News & Highlights

From Nardi Media

ON THE FRONTLINE: What’s It Like Reporting On The COVID-19 Crisis? Interview with Business Insider’s Anna Miller

Whether you’re getting the latest news by sitting in front of the TV or scrolling through your phone, you can’t escape the nearly endless COVID-19 coverage from journalists and reporters breaking down the latest developments from around the globe.  Rather than attempting to absorb the ever-changing volume of daily coverage, I recently started looking at it in a different way - through the eyes of the reporters. I began to wonder, what's it like to report on the Coronavirus crisis day in and day out?  My curiosity led me to launch a new series, “On The Frontline.” Within each episode, I’ll interview journalists who’ve been dedicating every waking hour to reporting on this unprecedented pandemic.  

I decided to kick off this series by chatting with Business Insider’s Senior Health Reporter, Anna Miller.

While Americans are stuck at home questioning how the Coronavirus will continue to affect every facet of their present day and future lives, Anna is providing the answers. Now more than ever, she realizes her job is essential, and while it keeps her extremely busy, it also makes her incredibly happy to serve the American people in these times of great uncertainty.

Not only has Anna’s coverage topics changed drastically from general health and reproduction to daily breaking news, but her day to day has changed as well. She now spends her time balancing breaking news, covering insightful features/profiles, and WHO briefings. Due to the accelerated pace in which she is working, Anna says there is so much more "housekeeping" work of simply responding to emails, scheduling interviews, posting stories on social media. Unlike slower news days/season, responding to or reading an email feels critically important, she says. 

What’s more, all the stories she wrote a month ago up until yesterday need updating as new research and data comes out, which is all the time.

Q: How has your role as a reporter changed since the COVID-19 outbreak?

A: I’m used to covering all kinds of topics, but in the past three weeks it has only been Coronavirus coverage. There are 50 reporters and editors at Business Insider dedicated just to covering the virus. It has been inspiring to see the entire newsroom come together and report on this virus as a team. In addition to balancing breaking news, insightful features and profiles, and WHO briefings, I’m finding that there’s SO MUCH more “housekeeping” work than usual, such as responding to emails, scheduling interviews, and posting stories to social media. Of course, this has always been a part of the job, but the pace, like everything else, is extremely accelerated these days. 

Q: What does a “day in the life” look like for you? 

A: First thing in the morning, I check our team spreadsheet to see which topics need coverage, and then I report on one or two topics each day on average. I prefer analytical pieces and pieces about different experiences people are going through right now, from patients, to healthcare professionals, etc. On top of covering new stories, I have to ensure that all the stories I had written in the last month get updated as new research and data is released, which is every day! I could have a full-time job simply keeping my stories up to date.

Q: Which stories are you finding readers are most engaged with?

A: Personal stories, particularly stories from those living in other countries, because they serve to show people what America’s future could look like due to the virus. For example, one of the top stories was from a mother in Italy warning Americans about the things she wished she would’ve done before the virus took hold of their country. Another popular story was from an American woman who shares her experiences of living in Shanghai amid the virus. Readers are interested in stories like these because they foreshadow what we could potentially see happen in the U.S.

Q: What are experts telling you (the reporters) on the frontlines as far as what we can expect in the future?

A: We’re hearing that it’s going to get worse before it gets better. It’s going to be a couple of months at least before we see the light, but it varies state by state. We’ve also been told that we shouldn’t expect life to go back to normal right away, but rather a slow rise back to normalcy. It could be a year. 

Q: What types of stories are you working on right now and what types of experts are you in need of? 

A: Personal anecdotes. That’s how the audience really connects. For example, a story I’m working on right now covers women and couples postponing their fertility treatments. Procedures like this are considered “elective” right now, which has been a controversial topic.

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Tracy Mccubbin

AUTHOR, MAKING SPACE, CLUTTER FREE

"The biggest piece of advice a first-time author is given is to “hire your own publicist,” but what they don’t tell you is to “hire your own Ashley.”  Looking back, I don’t know how I could have released my book without Ashley & her team.  We started working together before the book was published.  First local TV and small blogs and as I got more seasoned and the book got closer to coming, she booked me appearances on bigger and bigger outlets. 

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Susan Peirce Thompson, Ph.D.

New York Times Best Selling Author of Bright Line Eating: The Science of Living Happy, Thin, and Free

"The biggest piece of advice a first-time author is given is to “hire your own publicist,” but what they don’t tell you is to “hire your own Ashley.”  Looking back, I don’t know how I could have released my book without Ashley & her team.  We started working together before the book was published.  First local TV and small blogs and as I got more seasoned and the book got closer to coming, she booked me appearances on bigger and bigger outlets. 

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Susan McGinnis

Correspondent, CBS Newspath

“I am so pleased that Ashley is embarking on this new venture. For many years she has shined as an outstanding booker and producer at CBS News and at start-ups including Clean Skies News.  She was my first hire at Clean Skies, and was the shining star among the pack. She has always had  tremendous dedication to her work, and an untiring ability to accomplish whatever faces her, letting no obstacle stand in the way of an outstanding product.  She consistently goes above and beyond expectations, and never takes “no” as an answer, and never settles for less than outstanding. I would hire Ashley again. And again. And again.”

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Jennifer Oko

Partner, Mad Squid Media

“Ashley and I have worked together is a few different capacities, including CBS News, energyNOW!. I cannot say enough good things about her. Ashley is smart, thorough, quick, creative, and incredibly hard working. Most importantly, to be a successful media liaison and guest booker, relationships are everything. Ashley is a genuinely lovely person, and she wins the respect and trust of everyone she works with. She is the first person I call whenever I need a guest booker or segment producer.”

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Margaret Ryan

Energy Journalist & Analyst

“Ashley Bernardi is a dynamic professional who consistently produces excellent results.  In my three years working with Ashley as the head booker at Clean Skies News/EnergyNOW!, I never saw her fail to complete a job she had been assigned – and complete it admirably. Ashley is creative, energetic and goal-oriented, a true team player who works congenially with other professionals but can also be relied on to execute an assignment on her own. Ashley is the person I wanted on my team when I faced a challenging assignment!”

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Hardy Spire

Senior Producer, CNN’s Reliable Sources. Former General Manager at CleanSkies News and Senior Producer at CBS News.

“Ashley Bernardi has every rare quality in a TV producer — aggressiveness, insight, creativity, a strong work ethic, and pure charm.  She has all this plus she’s a kind and positive person.  And she has great contacts!”

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Silvio Marcacci

Principal, Marcacci Communications

“Ashley is hands down the best media trainer I’ve ever worked with, and she uses her considerable producing experience to make clients feel at ease and ready to learn. In addition, her ability to book clients on television and radio interviews is quite impressive – be ready for hours of interviews if you’re working with her!”

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Mary Jordan

Washington Post National Correspondent and Founding Editor of Washington Post Live

“There is nothing Ashley Bernardi cannot do when it comes to media.  She books top people for TV shows and national conferences and knows the business inside out. I worked closely with Ashley at the Washington Post  and she is not only savvy, but great to be around. She is the always cheerful, smart voice on the other end of the phone who persuades busy people to drop everything they are doing and do what Ashley tells them.”

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Scott Behson, PhD

best-selling author of The Working Dad’s Survival Guide: How to Succeed at Work and at Home

“I was a relatively unknown first-time author and Ashley was fantastic in getting my name out there, and ultimately booking me on national TV and radio, as well as major podcasts. She also provided top-notch media training and was always a great listener and advisor. Finally, she was on top of everything and we communicated constantly. I couldn’t have been happier about her efforts on behalf of my book launch!”

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Ron Friedman, Ph.D

author of The Best Place to Work: The Art and Science of Creating an Extraordinary Workplace

“Ashley Bernardi is extraordinary at her job in every way. Smart, strategic and relentlessly energetic, Ashley is someone I’d want on my team in any public relations campaign.”