Editorial, Issue 10 — Volume CVIV

Reporting on a Pandemic

Since coronavirus emerged in the United States, it’s disrupted our education, relationships, and for many families, livelihoods. As we quickly became restricted to our homes, the media has assumed a heightened responsibility: informing us of a world we’re hardly allowed to interact with. As life changes in previously unimaginable ways, it seems that now, news reporting is more critical than ever. 

Accessibility has rightly become a priority for news outlets. The New York Times and The Chicago Tribune are among many sources that have excluded coronavirus coverage from their paywalls. “Coronavirus Live Update”-type pages direct readers to the most relevant worldwide developments as they happen. Widely-available reporting is necessary to both inform citizens of the threat of COVID-19 and hold leadership accountable.

“The Weekly” also holds a heightened responsibility to document this historic time. While the student body is out of the building, “The Weekly’s” reporting connects the community. Sharing the perspectives of teachers, students, administrators, and parents offers much-needed clarity and insight on life at Parker during the pandemic. 

Through news briefs and features, “The Weekly” has provided the community with informative journalism — ranging from pieces on the shelter-in-place order, the Upper School’s updated grading policy, teachers’ experiences with online instruction, and the struggles of Clark Street’s small businesses.

“The Weekly” also recognizes this opportunity to teach its staff — to report on real-world events, to find creative ways to observe and interview, to generate relevant and important story ideas, to truly assume the responsibility of journalists in a crisis.   

Currently, the administration’s prior review of “The Weekly’s” content hinders our coronavirus reporting. When breaking news briefs must wait for approval before they’re uploaded to our website, they lose their relevance and impact. Our reporters’ work loses accessibility. 

To ensure that “The Weekly” fulfills its responsibility of informing the community and fostering growth in its staff, the administration should discontinue prior review. While prior review always serves to the detriment of the student voice, especially now it disconnects writers from the community, from the pace of the “real world” we’re reporting on.