The Carolina Public Press Emergency News Team is a nimble enterprise comprised of people and resources that — nearly overnight — expanded and focused the CPP news team to offer breaking news and in-depth and investigative pandemic reporting from the local to statewide levels, reporting that was offered both text- and broadcast-ready. Reporting on outbreaks, impacts, responses, testing and more was focused on the state’s most vulnerable populations, especially rural North Carolina communities that are disproportionately at-risk, including from current or threatened news deserts, limited access to hospitals, high numbers of residents that are older and/or live with existing health challenges and a higher number of at-risk workplaces and congregant living facilities such as meatpacking plants and prisons.
Additionally, the Emergency News Team reached out to rural micronews organizations (1-5 employees) to assist those outlets continue or expand COVID-19 news, in case of reduced operations, furloughs, layoffs or illness, throughout rural Western and Eastern North Carolina. Content was created “on demand” and in collaboration, then co-published. As a result, the team created, for the first time, new broadcast-ready programming, translated daily updates into Spanish and partnered with Latinx media to provide content and Spanish-language broadcasts. That led to CPP securing first-time partnerships with more than a dozen AM and FM radio stations in rural communities to provide broadcast-ready COVID-19 news and Spanish-language broadcasts.
Nearly all elements of the Emergency News Team are unique. The “on demand” emergency response reporting collaboration model is unique in North Carolina. No other organization is focusing resources on underserved communities by not only providing freely available emergency-focused news and information, but also by partnering with primarily rural media organizations to help in case the news ecosystem is threatened. No other organization is partnering with radio broadcast partners to provide broadcast-ready sound wraps and scripts in both English and Spanish.