Newspapers in Canada and the U.S. have shared the steps they are taking to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 while continuing to gather accurate and necessary information to provide to their readers, and to connect readers with their communities. While many employees can work remotely, some staff must use computer networks that contain sensitive information, such as personnel records and credit card numbers, which are not accessible off-site.
This is a compilation of ways in which newspapers are working to keep staff, contract workers and readers as safe as possible. The steps at each location may vary.
Newsgathering and General Office Practices:
Many or all staff works remotely, communicating through Skype, etc. Buildings are closed to all visitors and customers.
Reporters interview people by phone wherever possible. Photos are taken outdoors at a safe distance wherever possible. Photojournalists are given antiseptic wipes to clean equipment frequently.
Offices are stocked with hand sanitizer and feature posters on proper hand washing, social distancing and other recommendations from health authorities. Staff is provided with gloves and masks where supplies allow. Employee workstations are relocated within the building to maximize social distancing.
There is frequent sanitizing of equipment, mobile devices, doorknobs and other surfaces, and more frequent visits by cleaning services and complete scrub-down of facilities.
Printing and Distribution:
Frequent cleaning of printing/distribution areas, including sanitary wipe-down of surfaces during high use times and complete scrub-downs at intervals. Provision of disposable gloves to newspaper delivery persons, or rubber gloves that are sanitized daily.
Staggered loading area pickup times for delivery persons to enhance social distancing. Loading areas are outdoors.
Bundles of newspapers to be sold at stores are bagged and left outside the store, with a bag for returned newspapers, which can also be left outside.