The Washington Post will re-focus much of its sports staff on coronavirus coverage, per an email from the section's leaders obtained by the Washingtonian. It's a move surely being employed at countless other dailies as sports grind to a standstill and hard news promises to come fast and furious.
From the memo:
We’ll need to keep reporting and writing just as we always have. Readership on our website is at unprecedented levels and people are looking for alternatives to the unrelenting virus coverage, so we will continue to provide that with the kinds of enterprise, investigations, analysis and opinion for which Post Sports is known. The reality, however, is that without basketball, hockey, baseball, golf, soccer, tennis and a host of other sports – along with the pages of results, standings and roundups that go with them – it is going to be impossible to fill even a 6-page daily Sports section for a while. So starting this Saturday, the daily Sports section will be moving inside Style with a smaller footprint of probably 2-3 pages. The Sunday Sports section will continue to be published as a standalone section. These changes, too, will be temporary – and we can all hope they will end soon.
There's cruel irony in there being a depletion of distractions when they're needed most. A crueler one is that local news is going to be even more important than it's been in years following decades of almost systematic cuts. A re-distribution of resources will hopefully both help preserve media jobs and allow as much vital information dispensed to those desperate for it as possible.
For as challenging a time lies ahead, it promises to spawn some terrific and selfless journalism. That these Post changes are volunteer-based is uplifting and reflective of a huge mass of professionals willing to sacrifice for the greater good. Which we'll absolutely need in the days, weeks, and months to come.