Kathy Kiely | KBIA

Kathy Kiely

Reporter recording under a blanket
Courtesy Aqil Hamzah

Students in a Missouri School of Journalism multimedia class taught by Professors Kat Lucchesi and Major King started their spring semester thinking they were going to do a series of podcasts about a faraway pandemic.

Then it hit home, scattering the team across the country — and, in one case, beyond — and depriving them of access to the equipment they'd normally use to create their programs.

While interviewing professional journalists about how they keep their cool in the face of crisis, the reporters and producers of this story got a test of their own resilience. 


A crowd carrying a white cross bearing the legend "Colectiv."
Robert Ghement / European Pressphoto Agency

Tol-on-tan! Tol-on-tan!

More satisfying, perhaps, than a Pulitzer Prize was the tribute paid to Catalin Tolontan by a crowd of people chanting his name during a street protest. They were celebrating the Romanian journalist's  role in exposing the oligarchs whose greed killed dozens of people.

It's a scene from one of this year's True/False documentaries about a remarkable act of journalism and civic courage.

In this week's edition of Global Journalist, we meet the movie director and his subject and talk to several Missouri School of Journalism professors about the function and future of investigative journalism.  


Workers in hazmat gear work at a gravesite
Jerome Delay / AP

Two journalists who covered Ebola when victims of an outbreak in Africa came to the United States for treatment six years ago discuss how that experience compares to today's COVID-19 pandemic.

Ebola, which continues to flare in Africa, causes fever and internal bleeding and kills half the people who contract it, according to the World Health Organization.


Makeshift cubicle rooms
Desmond Foo / The Straits Times via EPA

For the second time in two decades, Singapore is grappling with a coronavirus.

One of the hotspots of the SARS outbreak in the early 2000s, the country is putting the lessons it learned then to work as it faces COVID-19, the potentially deadly infection caused by another coronavirus.

Missouri School of Journalism student Aqil Hamzah, quarantined in his hometown, interviewed two veteran newspaper editors about how coverage of the two outbreaks compares. 


Silhouette of a mosquito seen through a microscope
Felipe Dana / AP

At first, it just seemed like an odd story to pursue during a quiet post-Christmas week in the newsroom in 2015. But New York Times reporter Donald G. McNeil Jr.'s interest in what would become the Zika epidemic has made him something of  an expert on viral outbreaks.

After his work on Zika, the virus that ravaged newborns in the tropics, McNeil now finds himself covering the even more deadly coronavirus that is causing COVID-19. In this episode, he gives a reporter's view of the ethics of covering a pandemic while a public health official, the University of Missouri's Lynelle Phillips, offers a different perspective.


Sanitizing gels, wipes, goggles and face masks in passenger car seat.
Carlos Gonzalez / San Francisco Chronicle

Journalists are first responders too.

While many reporters and editors are working from home these days, the women and men who bring you the images of a society in lockdown don't have that luxury.

In a March 20 webinar sponsored by the Reynolds Journalism Institute, three West Coast photojournalists discussed the challenges they are facing and the new precautions they are taking while bringing you the news.

We're airing highlights of that conversation on this edition of Global Journalist.


Long lines of job seekers queuing around booths
Vincent Yu / AP

A new coronavirus emerging out of Asia, striking panic with the suddenness of its onset, the ease of its spread and the virulence of its impact.

Sound familiar?

In 2003, the coronavirus caused SARS, sudden acute respiratory syndrome. This from-the-vault episode of Global Journalist features a conversation with reporters who back then were on the ground at SARS infection hotspots: Beijing, Singapore, Hong Kong and Toronto.

We're re-airing the program now because we think it raises some interesting questions: What stopped the SARS epidemic? And are there lessons we should have learned then that might have spared us some of the pain we're experiencing now? 


Reporters wearing medical masks raise hands to seek recognition at a Beijing press conference.
Wu Hong / European Pressphoto Agency/EFE

During the coronavirus outbreak, Global Journalist is talking to some of the workers on the frontlines. They don't always get the recognition of doctors and nurses, but journalists also are risking — and in some cases — giving their lives to get information to the public.

In this first in a series of podcasts. Missouri School of Journalism students interview a Voice of America reporter how he navigated China's closed society to report on the outbreak.


World Economic Forum CC 2.0

Two women journalists who launched online start-up publications in their home countries face eerily similar challenges -- not from the business climate but from the political climate.

Global Journalist talks with Supriya Sharma and Maria Ressa about the way the government and business leaders under investigation by their publications are using social media to silence and discredit journalists.


Jim Lehrer laughs at a luncheon table.
Joel Chan/Missourian

Jim Lehrer, pioneering PBS NewsHour anchor and proud Missouri School of Journalism alum, died Thursday at 85. He never lost his sense of humor, decency or the news.

On his last visit to campus, for his October induction into the MU Hall of Fame, he sat down in the studios of the Reynolds Journalism Institute to talk about his storied career, about the future of journalism for Global Journalist.

A full transcript of the conversation with Kathy Kiely, Lee Hills Chair in Free Press Studies, follows: