Secret labs. Magic cures. Government plots. Despite efforts by social media companies to stop it, false information about the coronavirus is proliferating around the world.
Austin Mayor Steve Adler announced a local disaster as a precaution because of the threat of the coronavirus, effectively cancelling the annual event. The festival drew 73,716 attendees last year, 19,166 of whom came from outside the U.S. Combined with SXSW’s gaming expo and education conference, the 2019 event drew 417,400 attendees, organizers said. An economic impact report found it contributed $355.9 million to the local economy.
The audio tech firm based in Pompton Plains, N.J., called the move a “difficult decision … made as a precaution to keep everyone involved as safe and healthy as possible.”
Tegna is adopting a “Facts Not Fear” approach to its coronavirus coverage, vetting information with redoubled fact checking efforts and tempering the tone and graphics in its reporting to stay soberly in the informative lane. “The most important thing we can do right now as journalists is not create panic, not create unnecessary stress and worry,” says News VP Ellen Crooke.
NAB said it is monitoring the situation in Las Vegas on the news of the first cases of coronavirus in Nevada. It said the show is still a “go” for April 18-22, but in light of the news out of Nevada, it has contacted public health officials there, as well as the Las Vegas Convention Center and its other show partners, to “assess the situation” and learn what their increased protocols are to protect the health and safety of attendees.
Coronavirus concerns have seen Informa, organizer of Broadcast Asia, postpone the 2020 edition to Sept. 29-Oct. 1. The event was originally scheduled for June 9-11 at Marina Bay Sands, Singapore.
That’s because many travelers who may have been exposed to the virus are being quarantined at two locations in Omaha. “It’s not often that you have a midsize television market playing an important part in covering a global story,” said John Livingston, KETV’s creative services director.
The tech firm says it’s planning a virtual presence in partnership with the show’s organizers in light of coronavirus concerns.
Scientists aren’t the only ones hoping to put the coronavirus under a microscope. Various TV news outlets are also trying to pin down the outbreak and, what’s more, make it more understandable to the average person. CNN, NBC News, ABC News and CBS News are among those shaking up regular formats and seeking new ways to inform the public about the contagion, which has spread from China to Europe and the U.S.
FCC Chairman Ajit Pai has not made a decision yet on his planned appearance next month at the National Association of Broadcasters’s NAB Show, according to a source. Pai is still slated for a Q&A with NAB President Gordon Smith at the show, which was still on as of Thursday evening, according to NAB’s coronavirus update page.
Fox Corp.’s broadcast network Fox Entertainment will no longer be hosting program development presentations at the NAB Show (April 18-22) in a precautionary effort to keep employees, client and agency partners safe from the coronavirus. Deadline’s Nellie Andreeva says the company also canceled an affiliate board dinner that was to take place during the show.
The move is a reaction to the spread of the coronavirus. The event, planned for March 17-19 in Washington, will be rescheduled at a later date.
The FCC says it will be limiting access to the FCC as a preventative measure in the face of the coronavirus (COVID-19), and will be suspending FCC participation in any large gatherings. According to the commission, anyone who has been in any country in the previous 14 days that is subject to CDC level-three travel warnings will not be allowed to enter FCC facilities. Currently that would exclude recent visitors to China, Iran, Italy and South Korea
Netflix is the latest company to pull out of SXSW 2020, a source familiar with the situation tells Variety, canceling five film screenings and a panel for upcoming series #BlackExcellence with Kenya Barris and Rashida Jones.
MipTV, one of the leading international television conferences and markets, has been canceled due to concerns related to the coronavirus. The event was scheduled to take place March 30-April 2 in Cannes. Organizers Reed Midem announced that all of the events surrounding MipTV, including Mip Formats, Mip Doc and Canneseries, have also been canceled.
Fox News is the first media company to cancel its upfront in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak “in a precautionary effort to keep our employees, client and agency partners safe.” It had planned to host its annual pitch to the ad community on March 24.
Amazon Studios will no longer be going to SXSW. The two screenings and panels planned for Tales of the Loop and Upload, in addition to a consumer marketing activation, have been canceled amid concerns over the spread of coronavirus. The move follows Facebook and Twitter’s recent decisions to withdraw their participation from the annual music, technology and entertainment festival in Austin, Texas.
As of Tuesday (March 3), the NAB Show in Las Vegas April 18-22 is still on, according to a webpage the National Association of Broadcasters set up to keep interested parties up to date on its status relative to the coronavirus, with NAB saying its response to the virus threat would be based on facts, not fear.
Fox Corp. said it will be skipping the Morgan Stanley Technology, Media & Telecom Conference where Lachlan Murdoch was scheduled to present Wednesday. It said the decision “was made out of an abundance of caution due to evolving public health concerns regarding COVID-19.” Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg and CFO David Wehne, who were going to present today, were also no-shows. Disney executive chairman and until recently CEO Bob Iger was also slated for today but Disney canceled.
The social network follows Twitter’s lead as the list of attendees bailing on the annual Austin festivities grows, but organizers say the show will go on.
Margaret Sullivan: “Trump and his chosen spokespeople are attempting to dramatically play down the seriousness of the coronavirus and to blame the legitimate news media for doing their jobs of informing the public. In reporting what Trump has to say, the news media has a huge responsibility not to repeat and amplify his misleading spin — a spin that may serve his political interests but is not in the public interest.”
Although media stocks were hit with dramatic weekly declines along with the major stock market indices at large — around 14% over the last five days, due to mounting concerns over coronavirus — a number of companies witnessed gains and recovered to some extent on Friday.
News organizations trying to responsibly report on the growing health crisis are confronted with the task of conveying its seriousness without provoking panic, keeping up with a torrent of information while much remains a mystery and continually advising readers and viewers how to stay safe.
The new initiative includes a 24/7 live-blog on nbcnews.com with the latest updates from the network’s medical, business, political and investigative reporters.
Tokyo has no Plan B for this year’s Summer Olympics despite alarm over the spread of the coronavirus in Japan and elsewhere with under five months before the event, a senior official said on Friday. Having prepared for years and invested some $12 billion, Japan is eager to quell fears the Games might be called off, postponed or moved to a different location due to the coronavirus.
Toyota Motor Corp. on Wednesday said that operations at its plants in Japan may be affected by supply chain issues linked to the new coronavirus outbreak in the coming weeks, as the global outbreak gathers pace. And, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles is flagging the spread of the coronavirus and potential for a worldwide pandemic as a new risk factor for its business in China and other global operations.
Media stocks and all major U.S. stock market indices were slammed Monday morning as coronavirus concerns heightened. Walt Disney was down 3.8% to $133.71, while ViacomCBS lost 4% to $27.13 and Sinclair Broadcast Group fell 5% to $27.47. In digital media, Google gave up 3.7% to $1,430, while Facebook was off 3.6% to $202.64, Amazon was down 3.5% to $2,022, Netflix sank 3.4% to $367.48, Apple was off 3% to $303.53, and Roku went backwards 3.6% to $115.09.
The association says it is closely monitoring COVID-19, commonly known as coronavirus, and is “prepared to devote whatever resources necessary to ensure a safe and productive NAB Show experience.”