Nine Entertainment publishing’s James Chessell writes to subscribers

• Won’t sensationalise COVID-19 coverage, measured analysis

The executive editor of The SMH and The Age, James Chessell, has written to subscribers of the two Nine Entertainment news brands, updating them about the company’s continuing coverage of coronavirus and its trail of destruction around the world:

Our newsrooms are used to fast-developing stories but the coronavirus pandemic is without precedent. Since we first reported on the outbreak of a new virus in the Chinese city of Wuhan in January, the coronavirus has spread across the world infecting more than 180,000 people, paralysing countries, and upending global financial markets.

Misinformation during this time can spread as quickly as the virus itself. Our newsrooms are committed to reporting the facts about COVID-19 calmly and explaining what the outbreak means for our economy, businesses, schools, sports, culture, households and daily lives. We will do so without straying into sensationalism. It is imperative that our community is prepared and informed as we face this challenge together. Our reporters on the ground in Australia and overseas take this responsibility seriously and are working hard to fulfil it.

We have made our daily live coverage of the pandemic free to all readers given its critical health and community information. It’s thanks to our subscribers that we’re able to provide this service to the wider community. Subscribers power our newsrooms and access to a trusted source of news is more important now than it has ever been.

Our wider coverage includes:

• Federal and state political bureaus led by David Crowe, Rob Harris and Peter Hartcher pursuing and examining the government’s response to the serious health and economic challenges ahead
• Foreign correspondents filing from Europe, the United States and Asia to provide a global insight, including Bevan Shields’ excellent piece about the ‘herd immunity’ debate in the UK
• Expert business reporters and columnists analysing the impact on jobs, the economy and business including Stephen Bartholomeusz’s must-read on the myriad forces ending the longest bull market in history
• Opinion writers including Jacqueline Maley, Chris Uhlmann, Ross Gittins, Sean Kelly, Shaun Carney and Julia Baird, who wrote eloquently about the importance of hope recently, providing the best range of measured analysis of events for readers who don’t like to be told what to think
• Science and health reporters giving regular updates on the nature of the virus, vaccine developments, and personal health advice. Our journalists abide by a set of reporting guidelines when writing about medical research, which you can read here.

Most importantly, we will tell you what it all means for you and your family.

Each morning we publish a Morning Edition newsletter that provides a summary of the day’s most important stories.

We first published our comprehensive explainer on the virus on January 21. It has had more than 2500 updates since and continues to be constantly revised. It serves as an excellent primer on the basic questions we all want to know including how worried we should be. Our award-winning explainer team has also written about what coronavirus does to the body, the rules of self-isolation and the origins of COVID-19.

The safety of our staff is paramount and we are taking as many measures as we can to do our bit to minimise the spread of the virus throughout the community. But we are also very conscious of our duty to report the news no matter what the circumstances.

I want to thank you, as a subscriber, for supporting journalism which in the coming days will be vital. We hope your family stays healthy and safe.

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