To drastically understate the situation, COVID-19 will change things for the rest of the year. As a business reporter, you should start planning ahead for the stories that will not materialize for a few months.
Here are some stories you can start thinking about now, so you’re prepared to cover them as the novel coronavirus continues to reshape our world.
The Small Business Administration, or SBA, had a forerunner created in the years just after the Great Depression, though it was officially dubbed the Small Business Administration in 1953. Just as it did in the past, this government office will play a big role in revitalizing the economy.
Understanding how this administration usually operates will help you comprehend and contextualize the new loans they are offering. This web page has all the SBA information about the new “Economic Injury Disaster” loans it is offering.
As these loans go out to small businesses in your area, research the SBA’s usual loan procedure to better see how new loans impact your community.
As of this writing, 6.6 million people filed for unemployment benefits last week. This number is near-unfathomably larger than any other recorded unemployment claim.
No one knows exactly how this is going to play out during the rest of 2020, but reporters can start doing research now to understand how things might develop.
Read about historical accounts of economic depressions, how other countries have dealt with them or talk to labor economists in your area to get an idea of what happens when this many people are out of work. Your city is unique; Are certain industries in your area hit harder than in other places in the country?
This virus and the resulting illness has and will continue to kill many Americans. In its own way, the economic disaster will be painful and tragic for the rest of the year. Start thinking about how to cover this story now, because it is definitely coming.
Read the CARES Act
“The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act” – also know as the CARES Act – is a historic piece of legislation that you’ve surely already heard much about.
This bill doles out over $2 trillion to various agencies, departments and individuals. While it’s probably not the most exciting thing you’ll read this year, familiarizing yourself with this bill will give you a leg up as it shapes the country.
We also just published the first post of a two-part series on the CARES Act, which you can find here.
Other Story Ideas
Does your state legislature mandate a balanced budget? Many states do. How will your state level government’s budget be impacted by the public health crisis?
Lastly, the Census is being conducted this year. What new challenges exist in your area for completing the count? How have local representatives adapted to the situation? What additional hurdles do they foresee?