Global Journalist: Covering Two Deadly Viruses | KBIA

Global Journalist: Covering Two Deadly Viruses

Apr 22, 2020

The Aedes aegypti mosquito, a vector for the Zika virus, seen through a microscope at the Fiocruz institute in Recife, Pernambuco state, Brazil.
Credit 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.

Host: Isabella Paxton


  • Donald McNeil Jr.
  • Lynelle Phillips

Producers: Brendan Hall, Katharine Finnerty, Regan Mertz, Margo Wagner, Tom Kavanaugh, Jacob Faber, Hannah France, Caitlin King

Audio engineer: Trevor Hook