The following is a timeline of conversations surrounding vaccinations for journalists. Justin Sasso, the CBA’s President & CEO, has been in direct communication with the Governor’s office since early December, negotiating this issue.
January 14, 2021
The Governor’s Chief of Staff asked the CBA to perform a census count of frontline essential journalists and submit it by January 20th. The Governor’s office will then begin planning the most efficient way to administer vaccines. A CBA survey will be forthcoming, asking stations to identify “Essential Frontline Journalists” within their company. That list will be compiled and provided to the Governor’s office on Friday, January 20th.
January 10th, 2021
A last-minute meeting was called by the Governor’s office to work out details on providing an optional, early vaccination to credentialed members of the Colorado Capitol Press Association (CCPA). The purpose was to allow the press to cover the start of the state legislative session, while offering protection to both the legislators and the media. Bente Birkeland, representing the CCPA, handled outreach to those with existing credentials, while the CBA reached out to members that did not currently have credentials. Names were submitted to the Governor’s office and those journalists were offered early vaccinations.
December 30, 2020
Governor Polis announced a revision, allowing “Essential Frontline Journalists” to receive vaccinations in the 1B Phase of Colorado’s distribution plan.
December 10th, 2020
On a call with the Governor’s office we were told that “Essential Frontline Journalists” would be able to get the vaccine in Phase 2 of Colorado’s distribution plan. The Governor clarified that these journalists should be the reporters, videographers working in the field and not those who can do their job from the station or home
Through a Colorado High School Activities Association (CHSAA) memorandum, the CBA learned that the Colorado Department of Health does not consider sports media “essential” personnel. However, the Colorado Department of Public Health has left the final decision with local county health jurisdictions. It is the CBA’s opinion that providing free, over-the-air broadcasts helps manage the capacity limitations, giving family and spectators an alternative source for monitoring the games. We advise stations to reach out to their local health departments and their school’s Athletic Directors to find if sports media will be counted as “essential” personnel.
We advise limiting your sports coverage teams to 1 or 2 individuals. If sports media is designated “essential” by your local health department, find out if the visiting team’s sports personnel will also be included in the capacity limit count. If not, it is suggested that stations work together to offer a pool feed of their coverage to the visiting team’s station. This may be a way to assist, while keeping sports media personnel below capacity limitations. It is our belief, that your existing relationship with these key decision makers, in the communities you serve, will create positive outcomes, and allow for coverage that your listeners desperately need.
We have been asked, by members, if Engineers and technical personnel will be given the opportunity to receive the early vaccine. Our understanding is that they would not qualify given, the Governor’s existing definition of “Essential Frontline Journalists.” However, Engineers should keep a copy of their Cyber & Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) letters with them at all times, should another lockdown occur.