The media’s coverage approach and priorities have been evolving rapidly during the unprecedented COVID-19 news cycle. Not only are most newsrooms working remotely to enforce social distancing, but the pace of news and information is overwhelming.
InkHouse has been closely monitoring the media landscape to understand how we can best support clients and journalists through this time. I recently connected with GeekWire Managing Editor Taylor Soper to hear how COVID-19’s impacted his team’s reporting.
Kate: What makes a meaningful story for you? And how has COVID-19 changed this?
Taylor: GeekWire focuses on Pacific Northwest-rooted innovation. One of our mottos is, "What happens here (Seattle and the PNW), matters everywhere," so we look for stories involving local people, companies...that matter everywhere. Or, stories happening elsewhere but are uniquely relevant to people, companies and issues that matter in Seattle and the PNW. We start with that filter and go from there when assessing stories. COVID-19 is certainly changing how the companies, people...operate on a daily basis, and our readers need to know what's going on, so we are definitely covering a lot of pandemic-related stories.
Kate: How do you decide what stories you're going to do each day? Who influences those decisions?
Taylor: We look for new information that hasn't been reported elsewhere. We try to take a unique GeekWire angle on broader topics. We always think about the reader first, and what he or she should know that day. I work with GeekWire Editor Todd Bishop on story ideas; our reporters also come up with angles. We have weekly meetings to discuss ideas and figure out how to best work together.
Kate: What has been your team's approach to COVID-19 coverage?
Taylor: The pandemic is obviously top of mind and there are a ton of different angles to take on this topic. We look at our coverage areas (Microsoft, Amazon, startups, science, civic/government, etc.) and think about how the crisis is changing these companies and entrepreneurs, and how tech/innovation is affecting it all. We are still doing non-COVID stories as well.
Kate: Are you sensing any COVID-19 fatigue among reporters and readers? Are they looking for stories that are more uplifting?
Taylor: Our analytics and anecdotal feedback show that readers are definitely in search of uplifting and good news. We recently started our daily newsletter with a light-hearted introduction and it's been well-received as the crisis continues to dominate headlines. Among our reporters, it's been intense covering COVID-19 with so many new developments each day, but we know it's important work, so that keeps us going.
Kate: Are you seeing any new or noteworthy trends emerge in the PNW as you consider stories and pitches on a daily basis?
Taylor: Seattle is arguably leading the way in this crisis, from how the government is handling the situation to the science and innovation happening here. Hometown tech giants such as Microsoft and Amazon are also playing a huge role during the crisis as more people stay at home and rely on e-commerce and cloud computing, etc. We're trying to stay on top of all the developments — it's not easy, but we're grateful to be able to provide information to readers when it is needed most.