South Africa: Journalism From the Health Frontlines in a Time of Coronavirus

(file photo).

I could never have imagined living in a time where going out on a news assignment would seem like an impossible task. Over the years as journalists, we have encountered difficult stories to tell. Until now, many of the difficulties were things that we could see, that we could plan for, that we could rely on a colleague to bail us out of. But telling stories during an ongoing pandemic turned out to be a whole different ball game. We cannot possibly tell this story without first giving the details of how we were able to do the work.

If we were going to do this assignment, it had to be a well-thought-out operation. And we prepared for every eventuality we could think of. Our biggest concern in this project was ensuring that we were safe and able to control our environment at all times, thus limiting the potential for possible infection. We decided beforehand that all the interviews would be conducted via phone to limit our in-person contact time with our participants.

So on a Wednesday morning, we packed our fears, anxieties and uncertainties into a camper van -- which is what we opted to travel in to eliminate...

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