By Kasey Brammell
A project documenting healthcare workers who died during the COVID-19 pandemic was awarded the Batten Medal for Coverage of the Coronavirus Pandemic from the News Leaders Association.
The project, titled “Lost on the Frontline,” was created by the Guardian and Kaiser Health News to collect the obituaries of more than 3,600 healthcare workers who died while fighting against the virus. Cronkite News reporters were invited to join the national effort and contributed 10 profiles.
“Cronkite News reporters approached this project with incredible care to give the world an unforgettable snapshot of the bravery and dedication of health care workers who died fighting COVID-19,” said Shaya Tayefe Mohajer, Los Angeles Bureau Chief for Cronkite News.
Tayefe Mohajer applauded the reporters for the level of respect they showed throughout the project, both as they were speaking with the grieving families and the times that families declined to speak about their lost loved one.
“Lost on the Frontline” also shared the stories of the hospital staff who died, not just the doctors and nurses. “Hospitals are complex places that were hard hit by this pandemic, and it was important to tell the stories of staff who are too often unseen though crucial to health care,” Tayefe Mohajer said.
All of the profiles written can be found on the Guardian’s website and viewed by occupation, race and ethnicity, and state.
The Batten Medal is one of the highest honors awarded by the NLA, recognizing coverage of the pandemic that reflects the previously unthinkable challenges that newsrooms had to overcome in the face of this once-in-a-generation crisis, named in memory of James K. Batten, a reporter, editor and ultimately Knight Ridder’s chief executive officer.
Cronkite students who contributed to this report include Anthony Wallace, Katherine Sypher, Jonmaesha Beltran, Lauren Serrato, Kyla Pearce, Hannah Foote, Caitlynn McDaniel and Haley Lorenzen.