Trump alert. Citing the “life and death” circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic, visionary journalism professor Jay Rosen calls for news organizations to abandon “the normal system for covering presidents” and to pledge, among other things: “We will not cover live any speech, rally, or press conference involving the president. The risk of passing along bad information is too great” …
■ … and, when quoting Trump’s falsehoods, to serve them up in a “truth sandwich.”
■ Bloomberg: “Trump has repeatedly overstated his government’s accomplishments”—including “a hospital ship that can’t yet sail, a drug that’s not approved for coronavirus, a windfall of masks that’s not due until next year.”
■ The Atlantic: Where are the masks?
■ A New York Times editorial blasts the Trump administration for “The Epic Failure of Coronavirus Testing in America.”
■ Also in the Times: “The Trump administration is using the coronavirus to seek policies that the president wanted before the pandemic.”
■ A photo shows someone crossed out the word corona in Trump’s briefing notes yesterday, replacing it with Chinese …
■ … a coinage he’s defending despite warnings it’s dangerous.
■ Presidential historian Jon Meacham: “We can’t let coronavirus postpone elections.”
Senatorial slime. Just before the stock market tanked and shortly after he assured the public the government was coronavirus-ready, the Republican chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee dumped a significant percentage of his stocks. (Update, 10:03 a.m.: He's asking for an ethics investigation into his actions.) (Cartoon: Keith J. Taylor.)
■ Members of Congress are forbidden from using non-public information they get through official channels to profit personally off the stock market.
Out of work? A well-hidden Illinois Department of Employee Security website answers frequently asked questions about COVID-19 and unemployment benefits.
■ How to qualify for paid leave under the newly enacted federal coronavirus emergency relief law.
■ Forbes surveys jobs the pandemic will add—and subtract.
■ Illinois Department of Human Services offices are closed.
■ Next week’s Illinois legislative session has been canceled.
■ Veteran home-worker and Sun-Times critic Richard Roeper shares tips for how to do that.
Give us shelter. Oak Park is the first Illinois community
■ All of California is now under similar restrictions.
■ Chicago schools are closed until at least April 20.
■ The National Spelling Bee is off.
■ A Sun-Times editorial: Cut the jail population—fast.
■ Some states that have been slower to act are having what Bloomberg calls an “uh-oh moment.”
■ Chicago magazine revisits how Chicago dealt with the 1918 Spanish flu—including a ban on public dancing.
■ A New York Times graphic is tracking every COVID-19 case in the U.S. (Smapshot from the Times at 8:03 a.m. today).
Pregnancy, pandemic-style. ProPublica offers guidance for the nearly a million U.S. women set to give birth to nearly a million babies in the next three months: Be ready to “throw your best-laid-plans out the window.”
■ Counsel from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: “We do not know at this time what if any risk is posed to infants of a pregnant woman who has COVID-19.”
■ Considering home delivery? One expert tells Vox half of such births require emergency transport to a hospital anyway, and “if the medical system is overwhelmed, this will be among the worst things to need.”
■ A New York Times opinion editor: “I Did Not Plan to Be Pregnant in a Pandemic.”
■ Viewership for kids TV is on the upswing.
$10 toilet paper rolls. The AP surveys price gouging across the country.
■ A growing number of Chicago-area grocery stores are offering exclusive early shopping hours for the elderly and others most vulnerable to COVID-19.
■ Amid record sales, stressed grocery store workers report they’re “crying and having panic attacks.”
■ Walmart is hiring 150,000.
■ The BBC serves up eight charts showing how the coronavirus has shaken the world’s economies.
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Good News Dept.
■ You don’t have to file your income taxes until July 15.
■ Mayor Lightfoot is launching a $100 million loan fund for struggling businesses.
■ BuzzFeed News reports on the creative ways people are digging up and distributing overlooked supplies that have become invaluable in the war on COVID-19.
■ Chicago schools have given families half a million free meals over three days.
■ New Yorkers are making music from their balconies.
■ Conan O’Brien is reviving his show, with episodes shot on an iPhone: “The quality of my work will not go down because technically that’s not possible.”
■ LitHub has rewritten the first lines of 10 classic novels for the age of social distancing.
■ Mary Schmich celebrates the upside of going for a walk.
■ Not leaving the house to pick up newspapers like the Chicago Reader? The latest issue, with an iconic cover, is available online, free.
■ The Tribune’s Michael Phillips: How you can help Chicago’s independent movie theaters.
Less rock, more talk. A Chicago rock station has stepped up its news coverage.
■ Radio hosts from across the nation share what it’s like to be on the air at this time of crisis.
■ The (non-news) TV biz is in deep doo-doo.
■ A former business publishing CEO is upping his stake in Tribune Publishing—parent of the Chicago Tribune.
Journalism class, anyone? Have kids at home in need of some schooling? Chicago Public Square will try something new this afternoon: A live online journalism class at 2 p.m. Central time. Square founder (ahem) Charlie Meyerson—an adjunct Roosevelt University journalism prof who’s also taught at Northwestern and Columbia College—will take questions from kids of all ages about the news business via a Google Hangouts video chat. Want in? By noon Central, send students’ names, school grade, email address and at least one question to Lesson@ChicagoPublicSquare.com and you’ll get a link to click just before the session begins. We’ll limit this class to 25 participants, but if demand exceeds that, more to come.
Thanks to reader Mike Braden for housekeeping suggestions that have made this post better.