Pandemic: Why is it so hard to say there’s hope?

March 15, 2021

Since the beginning of the covid-19 pandemic, most media coverage has focused on the ongoing physical health disaster and the need to convince readers and elected officials to take action. But the coverage is also a chronic source of trauma. Now that there is some good news interspersed with the tragedy, we struggle to find a balance.

Dr. Alison Holman is a health psychologist and professor at the University of California Irvine’s Sue & Bill Gross School of Nursing, whose work focuses on exposure to traumatic events such as Ebola outbreaks, the Boston Marathon bombing, and, most recently, covid-19. On this week’s Kicker, Holman joins Kyle Pope, editor and publisher of CJR, to discuss journalism’s impact on readers’ mental health, and why traumatic coverage can fail to motivate change.

CJR · Pandemic: Why is it so hard to say there’s hope?


The many anniversaries of the start of the pandemic, Jon Allsop, CJR

What has journalism learned from the pandemic?, Amanda Darrach, CJR

A New York City principal sick with COVID-19 for the second time, and the story the press is missing, Amanda Darrach, CJR

Amanda Darrach is a contributor to CJR and a visiting scholar at the University of St Andrews School of International Relations. Follow her on Twitter @thedarrach.