COVID-19 (Coronavirus) is on everyone’s mind, forcing the world to make dramatic adjustments to new circumstances.
In these uncertain times, and no matter where one lives in the world, access to accurate and reliable information is more important than ever. The networks of the U.S. Agency for Global Media (USAGM) are uniquely positioned to report on one of the biggest news stories in modern history and impact audiences like no other media organization in the world, and they have led in global coverage of the COVID-19 pandemic.
With news and information programming in 61 languages and audiences in more than 100 countries, the USAGM’s networks have been covering this developing crisis from day one, providing their audiences around the world with health explainers, personal stories, and national and international responses to the evolving outbreak. Beyond TV and radio, millions are turning to USAGM social platforms and mobile apps to find and share trusted information.
I applaud our journalists, editors and staff for engaging their audiences and finding new and creative ways to keep people informed. But even as we continue to bring information to the people who need it most, we are also monitoring developments to ensure the safety and wellbeing of our staff around the world.
Unfortunately, this global pandemic has hit home. This week, a second member of the USAGM family tested positive for COVID-19. In each case, we took the necessary precautions in response—alerting staff, identifying those who worked with the individual and having them self-quarantine, as well as deep cleaning workspaces in which the individuals worked. I know that everyone will join me in wishing the employee a speedy recovery.
This evolving global health crisis has affected personnel and operations and will continue to do so. To effectively plan for the continuity of operations and support our workforce, USAGM put a number of precautions in place over the past several weeks. This includes providing robust telework requirements for those who can accomplish their work remotely; closing our facilities to visitors; enforcing a 14-day self-quarantine for anyone returning from international travel; and, of course, stringently cleaning and disinfecting all of our facilities and workspaces. Most important, we continue to let employees know that not only does their work matter, so does their wellbeing.
Every industry has its unique challenges in dealing with this pandemic. Our journalists and support staff around the world are dedicated to ensuring our audiences have the critical information they need to keep themselves safe and healthy. We are committed to keeping these brave men and women out of harm’s way. They are our most important asset. Standing together, we will pull through.