Reporting on a crisis is tough but don't forget we're only human too - Laura Collins, YEP Editor

It’s not an easy task writing day in day out about the human cost of coronavirus – our journalists are feeling the strain as well.

By Laura Collins
Monday, 6th April 2020, 6:00 am
Artist Rachel List with her NHS mural in Pontefract.
Artist Rachel List with her NHS mural in Pontefract.

“Have you ever thought of being more positive and helpful, we all know that anyone of us or our loved ones could be the next to die! Stop scaremongering.”

“The media don’t believe in positive stories only scaremongering.”

These are just a selection of some of the social media comments that have been directed at my reporting team here the Yorkshire Evening Post over the last few weeks.

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We’ve also been accused of sensationalising and producing clickbait headlines when it comes to our recent reporting of the coronavirus crisis.

I can assure you that my title, along with the network of local newspapers up and down the country, take absolutely no pleasure in reporting the scale of the unfolding crisis.

My reporters are faced with the unenviable task of combing through the daily releases from the Government and NHS officials to report accurately on the number of deaths right here in Leeds.

This isn’t just about looking at numbers on a crass spreadsheet – these are people’s lives.

They are our loved ones and behind every single reported death is the human cost of this global tragedy.

They are daughters, mothers, fathers, sons and cherished partners who have a whole network of friends and family who care deeply about them.

Their grief is also compounded by the very real prospect that they will be unable to say goodbye properly as funeral services are scaled back to cope with the sheer impact of the pandemic.

The critics are right. It doesn’t make for comfortable reading – it is harsh but at the moment this is a reality.

The YEP, as a responsible publisher, has a duty to report accurately what is happening in our city.

One my reporters hit back at critics last week and said: “I get absolutely nothing from combing through lists to find out how many people have died in Yorkshire. I’m scared too. It’s not a fun job.”

And she’s absolutely right – at the end of the day we’re only human too.

We can’t stick our heads in the sand as we need to hold officials to account locally and nationally.

So that is why we have also been keen to break away from the churn of the news cycle every day and shine a spotlight on those who are spreading happiness at these challenging times.

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We’re also saluting those health heroes on the frontline who are fighting the virus in our city’s hospitals and health centres.

Times like this can bring out the very best or the worst in humanity.

We’re all feeling the strain – we are all worried about our loved ones who we can’t even see for a hug right now.

But let’s make sure we’re on the right side of history once we have navigated our way through this challenging episode.

So the next time anybody feels the urge to take to their keyboards and throw criticism at others I would urge you to take a moment and remember the impact those words have on others.

A message from the Editor:

Thank you for reading this story on our website. These are challenging times but the team at the Yorkshire Evening Post need your support more than ever in the weeks ahead.

While I have your attention, I also have an important request to make of you. In order for us to continue to provide high quality and trusted local news on this free-to-read site, I am asking you - wherever possible and providing it is safe for you to do so - to also please purchase a copy of our newspaper.

Inevitably falling advertising revenues will start to have an impact on local newspapers and the way we continue to work during this period of uncertainty. So the support of our readers has never been more important as we try to make sure that we keep you connected with the city you live in during this time.

But being your eyes and ears comes at a price. We need your support more than ever to buy our newspapers during this crisis.

Our team of trusted reporters are working incredibly hard behind the scenes- from kitchen tables and spare bedrooms - to look at how we can do this and your continued support to the YEP will help to protect its viability in the days and weeks ahead.

For more details on our subscription offers please visit www.localsubsplus.co.uk/YEP, email [email protected] or call us on 0330 4033004

Thank you

Laura Collins

Editor