USA: Carolyn Bick talks about her experience covering COVID-19

covering COVID-19 in the USA
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by The Coalition for Women in Journalism

Carolyn Bick is a Seattle-based freelance journalist who primarily works for the South Seattle Emerald – a small, local, nonprofit publication that specifically covers South Seattle and vulnerable communities. Her work has previously appeared in several local and international publications. Her coverage of the coronavirus ranges from the impact of COVID-19 on orthodox jews to hurdles of online learning for autistic students and their parents. Carolyn has been reporting on the pandemic in a city – Seattle – that was initially hit really hard in the US.

We asked Carolyn about what safety precautions she is taking to ensure she is In good health amidst the reportage of this very precarious frontline. Carolyn says, “I almost never leave the house, unless I need to make photos for a story. Most of my reporting is done by phone. When out in the field, while I do not have safety gear, I keep a safe distance from the people I am photographing, and try not to stand downwind from them.”

She said that it is not difficult for her to move about, as Washington State Governor Jay Inslee has not called on active enforcement of movement restrictions and closures. Carolyn said that he has instead declared the media essential personnel. The only challenge so far she has faced is not having to meet her sources in person. Apart from that, Carolyn has designed her reporting around following safety guidelines.

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Considering how the pandemic has had a toll on people’s mental health, we asked Carolyn how she keeps herself fit both mentally and physically.

“I exercise every morning, and go for solo walks outside to keep up my step count. Keeping my body fit and strong helps to keep me mentally healthy. I’m planning to start incorporating some meditative techniques, as this crisis escalates,” she shared.

Carolyn also makes sure to keep in touch with her family and friends through video chat and also spends time with her husband and two little cats – Zorg and Cornelius.

“For entertainment, I have taken to watching brain candy television shows, like Hart of Dixie on Netflix, whenever I have a little downtime, as well as darkly humorous shows like Skins with my husband at night. I also read, but not as much as usual, since I am trying to milk the time I have with my new books, and am staring at words all day, anyway,” Carolyn said to CFWIJ.

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