Dear Journalism Students and Faculty,
I hope you are all healthy and safe during this pandemic. As we begin our remote learning today, I want to share some information with you about how we plan to move forward with our journalism classes and assignments.
Your safety is our paramount concern. Any reporting for your stories must be done in ways that protect you and the public. Please follow all these guidelines from the CDC to protect yourself.
This is a fast-moving crisis and our journalism program guidelines may change, but as of March 18, you should do as much of your reporting as possible remotely on your phone or computer. We do not support going on public transportation or into a large group for a story or getting within six feet of a source.
Your professors will be teaching you how to find sources online and on social media, how to report remotely, and how to record online video and audio interviews. We also encourage you to come up with innovative ways to report stories using the many free online tools now available to student journalists.
As of now, you may be able to take photographs or film video outdoors in your community as long as you practice responsible social distancing, but any city or state restrictions like a “shelter-in-place” order would, of course, preempt this. Please keep up with the latest news on this possibility (here’s a handy Google news search).
Here’s the good news: This is an incredible time to be a student journalist! The coronavirus is a huge, multi-dimensional and breaking story, and you will now be covering this pandemic from multiple angles and then showcasing your work on a new high-profile web page on the Journalism Program website dedicated to our coronavirus coverage.
Think about doing stories on how the coronavirus is impacting Hunter and CUNY students: the pros and cons of becoming an online student; how students will meet with advisers before fall registration; how students are coping with the anxiety created by this pandemic etc.
You can also profile someone in your community affected by the coronavirus, provide a dispatch from your neighborhood or do a remote Q&A with someone in a job on the frontlines of this pandemic.
The general rules of reporting still apply: Interview people you don’t know — no family or friends unless approved by your professor; always identify yourself as a Hunter journalism student and explain what your story is about and where it will appear; do not participate in the story or scene you are covering.
We encourage and applaud your creativity but also invite you to share your reporting plan with your professor if you have any questions or concerns.
A few final notes:
- Please be sure to follow the communication guidelines for your class. Each of your instructors may have a different way of communicating with you, and it’s critical you stay on top of the class requirements and assignment deadlines even in these chaotic times.
- Although the Film and Media Studies equipment room is closed until further notice, students in need of a laptop to learn remotely can request a loaner by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
- There is also funding available for students impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Please email email@example.com for that as well.
- And don’t forget to check the Film & Media Department’s COVID-19 update regularly as well as the latest from Hunter College.
This is a unique opportunity for all of us to distinguish ourselves and Hunter’s journalism program. I am optimistic we will all rise to the occasion.