Telling the story of a shared global calamity

Everywhere, the world is facing one of the worst health, economic and political crises it has seen in decades. Sadly, this is a shared reality, a calamity that has hit, and unites, us all.

One-third of the world’s people are now in lockdown, isolated and confined to their homes.

In Singapore, a tiny city-state in Asia where I live, usually a busy aviation and transport hub, we feel this especially keenly, as we have once again become, literally, an island.

Across the globe, hospitals are being overwhelmed and death tolls are rising. Markets and economies are in freefall. Governments are rushing to roll out massive financial packages to jump-start businesses and industries, to try and keep people from losing their jobs.

Millions are engaged in the biggest work-from-home experiment, totally unplanned and unprepared for. The 1980s hit, Don’t Stand So Close To Me, by British rock band The Police, might well serve as the anthem of these times of social distancing, now enforced and policed to varying degrees from India to Italy.

Amid these days of fear and anxiety as the world fights the coronavirus, newsrooms have strived to keep going to continue to bring the latest developments to the communities they serve.

Some have had to do so despite sudden shutdowns when a member of staff is hit by the bug; many are working from home as a precaution, pulling the product together virtually, and arduously, determined to keep the presses running and the platforms updated, come what may.

The World Editors Forum (WEF) has been supporting our members, sharing information about the situation around the world, as well as advice and tips from fellow editors on how to manage our newsrooms under these trying circumstances, and enable our reporting teams to continue to do their jobs while staying safe.

Many of our newsrooms, including The Straits Times, have opted to make our coverage of the coronavirus freely available as a public service at this critical time.

We greatly appreciate the support of the community and thank all our loyal subscribers, supporters and advertisers, without whom we would not be able to continue to keep playing our part in this collective fight against Covid-19, as well as that other virus that threatens our societies and democracies – fake news.

Several of our WEF member newsrooms have come together in a collaborative editorial project to share their insights into how this battle is playing out in their parts of the world. We offer this to you in solidarity with all who are working tirelessly, everywhere, to help bring this devastating pandemic under control.

Stay safe, everyone.

Warren Fernandez


World Editors Forum

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