From marriage survival kits to Instagram cocktails, UK media responds to COVID-19

By Hannah Ohm Thomas

Newsworks

London, United Kingdom

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Across the globe, COVID-19 is forcing people to adapt to a new way of living. As the situation evolves, news readership is up as people turn to trusted news sources to stay informed.

The numbers speak for themselves. According to Edelman’s Coronavirus Trust Barometer, the “most relied-on source of information is mainstream news organisations,” nearly twice as much as the World Health Organisation.

As people come to grips with the new normal, publishers are adapting their channels, content, and formats to deliver news in a way that helps audiences navigate the world around them.

Here are a few examples from the United Kingdom.

The Daily Telegraph is leaning on a WhatsApp briefing to deliver news.
The Daily Telegraph is leaning on a WhatsApp briefing to deliver news.

The Daily Telegraph

Readers like me who are eager to start their day equipped with the latest coronavirus updates from home and abroad can listen to the news brand’s WhatsApp briefing. Others can get their news from daily coronavirus podcasts, the Global Health newsletter, Q&A sessions, and articles written by experts from all walks of life.

To help people get by under new government restrictions, You Are Not Alone was launched to share “stories of support, community spirit, optimism, and social connectivity.”

To support those experiencing financial difficulties during the outbreak, The Telegraph launched a coronavirus charity appeal.

The Daily Mirror reaches its audiences through TikTok, among other platforms.
The Daily Mirror reaches its audiences through TikTok, among other platforms.

Daily Mirror

A live blog helps readers stay up-to-date with the latest news, and a daily newsletter sends headlines straight to individuals’ inboxes. In addition, video explainers educate people on the symptoms, and, for younger readers, its TikTok profile puts content into bite-sized video format.

In need of something lighter? Its print edition includes quizzes and, to keep spirits up, features stories such as “Postman does deliveries in fancy dress to ‘lift spirits’ of people in lockdown.”

In support of our National Health Service (NHS), Daily Mirror publisher Reach plc is encouraging people across the nation to show their love and support to NHS workers.

The Evening Standard kept people entertained with a live-streamed DJ set on Friday night.
The Evening Standard kept people entertained with a live-streamed DJ set on Friday night.

Evening Standard

In a letter to readers at the start of the lockdown, the newspaper ensured them that it will be there “every step of the way” and it kept its promise. The commuter newspaper, which many used to pick up on their journey home, is now being delivered to addresses in central London.

Online and via a coronavirus section of its Web site, readers can access a live blog feed and read about the impact the virus is having on tech, business, TV, food, and much more. And to help people cope with a smaller social diary, its magazine ES hosted an Instagram live Friday Night In with a DJ set and cocktail-making workshop.

Like many publications, The Times is delivering a daily newsletter focused on COVID-19.
Like many publications, The Times is delivering a daily newsletter focused on COVID-19.

The Times

Readers can sign up to daily coronavirus newsletters or tune into The Times’ Stories of our times podcast, which already made it to number one on the Apple podcast charts.

In addition to explainers and data visualisations of the spread in the United Kingdom, the news brand is going above and beyond to help people get through the crisis with helpful tips and tricks. These include a marriage survival guide, a Corona College for parents home-schooling their children, and diet and exercise plans in newspaper supplements.

Commercially, brands from all industries including finance, retail, and energy are coming together — in some cases, with their competitors — to support the nation through emotive ads in our newspapers. The UK’s government also launched a campaign encouraging people to stay home.

About Hannah Ohm Thomas

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