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The global coronavirus pandemic has resulted in
Inside Story
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A question of news: Global coronavirus pandemic is BIG, but exactly how big?

Lester Holt says, 'This is the biggest story we have ever seen.' Other journalists say it's too soon to declare that.

In my 30-year journalism career, I’ve covered more major news than I can recall.

In most cases, I’ve experienced an adrenaline rush as I set about to do my job, which I consider as much a calling as a profession.

A few times, though, a particular story has felt absolutely overwhelming, like it dwarfed me and my ability to cover it adequately.

The first time came on April 19, 1995, when my colleagues at The Oklahoman and I suddenly found ourselves reporting on what was then the deadliest terrorist attack on U.S. soil — the bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City. In all, 168 of our friends and neighbors died that day.

The second time came six years later on Sept. 11, 2001, when terrorist-piloted planes crashed into the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and a field near Shanksville, Pa. The death toll that day: 2,977.

Now, the world finds itself grappling with an invisible killer: COVID-19. As I type this, the global coronavirus pandemic has resulted in nearly 12,000 deaths. The number of infections approaches 300,000.

In an interview with Poynter.org, NBC’s Lester Holt — whom I respect — said: “I always thought 9/11 would be the biggest story I would ever cover. But this is the biggest story we have ever seen.”

Wow. That’s an amazing statement from a journalist of Holt’s status.

Is he right? Is this “the biggest story we have ever seen?” I’d humbly suggest that we don’t know yet, as massive and, yes, as absolutely overwhelming as COVID-19 seems at this point.

I asked a few respected colleagues for their insights on that question as well as details on how their news organizations are covering this major, major news.

Click here to read what they had to say.

BOBBY ROSS JR. is Editor-in-Chief of The Christian Chronicle. Reach him at [email protected].


“Weekend Plug-in,”  featuring analysis, insights and top headlines from the world of faith, is produced in partnership with Religion Unplugged.

Filed under: Bridgett McCormick Coronavirus COVID-19 global pandemic Inside Story International journalism Lester Holt National Religion Unplugged Top Stories Weekend Plug-In

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