Cable networks pooling convention coverage to reduce number of employees
The cable news networks are planning to work together to pool their coverage of the Democratic and Republican national conventions to reduce the number of employees present amid the coronavirus pandemic, The Wall Street Journal reported Sunday.
Leaders from CNN, MSNBC and Fox News are coordinating on regular calls to figure out “pool” coverage where networks use one video feed to limit the number of workers present, Rashida Jones, senior vice president of MSNBC and NBC News, told the newspaper.
Pool coverage has traditionally been used during election coverage, but Jones said coordination between the networks has increased because of the pandemic. The coronavirus crisis is expected to change the conventions to reduce crowds.
“It’s not at all clear that the events in Milwaukee and Jacksonville are going to be anything like a normal convention,” Sam Feist, CNN’s Washington bureau chief, told the newspaper. “That will affect our coverage.”
The Democratic National Convention will be held in Milwaukee, where presumptive nominee Joe Biden will accept the nomination, although state delegates are not expected to attend in person.
The Republican National Convention’s marquee events will take place in Jacksonville, Fla., while some events are still hosted in Charlotte. Parts of the convention were moved to Florida after North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper (D) refused President Trump’s demands to lift social distancing requirements for the event.
MSNBC plans to have a “light footprint” at the conventions with remote coverage and reporters placed outdoors where social distancing is possible, Jones told the Journal.
“Our focus is covering the story,” she said. “It doesn’t mean we have to be in the middle of the story, if it’s going to put our people in danger.”
Cherie Grzech, Fox News’ vice president of politics and the Washington bureau, told the Journal most of the coverage will be remote, but some reporters will be present.
“It’s very important that people understand the responsibility that we hold as journalists to be there and to cover the event in the best way that we possibly can by keeping our personnel safe,” Grzech said
The coronavirus pandemic has altered campaign coverage during an election year as travel and crowds has been limited to prevent spread. The U.S. has confirmed more than 2.5 million cases of COVID-19, leading to 125,709 deaths, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.