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Oct. 2, 2020, 9:26 a.m.
Reporting & Production

The Trump Covid news broke in the middle of the night. Here’s how news orgs handled it

“Where is a town crier when you need one?”

What were you doing in the middle of the night last night?

At 8:39 PM ET on Thursday evening, Jennifer Jacobs, the senior White House reporter for Bloomberg News, broke the news that Hope Hicks, a close aide to President Donald Trump, had tested positive for Covid-19.

White House officials “had hoped to keep the news about Ms. Hicks from becoming public, to no avail,” Annie Karnie and Maggie Haberman reported for The New York Times on Friday morning.

At 10:44 PM, Trump tweeted about Hicks’ positive test and said that he and the First Lady, Melania Trump, were awaiting their test results. Then, at 12:54 AM ET on Friday morning:

Trump is symptomatic, and was reportedly showing signs of illness as early as Wednesday. The timeline of how he could have spread it before his announcement is still unclear.

In what has been an already relentless and unprecedented year for major news stories, the news that the President of the United States had tested positive for Covid-19 after months of downplaying the severity of a pandemic that has killed 208,000 Americans, mocking people (including Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden in the presidential debate on Tuesday night) for wearing masks, and pushing unproven or dangerous cures was still shocking. The fact that the news broke in the middle of the night added an extra layer of surreality.

Here are some interesting bits and pieces on how news organizations handled it — and we want to hear your stories, too.

(Brian Stelter, we want to know: Were you wearing pants here? Update: Sweatpants.)

Laura Hazard Owen is the editor of Nieman Lab. You can reach her via email (laura_owen@harvard.edu) or Twitter DM (@laurahazardowen).
POSTED     Oct. 2, 2020, 9:26 a.m.
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