Will Editors Soon Lift COVID’s Headline Lockdown?

COVID-19 has absolutely dominated news for the last five months – probably more than any story since 9/11.

But it won’t keep journalists’ attention forever–not even health reporters’.

GPG’s Health and Wellness team has heard from several journalists who’ve covered  coronavirus around the clock since the start of the pandemic that they foresee editors asking them to pivot to other subjects more frequently come fall.

Even the nation’s leading coronavirus analysts recognize the coming shift. The University of Minnesota’s Michael Osterholm observed late last week that “with the elections coming up, with the selection of the vice presidential nominee, we’re going to see less and less coverage of coronavirus over the next week to ten days.”

The bottom line: There’s only so much mindshare. And while the pandemic will continue to devour much of it, more column inches are likely to free up soon.

Still pitching a reporter on a coronavirus story? We recommend keeping it short; real short. Reporters aren’t going to read the same wall of text over and over again, so keep your initial pitches to just a few sentences. You can always elaborate later. And please, for everyone’s sake, try not to use “unprecedented.” That word is ready to be retired.

And if you’re pitching a non-COVID story? Don’t be afraid to highlight that. Reporters may be looking to switch up their coverage – especially if you can succinctly explain how your pitch remains relevant for readers even if it’s unrelated to the story of the decade.