Covering coronavirus from the lens of race, poverty, and income inequality

The Chicago Reporter’s small but mighty team is applying its signature data-driven approach to reporting on the crisis of our lifetimes, but we need you to take our efforts to the next level.

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Transmission electron microscopic image of an isolate from the first U.S. case of COVID-19, formerly known as 2019-nCoV. The spherical viral particles, colorized blue, contain cross-sections through the viral genome, seen as black dots.

Photo by Hannah A. Bullock,; Azaibi Tamin/CDC

Transmission electron microscopic image of an isolate from the first U.S. case of COVID-19, formerly known as 2019-nCoV. The spherical viral particles, colorized blue, contain cross-sections through the viral genome, seen as black dots.

It’s been an unprecedented few weeks as coronavirus grips the world. We hope that you, and those around you are safe and doing everything you can to stay healthy. We also wanted to let you know that all of our resources are focused on covering this pandemic through the lens of racial and socioeconomic equity and to share a few of the efforts that are underway:

  • Staying safe: We are privileged to be able to work from home to protect the health of our team and our fellow Chicagoans.
  • Tracking the spread and sharing our findings: We launched an Illinois coronavirus tracker that includes a map and table that are updated daily with data from the Illinois Department of Health. This is the most verifiable data source we have been able to identify. We’re learning a lot along the way and have advised journalists at the St Louis Post Dispatch and New York Times on the state’s definitions and historical data.

We have also translated this map into Spanish, to ensure wider access to this information. We are aware of the vast news deserts in our region. Combined with rampant misinformation, we are trying to give our community a viable resource to understand the spread of this disease. We are interested in translating it into other languages, including Mandarin and Polish. If you know anyone who could help, let us know. 

We are also making this map freely available for anyone who wants to embed it on their website. You can find the instructions to do that here. Already, The Triibe, Chicago WBEZ and the Chicago Sun-Times have embedded the map as there are few, easy ways to track the spread of this disease.

  • Providing perspective: We are continuing to publish expert commentary from columnist Curtis Black and others, who are providing key details and insight about how our city, state and federal government are responding and identifying areas of concern and improvement.
  • Exploring new platforms: We will launch our LATINEXT WhatsApp news service shortly to ensure that we are engaging those most hard to reach where they are.
  • More investigations to come: And we are continuing to investigate how the criminal justice system, city, state and health officials are responding to this crisis.
  • Asking for your information needs: We have launched surveys ⁠—– in English and Spanish ⁠—– to better understand what you need to know about the crisis. 

We’re already implementing some of the feedback and suggestions we’ve gotten and we’d love to hear from you too — even if just to know that you are OK. We’d also like to know how we can do better. 

As you know, we are a small but mighty team of five that is pushing ourselves every day to serve our community. We are looking for dynamic, forward-thinking approaches to covering this evolving issue and will keep you posted as we go. Subscribe to our free e-newsletter, and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram for our latest coverage. And if you can help us do more, please consider making a donation if you can. 

Stay safe, stay home and wash your hands.