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New York Times Chronicling COVID-19


In April 2020, under the leadership of the School’s Investigative Reporting Program, and multiple Pulitzer winners David Barstow and Geeta Anand, more than 80 students and nearly 20 journalism instructors and staff organized into small reporting teams to cover how the novel coronavirus is impacting each of California’s 58 counties. The teams are producing stories that will run in either the main edition of The Times or in its five-day-a-week newsletter, California Today, which reaches several hundred thousand readers. Students collaborate with The Times in other ways, such as gathering data about the outbreak, taking photographs or assisting correspondents from The Times.

With sincere appreciation for the generous support of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the Yellow Chair Foundation and George Zimmer which made this innovative and impactful project possible, student-generated content is simultaneously being published in top media outlets, including The Atlantic, NPR, the Los Angeles Times, National Geographic, Cal Matters, FRONTLINE, Rolling Stone and Aristegui Noticias in Mexico.

Doulas hope to regain momentum as Covid restrictions ease

Sarah Hoenicke Flores ('19) reports on how Covid restrictions have affected doula care. Photos by Stephanie Penn ('21).

A successful lifeline for Natomas students is feeling the strain

Erin Chessin ('21) and Brett Marsh ('21) report on how the pandemic is putting enormous strain on one school district's mental health program.

COVID changed Chez Panisse, but Alice Waters is still taking care of local farmers

Amalya Dubrovsky ('21) reports how COVID impacted Chez Panisse and founder Alice Waters rallied to take care of local farmers.

Oakland’s Chinatown business owners struggle to weather the pandemic

Tamera Moore and Qinghui Kong ('22) report on the many ways small businesses in Oakland’s Chinatown are hurting.

Epizootic: How Infectious Disease Can Move From Wildlife to Humans — and Back to Wildlife

Daniel Roman (‘21) and Prof. Elena Conis explain how Infectious disease can spread from wildlife to humans. Plague’s story in the U.S., they write, may teach us something about COVID.

Cookies Help Bridge Barriers in Oakland

Shuang Li reports on how the pandemic is prompting new efforts to break down barriers that have long divided Asian and Black residents of Oakland. Photo: Meiying Wu.

Strange Bacteria Are Attacking California’s Trout Supply

Will McCarthy reports on California's effort to contain a pandemic within a pandemic -- a bacterial outbreak that's killed tens of thousands of trout.

An Update on Project Roomkey in Tuolumne County

Tessa Paoli and Nina Sparling report on a pandemic housing program that pulled the rug out under some tenants.

Students, teachers working through COVID-19 challenges in Cuyama Valley as school commences

Laurine Lassalle, Wyatt Kroopf and Kristen Hwang report on a sparsely populated farming area whose students could until only recently get reliable internet access.

An Interview With the Health Officer for Santa Cruz

Robin Estrin interviews Dr. Gail Newel of Santa Cruz about going from one of the safest coastal counties in the state to the site of a recent surge.

They’re children at risk of abuse, and their caseworkers are stuck home

Garrett Therolf, Daniel Lempres, Aksaule Alzhan, Laurence Du Sault, Ricky Rodas & Alyson Stamos report investigations into abuse or neglect delayed or sharply curtailed.

When your name appears on 1A of The New York Times for the very first time…

Congratulations to NABJ UC Berkeley Chapter's Daniel Lempres & team.

COVID’s Hidden Toll

Faculty and student-led investigation into COVID-19’s devastating impact on agricultural workers.

How planning and early action helped San Francisco’s Chinatown control coronavirus

Meiying Wu and Alyson Stamos' inside look at how Chinatown evaded the coronavirus.

In Stockton, a Powerful Program to Prevent Violence

Betty Márquez Rosales reports how gun violence, police brutality & unemployment affects Blacks and Latinos in Stockton and the devoted 'interrupter' working to keep them safe.

H.I.V. Survivors Confront Painful Memories and New Risks in Pandemic

Nick Roberts reports how long-term H.I.V. survivors with compromised immune systems are reliving painful AIDS crisis memories.

Portraits of Essential California Workers

Aashna Malpani, Deena Sabry, and Stephanie Penn highlight the essential workers—from bus drivers to mental health nurses—keeping the Bay Area afloat.

How Black Lives Matter Reached Every Corner of America

Our NYT Data Desk interns Yuri Avila, Barbara Harvey and Alex Matthews contribute reporting and research.

As Bay Area restaurant business drops, local farms send produce to struggling families

Natalia Gurevich reports on a coalition of local farms sending produce to struggling families absent sales to farm-to-table restaurants and farmers' markets.

How the Pandemic Is Making It Tougher to Study Whales

Michaela Vatcheva reports how scientists were pulling out the stops to solve the mystery of gray whales dying at unusually high rates. Then COVID19 hit.

An Asian-American Author Talks About Racism in the Pandemic

Thess Mostoles talks to Kelly Yang about surging xenophobia against Asian-Americans.

Saving Heroes

Aashna Malpani & Natalia Gurevich's story on mental health trauma faced by first responders gets front cover honor.

Distance learning for some kids at SF elementary school came with an extra challenge: No internet connection

Miki Katoni & Nina Sparling examine why some schoolchildren—despite living in tech-savvy, wealthy SF—don't have internet access.

In the Midst of the Coronavirus, CA Weighs Diesel Regulations

Julia Kane reports on sweeping requests for regulatory relief.

How Paradise High’s Class of 2020 Got Its Graduation

Anne Daugherty reports how students and parents won an exception to Gov. Newsom’s shelter-in-place order.

Special challenges of special education students under quarantine

Hannah Ricker reports how the sudden shift to remote learning has pushed Sonoma County’s 40 school districts into unchartered territory.

Community-Led Effort Brings Free COVID-19 Testing to SF’s Bayview, Visitacion Valley

Nina Sparling reports on effort to bring free testing to Bayview-Hunters Point & Visitacion Valley neighborhoods.

How Has Covid-19 Impacted Homeless Advocates and Service Providers?

Daniel Lempres reports how COVID-19 highlights the extent to which the unhoused rely on an informal safety net to survive.

U.S. deaths near 100,000, an incalculable loss

Barbara Harvey, Alex Matthews & Yuriria Ávila part of team that creates historic 1A without images to convey the vastness and variety of lives lost.

Coronavirus could force private practices to close or sell — raising costs

Kristen Hwang reports that faced with empty clinics and a cash crunch, independent physicians are worried about closing their doors or selling their private practices.

Why Researchers Hope to Test High-Risk Groups in California

Max Brimelow, Julie Chang, Pedro Cota, Alex Matthews & Kristen Hwang break down the challenges and aspirations of COVID-19 testing in Calif.

Your daily commute won’t ever be the same

Photograph by James Tensuan highlighting how Coronavirus will upend—but perhaps make healthier—the ways we use trains, buses, and bike lanes in our post-pandemic future.

How Mail-In Voting Will Work for Sutter County

Ashlea Brown reports how rural Sutter County will balance mail-in and in-person voting to protect the safety of voters and older poll workers in November.

In Murphys, an Iconic Gold Rush Hotel Lies Silent for the First Time in 164 Years

Will McCarthy reports on the shuttering of Calaveras' Murphys Historic Hotel.

How California’s Oldest Weekly Newspaper Covers COVID-19

Katie Bernstein reports on The Mountain Messenger, CA's oldest newspaper, saved this year and now bringing COVID-19 news to remote, rural Downieville.

Testing failures have plagued the response to Covid-19. How did we get here?

Miki Katoni, Molly Forster and Max Brimelow chronicle the hurdles that tripped up the rollout of testing.

Disabled Worker in Yosemite Says He’s ‘Going Broke Fast’

Ellie Lightfoot reports that when Yosemite closed it was hard on all employees, but especially for a worker with cerebral palsy.

California’s Central Valley Pickers During COVID-19 Shutdown

Wesaam al-Badry drove 1,500+ miles to photograph the faces behind the fresh fruits and vegetables America demands.

Ali DeFazio

Story by Brian Wollitz and Ali DeFazio runs on front page of The New York Times

Ali DeFazio and Brian Wollitz's report on the lone school still operating in California makes the front page of The New York Times.

Reporting by Katey Rusch makes front page of The New York Times

Investigative reporter Katey Rusch was on the reporting team that broke the startling discovery that COVID-19 was responsible for a Feb. 6 death in CA that rewrote the timeline of the virus’s early spread in U.S.

The Lottery Is the Main Attraction at This Alpine County Market

Wyatt Kroopf reports on COVID concerns in remote Alpine County over a cafe that draws older, retired Nevadans for one main thing: lottery tickets.

Casey Smith holding newsletter

Story by Casey Smith and Katey Rusch makes front page of The New York Times

Casey Smith holding the May 12, 2020 front page of The New York Times featuring her & Katey Rusch's story on how Santa Clara District Attorneys field thousands of complaints re stay-at-home violations.

Another Covid-19 Loss? The Jumping Frog Jubilee

Will McCarthy reports there will be no frog-jumping competition in Calaveras this year. It started 92 years ago to honor a Mark Twain story and the town’s gold-rush legacy.

‘My Mom Is Beyond a Superwoman’: Mother’s Day While Locked Up

KQED interviews Robin Estrin ('21) about her reporting on a prisoner with respiratory disease serving a life sentence spending Mother's Day away from his elderly mom and the COVID fears they have for each other.

How Do You Enforce a Law That Tramples the Land of the Free?

Katey Rusch and Casey Smith report how Santa Clara District Attorneys weigh safety, freedom & the law as they field thousands of complaints about stay-at-home violations.

Without Restaurant Sales, Local Farms Face Tough Decisions

Nina Sparling reports how farms have been forced to find new sales outlets overnight or leave perishable crops to rot.

COVID-LA Photo Series

Clara Mokri captures images throughout Los Angeles during the shelter-in-place order.

In-Home Healthcare Workers Lack PPE

Julie Chang reports on in-home healthcare workers and the challenges getting the PPE they need.

See Which States Are Reopening and Which Are Still Shut Down

Yuri Avila, Barbara Harvey, Alex Leeds Matthews and Brian Perlman contribute data visualization to New York Times story.

Will Smoke From Controlled Burns Hurt Covid-19 Patients?

Will McCarthy reports on California's calculated risks ahead of wildfire season.

California's Fallen

Remembering mother and daughter Carolina Tovar and Leticia Ramirez

Ashley Njoroge highlights the lives of mother and daughter Carolina Tovar and Leticia Ramirez.

Wanda DeSelle

Amy Mostafa profiles a medical practice office manager in Madera remembered for the sparkle in her eye and laugh.

Mark D. Neal

Brian Perlman honors the life of a veteran Shasta County teacher and father of three.

Alby Kass

Brett Simpson's remembrance of Yiddish folk singer and theater performer Alby Kass.

David Werksman

Nick Roberts' remembrance of David Werksman who worked on the bomb squad at the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department.

Ken Machado

Janice Hui honors the life of “Cowboy Kenny,” a 60-year-old former rodeo competitor.

Scott Blanks

Yinuo Shi's remembrance of 34 year old dental assistant Scott Blanks.

Rosary Celaya Castro-Olega

Annette Choi's remembrance of Rosary Celaya Castro-Olega who worked as a registered nurse for 37 yrs and returned to help when the pandemic hit.

Marylou Armer

Hannah Ricker's remembrance of Santa Rosa Police detective known for meticulous investigations.