within the face of a global well being disaster?

Plog: Well being care staff and first responders are on the entrance traces of treating sufferers. Grocery shops and meals suppliers are on the entrance traces of feeding individuals. And journalists are on the entrance traces of constructing certain everyone seems to be knowledgeable about what all of it means and the way it’s all working. Particularly as a result of we’re remoted in our houses, media are very important assets. And radio is the unique medium in occasions of disaster — wartimes or in any other case. Radio is probably the most direct and accessible type of info for individuals who want it proper right here, proper now.  We wish to assist individuals keep knowledgeable, with out inflicting panic.

PLU: How significant is it for you personally to be making a distinction/a part of a gaggle making a distinction in occasions reminiscent of these?

Plog: As exhausting as we’re all working in journalism proper now, it feels actually good to have one thing essential to get up and do every day. I took a break from journalism for a couple of years, and when main information occasions occurred it was exhausting to take a seat and watch from the sidelines. Being within the thick of it’s hectic, however it additionally supplies an unimaginable sense of goal. This week, I did a heart-wrenching interview with the daughter of a retired nurse who died of COVID-19. She needed to say her ultimate goodbyes on FaceTime, by means of a nurse’s private cellphone. She couldn’t even type by means of her mom’s belongings in preparation for her burial, as a result of they have been nonetheless thought of contaminated. However this lady was so grateful to have the ability to share her mother’s unimaginable story with me — a narrative of resilience, and surviving all the opposite tragedies that have been thrown her method. And I’m much more grateful to her that she trusted me to inform her mother’s story. I don’t take that accountability evenly.

PLU: What sort of self-care practices have you ever been using throughout this time interval?

Plog: A number of walks across the neighborhood. A number of cuddles with my 75-pound lap canine. A number of cooking and binge-watching my favourite tv exhibits. The primary factor has been unplugging after I’m not working, to keep away from oversaturation of all issues COVID.

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