NBCNews.com is dedicating its homepage to COVID-19 today — the first time the site has devoted its entire homepage to the coverage of one topic.
When users visit NBCNews.com, an interactive graphic of a map of the U.S. covers the page, illustrating the toll COVID-19 has taken on American lives.
It shows how COVID-19 deaths increased from February until now. The map fills with red peaks over time.
The headline reads: “How America gave up, and how we fight back.”
Jason Abbruzzese, senior editor for tech and science at NBC News, came up with the idea for this project.
After the presidential election in November, NBC News Digital editors discussed “a very different challenge: pivoting our coverage back to a pandemic that had exploded across the U.S. in recent weeks,” Abbruzzese said.
“But with months of coverage already behind us and audience data showing that readership seemed to be fatigued by COVID, the question we asked ourselves: How do we communicate to our audience and the public the importance and urgency of a story entering its 11th month in a way that feels fresh — and that sets reader expectations for the coming months?”
The answer, Abbruzzese said, was twofold: Use the “power of our homepage to confront readers with the hard truths of the pandemic, while also communicating to them that our paths are not set.” Also, produce articles on what readers most want to know about the pandemic.
The interactive map on NBC News’ homepage lets users determine “How much worse could it get?”
Users can select their state, and choose from two options to see how each might affect deaths caused by the virus: “If masks mandates are relaxed” or “If mask usage is universal.”
It includes historical and projected data by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation.
As the user scrolls down the homepage, reports on the future of the pandemic surface, such as: “Four months that will decide America’s future,” “How are you going to get your vaccine?” and “The fight to get Black Americans to vaccinate.”
Photo essays and live blogs of COVID-19 news and essays from NBC News’ op-ed vertical Think are included on the homepage.
NBC News chose December 11 for the takeover — the day after the FDA’s vaccine advisory panel met to vote to authorize the Pfizer vaccine.