Best of 2020: Small Staff, Big COVID Coverage
On March 2, we posted our first story about COVID-19. There was only one case in the entire state. Local officials were watchful then, but didn’t say what everyone was thinking – it would be in Dallas soon.
By March 10, we were reporting on the first two cases in the county, and two days later the county issued an emergency declaration. The next day, Gov. Greg Abbott issued a disaster declaration for the entire state.
What followed quickly overtook the entire year. Canceled weddings. Drive-by birthday parties. Curbside pickup for everything from COVID-19 testing to dinner. Remote learning.
And with a staff an eighth the size of most newspapers, People Newspapers covered it all with a hyperlocal focus that helped readers home in on the information that mattered the most, offering daily digests of important news, as well as information on the pandemic’s impact on schools and sports, the community, and more.
“The pandemic was by far the biggest topic we covered in 2020,” said People Newspapers deputy editor Bethany Erickson. “But it wasn’t just the numbers and updates on protocols and advice that I feel did a service to the community – I’m most proud of the stories we told during this year. Our readers are resilient, empathetic, and ready to help, and we have a lot of stories that bear this out.”