It is a strange day in the newsroom.
The coronavirus pandemic is a huge story consuming almost every reporter at The Buffalo News. But the newsroom is nearly abandoned.
Like companies across New York, The News has told most employees to work from home, starting today. A dozen editors are in the newsroom coordinating coverage, posting stories and preparing the newspaper. The press crews will show up later today, cranking up our four-story presses to print The News, The New York Times and other publications. A few employees whose work can't be done remotely are scattered around the building, separated to ensure sufficient "social distance."
Everyone else is out of the building.
We decided Thursday that sending staff home made employees safer and was simply good citizenship. It is remarkable how over just a few days, the phrase "flattening the curve" has become such a part of our lexicon. The more slowly COVID-19 spreads, the better the health care system can cope with it. And the surest way to slow its spread is to minimize contact among people. Thursday's New York Times story from Italy painted a grim picture of what happens when the curve isn't flattened.
Buffalo News reporters and photographers may be avoiding the newsroom, but they are blanketing the story. Tom Precious is reporting from Albany and Jerry Zremski from Washington, D.C. Our sports staff has reported this week from Atlantic City to Montreal to Buffalo, and a fleet of reporters here in Western New York is chasing every angle.
In the past three weeks, we have written nearly 150 stories on the pandemic. Links to most of them are compiled on our COVID-19 page. In addition, we have opened up access to our COVID-19 coverage on BuffaloNews.com. It is free to all.
We also have a special coronavirus newsletter each evening providing an easy guide to the day's coverage. Sign up here.
This pandemic is affecting all of our lives. We will be working hard through the weekend and beyond to bring you all the news.