Masks, hand sanitizers and disposable gloves have become as essential to news gathering as cell phones and notebooks. But how do you outfit your staff when everyone is working remotely? Gothamist mailed personal protective equipment (PPEs) to their journalists. The New York Times had staffers get advice from an in-house security consultant. 

Shotgun microphones have also become a much sought-after tool. They’re designed for capturing sound from a specific direction, making them ideal for interviews at a distance. Once social distancing became de rigueur, all the reporters at Birmingham’s WBHM radio wanted to use the station’s one shotgun mic. So the station bought five more, along with boom poles to hold the mics closer to interviewees. 

Using a drone to photograph a food bank line allowed photographer William Luther to capture “the scale of the need.”

Drones have helped fill coverage gaps too. Houston’s KHOU used drones to record video for a segment on a priest making house calls. The priest wore a mic to record audio that was later synced with the drone footage. And San Antonio Express-News photographer William Luther used a drone to capture thousands of cars lining up at a food bank. Getting the picture from overhead showed what Luther called “the scale of the need.” 

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