The Covid-19 pandemic has confirmed yet again the importance of clear, reliable, and accurate information for societies. Throughout the pandemic audiences have turned to trusted sources for scientific information about the disease and its spread.
Yet even as demand for their work has soared, journalists have been laid off and furloughed around the world. News audiences might have risen dramatically in 2020 (Laungani et al., 2020), but shrinking revenues— particularly advertising revenue—have crippled many newsrooms. The economic effects of Covid-19 have helped to create what some are calling a “media extinction event” (Ahmed, 2020). This is true in the United States and globally. At this writing, the Poynter Institute’s layoff tracker site reports that in the U.S., at least 21 local newspapers have merged, at least 1,400 newsroom staffers have been permanently laid off, at least 56 outlets have temporarily suspended print editions, and at least 60 local newsrooms have been closed (Hare, 2020a; Hare 2020b). In the US, journalists of color are most susceptible to being laid off, the Washington Post reported in May (Liu, 2020).