Twenty years of experience in journalism is not even a fraction of what I need to report on the coronavirus in Colombia alone. This pandemic is way over my head, and not just mine.
Every day I realize how I have systematically underestimated this phenomenon, which now feels like I’m reporting on a million hurricanes making landfall at once.
I can only do wrong. If I underreport on what’s going on, I could put people’s health and even lives at risk. If I exaggerate I could do the same.
I am forced to challenge authorities’ blatant denial of reality while trying not to contribute to chaos. It’s a lost cause.
The coronavirus has me against the wall. I try to inform you on the threat as accurately as I can while fighting the same anxiety and fear as you if not more.
There are no words to describe the grief I feel for every dead baby or orphaned child who doesn’t end up in my reports.
I tried uppers to work faster and longer only to depend on downers to fall asleep, we all know where that story goes. Nothing works. Burn-outs are now my daily bread.
The coronavirus isn’t humbling, it is humiliating. A microbe, a one-cell organism, is destroying every bit of confidence I had in the professional abilities I have gathered over the past two decades.
If I could just go to sleep and wake up when all of this is over I would, but I can’t.
I threw in the towel yesterday. For the first time ever I simply gave up and went to bed, not knowing if I would return to reporting today or not.
And here I am, back to reporting without knowing what I’m supposed to do, afraid to do more harm than good.
I can’t be the only reporter feeling like this. A government official admitted feeling the same. I assume we all do our best, but I doubt any of us know what we’re doing.