CNPA urges vaccine consideration for news workers
CNPA sent this letter to Gov. Gavin Newsom and members of the state’s Vaccine Committee. Members may wish to share it with their appropriate county committees. Also see “The journalists and colleagues we’ve lost to the coronavirus” by Kristen Hare via Poynter
Dear Gov. Newsom (Committee):
The need for accurate and credible public health information has never been more acute in our state. Yet, the men and women in the news industry who gather and report this vital community information are being overlooked when it comes to Covid-19 vaccine distribution.
At a time when knowing what to do and when to do it could be the difference between life and death, the people who report and produce the news need protection and should be included in the State’s Phase 1B, Tier One vaccination protocol. These tireless workers – recognized as essential by the U.S Department of Homeland Security and our own California State Public Health Officer – are every bit as vital to public health as other prioritized essential workers.
To get the news Californians desperately need, journalists routinely put themselves in harm’s way. Every day they visit hospitals, nursing homes, public health facilities, and other Covid hot spots to report on cases, ICU capacity and deaths. Essential workers also show up at our members’ manufacturing sites to print the papers that contain lifelines of news that are delivered to households in every corner of the State.
We pleaded with your office (you and the Governor) and the Vaccine Committee to give our workers high vaccination priority, but to no avail. They are on the frontlines, first responders in every sense of the words. As Governor, you have the authority to order that news producing organizations be elevated to Phase 1B, Tier One.
So we are pleading once again. Please acknowledge the vital role journalists play and adjust the order to accord them a higher priority on the vaccination list. The lives of California residents may be on the line if our news gathering members cannot do the important work of keeping the public informed during this unprecedented health emergency.
Thank you for your consideration.
Charles Ford Champion II
President & CEO
California News Publishers Association