The pandemic led to changes not only within news organizations, but also in relationships between news organizations. 

A hiring freeze brought on by the pandemic at Birmingham’s WBHM radio left the station without a reporter to cover local government at a time when that beat is as important as ever. Pre-pandemic, WBHM had occasionally used stories on city council and local government news from a small nonprofit called Birmingham Watch. Now the station incorporates Birmingham Watch stories into its daily coverage.

Several Houston news organizations, including some that previously shared a helicopter, formed a pool to cover city government after the pandemic hit. Outlets rotate sending a staffer to cover press conferences, and other reporters send their questions beforehand to be asked by the person attending that day. “It started as a COVID situation, but just earlier today we talked and said you know this is working out really well for everyone, right?” said KHOU news director Sally Ramirez.

In Oregon, more than 15 news organizations built on a previous partnership reporting on suicide prevention to share COVID-19 reportage. Outlets include Oregon Public Broadcasting (radio and television), The Oregonian newspaper and KOBI-TV.

This original research is a project of the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism at CUNY.

Reporters: Matthew MacVey ’16, academic program specialist; Geraldine Baum, assistant dean of External Affairs

Editors: Beth Harpaz, editor for research content and website manager for CUNY website SUM; Amy Dunkin, director of Academic Operations

Website: Rosaleen Ortiz, designer