A look back at one year of COVID-19 coverage from Report for America

March 11, 2021: One year since the World Health Organization declared the COVID-19 pandemic.

To date, the virus has claimed more than 2.6 million lives worldwide, and is approaching 530,000 deaths here in the United States.

Report for America corps members adapted with swiftness and grace to cover the most consequential story of a generation, maybe a century. Many joined newsrooms in the midst of a nationwide lockdown, with health and social restrictions that presented risks and obstacles for their daily work.

They were on the ground in communities from coast to coast as schools closedhospitals overfilled in Washington, the first Mississippian died of COVID-19 and New York became the eye of the storm. They covered the collapse and innovative growth of economies from Indiana to Baltimore, the increase in domestic violence in Washington, challenges of rural broadband in Ohio, treatment of essential workers in California and overwhelmed nursing homes in West Virginia.

And as the death of George Floyd in Minnesota was followed by nationwide civil unrest and a highly-polarizing presidential election (culminating in a riot on the Capitol and the second impeachment of former President Donald Trump), Report for America corps members were in the field tracing and tracking the outsize impact of the pandemic on health and safety. Storms hit, schools shifted from remote learning back to classrooms, and our reporters were in the field with pen, recorder and camera to capture the crisis and the mourning. And they are on the ground still.

Their work over this harrowing year collects the stories of Americans who will not easily recover from or forget this battle. Their daily coverage of this unprecedented time –failures and triumphs, trials and resistance – is now the record of a transformative year for the country. Together, this local journalism tells a national story that allows readers, legislators, teachers, activists and future generations all to draw from the history of the day in an effort to remember, and hopefully prevent another catastrophe of this scale. Their work is not yet done, but it is our best hope. Find some of their most recent stories, as communities look to emerge from the pandemic, below.

KLAMATH FALLS, Ore. – ‘Here’s how a year of COVID-19 impacted Klamath County health’ Alex Schwartz, The Herald and News

MINNEAPOLIS – ‘Police reform advocates express concerns in early days of jury selection in Chauvin trial’ Zoe Jackson, Star Tribune

SAN JUAN, P.R. – ‘Retrasada la carrera para reabrir las escuelas públicas’ José M. Encarnación Martínez, Centro de Periodismo Investigativo 

HARTFORD, Conn. – ‘The Cost Of COVID: Remembering The First Connecticut Inmate To Die Of COVID-19’ Ali Oshinskie, Connecticut Public

DOVER, Del. – ‘‘We need help’: education advocates state case for more equity funding in state budget’ Roman Battaglia, Delaware Public Media

ANNAPOLIS, Md. – ‘Midshipmen to receive COVID-19 vaccines this week’ Heather Mongolio, The Capital Gazette

TAKOMA PARK, Md. – ‘House Panel Moves Relief for Tenants – With Sweeping Cuts – Maryland Matters’ Bennett Leckrone, Maryland Matters

BILOXI, Miss. – ‘Black MS residents not getting equal amount of COVID vaccine’ Isabelle Taft, Sun Herald

DES MOINES, Iowa – ‘COVID-19 Ravages More Than Physical Health’ Kassidy Arena, Iowa Public Radio

LEXINGTON, Ky. – ‘KY COVID-19 positivity rate falls below 4% ’Alex Acquisto, The Lexington Herald Leader

FARGO, N.D. – ‘North Dakota reports 2 COVID-19 deaths, 106 positive cases’ Michelle Griffith, Inforum

RALEIGH, N.C. – ‘Over 3 million people in NC have now received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine’ Ben Sessoms, The News & Observer

HILTON HEAD, S.C. – ‘Here’s who qualifies for Phase 1b of COVID vaccines in SC’ Sam Ogazelek, The Island Packet

LAS CRUCES, N.M. – ‘Las Cruces to reach out to families regarding full school reentry’ Miranda Cyr, Las Cruces Sun News

OLYMPIA, Wash. – ‘Just-cause eviction bill passed by WA state House’ Brandon Block, Tri-City Herald

ORLANDO, Florida – ‘Year of COVID: Housing Policy, Post-Pandemic: What Needs to Change?’ Molly Duerig, Spectrum News 13

SALT LAKE CITY – ‘Utah’s child care workers can sign up for COVID-19 vaccine in March through federal program’ Becky Jacobs, Salt Lake Tribune

SPOKANE – ‘Washington House passes new version of bill aimed at public health reforms’ Arielle Dreher and Laurel Demkovich, The Spokesman-Review

PALM SPRINGS, Calif. – ‘Vaccine updates: Johnson & Johnson vaccine arrives in Riverside County’ Maria Sesito, The Desert Sun

LONG BEACH, Calif. – Westside’s strawberry farm icon dies at 85 after losing battle with COVID-19 • Long Beach Post News’ Crystal Niebla, The Long Beach Post 

BOSTON – ‘Black doctors command mass vaccination site’ Morgan Mullings, Bay State Banner

IDAHO FALLS – ‘New infections, outbreaks slow in Idaho long-term care facilities’ Kyle Pfannenstiel, The Post Register

See coverage from throughout the past year here.

About Report for America

Report for America is a national service program that places talented emerging journalists in local newsrooms to report on under-covered topics and communities. Launched in 2017 and donor-financed, Report for America is creating a new, sustainable system that provides Americans with the information they need to improve their communities, hold powerful institutions accountable, and rebuild trust in the media. Report for America is an initiative of The GroundTruth Project, an award-winning nonprofit media organization with an established track record of training and supporting teams of emerging journalists around the world and in the US. Report for America is a MacArthur Foundation 100&Change finalist, a global competition for a single $100 million grant.