Local and rural newspapers all over the nation are producing outstanding coverage of the coronavirus pandemic under stressful conditions.

In one example, The Pilot, a twice-weekly paper in Southern Pines, N.C., has created a frequently updated special section on its website. The paper's last edition had 24 pages instead of the usual 40 due to a drop in advertising, but it has put all its online coronavirus coverage outside the paywall and is publishing new updates frequently, Publisher David Woronoff writes in an editorial. Many other newspapers are doing likewise.

Woronoff tells his readers that this is an expensive decision, and asks them to consider subscribing so the paper can continue serving the community. The Pilot was named the country's best community newspaper for three consecutive years (2015-17) by the National Newspaper Association.

Here are some resources to help local papers cover the pandemic:
  • America's Newspapers and Editor & Publisher have launched an online source for the latest covid-19 information called Media Virus Watch.
  • Green Shoot Media has created a free covid-19 special section for newspapers. It covers a broad range of topics, including health tips and how readers can support local businesses.
  • The Pennsylvania News Media Association has created a series of free public-service ads that newspapers can print.
  • The Rural Health Information Hub has a toolkit with links to resources that may help you in covering the pandemic.