2020年3月20日 星期五

The Daily: A Dose of Comfort

Confronting this crisis but also transcending it.
Opera singer Laura Baldassari sings out her window in Milan, Italy during the nationwide lockdown.Luca Bruno/Associated Press

Inside The Daily, we called it “Project Joy and Relief.”

A week into our coverage of this pandemic, we realized that the coronavirus crisis was not just a public health emergency, it was also a terrifying new state of mind. We knew we needed to keep covering the story, day after day, as a news event. But we wondered if we had another role to play.

During our (remote) morning meeting, we began kicking around ideas for how to meet this moment but somehow transcend it, to confront the reality of what we’re all feeling while somehow uplifting us.

Producer Julia Longoria shared an essay from C.S. Lewis, “On Living in an Atomic Age,” that struck everyone on the team as pitch perfect. We don’t usually read literature on The Daily. But these are not usual times.

That got editors Wendy Dorr and Lisa Tobin thinking: What other writings were Times reporters and editors turning to in this crisis? We reached out to critic Wesley Morris, one of the smartest people we know, and magazine writer Taffy Brodesser-Akner, one of our premiere profile writers. When Wesley convinced us that reading from a cookbook, “In Pursuit of Flavor,” by Edna Lewis, would be right for the moment, and Taffy shared an excerpt from “Love in the Time of Cholera” by Gabriel García Márquez, we knew we had a show.

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But we wanted a third voice. Lisa aimed high — the executive editor of The Times, Dean Baquet. She wanted him to read the excerpt from C.S. Lewis. Despite having nonstop meetings about how to run the newsroom in the middle of a global health emergency, he said yes.

In the span of a few hours, producers and editors scrambled to record Dean, Wesley and Taffy, get the legal permissions needed to use the readings on the show, and create a brand new musical score for the episode, created by our audio engineer Dan Powell. By 8 p.m. on Friday, it was published.

On Sunday, we tried something else: an audiobook-style reading of a profile, written by Taffy, on Tom Hanks, who had just announced that he had the coronavirus.

The feedback from those first two episodes makes us think that the project is living up to the name we gave it, bringing you a small dose of joy and relief. So we’ve decided to keep releasing these episodes on Friday evenings and Sunday mornings.

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This evening, we’ll focus on the ways in which the pandemic has transformed the internet from what it seemed to have become — a place of darkness, misinformation and negativity — to what we had always hoped it would be — a source of kindness, generosity and connection.

Let us know what you think. And stay safe.

Talk to Michael on Twitter: @mikiebarb.

Like everyone, The Daily team has adapted to a new way of working this week while also trying to make sense of what is happening all over the world. These are some hard times (to say the least).

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But there have been bright moments, too: The children and pets of our team members now make cameos in conference calls, we check in with one another more often, and we share the stories and links that are getting us through self-isolation.

We wanted to share those recommendations with you, too. So we’ve compiled a Spotify playlist of our favorite podcast episodes — stories to delight and distract you from reality, if only for a little while.

On ‘The Daily’ this week

Monday: “The only way to try to limit the spread of the virus is to do further damage to the economy.” Peter Baker on why the coronavirus has disrupted global markets in unprecedented ways.

Tuesday: After three weeks, we are living in another dimension. For me, it’s difficult to think to my life before this.” A doctor in Italy, the new epicenter of the pandemic, tells us what may lie ahead for the U.S.

Wednesday: We visited Gov. Andrew Cuomo in Albany to discuss his response to the crisis in New York. “I’m going to try my damnedest to show you it’s not impossible,” Cuomo says, about building more hospital beds in 45 days.

Thursday: The city of New Rochelle is making “a herculean effort” to fight the virus, with drive-through testing centers and assistance from the National Guard. Sarah Maslin Nir investigates how it’s working.

Friday: What did it sound like as one of the busiest cities in the U.S. ground to a halt? Our producers asked workers and business owners in New York City how the coronavirus was affecting them.

That’s it for The Daily newsletter. See you next week.

Have thoughts about the show? Tell us what you think at thedaily@nytimes.com.

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