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Covering COVID-19 is a circadian Poynter conference of adventure account about the coronavirus for journalists, accounting by chief adroitness Al Tompkins. Sign up actuality to acquire it delivered to your inbox every weekday morning.
A lot of bodies are out of assignment who acquire never had to angular on government abetment before. With the unemployment abstracts advancing out Friday, this adventure takes on a new urgency.
While we are talking about the charge for aliment assistance, let’s absorb a few moments to admit that aliment stamps backpack an adverse and baseless stigma. The accomplished angle that you can use aliment stamps to alive on filet mignon is a annoyed adumbration conceivably perpetuated by bodies who acquire never had to amplitude the civic boilerplate of $1.30 per being per meal, which is what aliment stamps will buy you.
Data from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities shows aloof how abundant advice Florida’s Supplemental Nutrition Abetment Affairs provides recipients:
You can go actuality to see state-by-state abstracts on who uses aliment stamps. The demographics may abruptness you.
In Minnesota and Texas, for example, added than bisected of households application SNAP allowances are “working families.”
Journalists, this is a time aback you can put a face on this stigma. You can point out that while they were working, they paid into the arrangement that they now charge to angular on. It is not actual altered from cartoon unemployment benefits, which we taxpayers and our administering additionally fund.
I apprehend this column from BuzzFeed’s Janelle Harris two years ago and it ashore with me. It’s a adventure about the abashment and abhorrence Harris acquainted the aboriginal time she acclimated her allowances card. If you authorize for aliment stamps appropriate now, you should apperceive that there’s no abashment in ensuring you can augment yourself and your family.
Yes, it happens, but not as about as you adeptness believe. The best accepted artifice involves affairs SNAP cards for banknote and artifice on the banker side.
Department of Agriculture abettor ambassador accepted Ann Coffey told a aldermanic subcommittee aftermost year that her appointment had recovered $463 actor in abnormal SNAP payments in the aftermost bristles years. Those federal investigations resulted in 2,335 bent convictions, she said. By way of background, the admiral about go afterwards retailers because that is who the government pays, while states go afterwards individuals, because that is who the states accelerate allowances to. To get an authentic account of prosecutions, you will charge to attending both places.
COVID-19 has affected governments to accomplish some changes they apparently should acquire done a continued time ago. For example, in about a dozen states now, aliment brand recipients can use their allowances to buy aliment online. Congress accustomed a pilot affairs six years ago as allotment of the 2014 Farm Bill, but the communicable has created a abundant college charge and kicked it into a college gear.
NPR acicular out that the adeptness to use aliment stamps online affairs because so abounding bodies on the affairs additionally are at accident for the virus. NPR said:
There are a alternation of technology hurdles — from aliment defective new systems online that differentiate amid aliment and non-food items to states defective new systems to handle new acquittal processors. They’re not baffling problems, they aloof haven’t been done; aliment brand issues don’t tend to be top-of-mind for best technologists.
Because of COVID-19, the USDA now says it’ll fast-track any accompaniment that wants to accompany the pilot. Eleven added were aloof approved, including California. Abounding should be online with accustomed retailers by some point in May. In those states, Walmart will acquire SNAP for grocery auto but not commitment (and did not acknowledge to NPR’s requests for explanation); Amazon and Amazon Fresh will acquire SNAP for online grocery orders, but SNAP barter of Amazon’s Accomplished Foods alternation will still acquire to boutique in person.
So, alike area commitment is possible, options are limited, and for the majority of SNAP recipients, still not possible.
Walmart and some others acquire ample out a workaround. They acquiesce aliment brand recipients to adjustment online, again use SNAP allowances cards aback they aces up their orders. That still requires buyers to leave their homes.
The New York Times said Walmart and Amazon are now set up in nine states to acquiesce aliment brand users to buy and pay online: New York, the aboriginal to accompany a year ago; Washington; Alabama; Iowa; Oregon; Nebraska; Florida; and Kentucky and California, both of which started this month. The Times Added:
The District of Columbia and several states — Arizona, Idaho, North Carolina, West Virginia, Missouri, Texas and Vermont — acquire active up over the aftermost ages but are not yet up and running. Once they are, the pilot affairs will awning added than bisected the country’s SNAP participants, according to the Agriculture Department.
Whether your accompaniment is allotment of the program, about to be or still isn’t, there is a adventure in there for you to advice your readers/listeners/viewers get the allowances they are able for (and paid for through taxes all their alive years).
This website congenital a accumulating of grocery aliment that acquire aliment stamps and do deliver. The government does not accede Instacart, which gives shoppers admission to commitment from 52,000 stores, to be a retailer. So a client application SNAP allowances cannot use Instacart.
The Brookings Institute appear some advancing new abstracts that shows the coercion of aliment abetment appropriate now (note, this is NEW data).
By the end of April, added than one in bristles households in the United States, and two in bristles households with mothers with accouchement 12 and under, were aliment insecure. In about one in bristles households of mothers with accouchement age 12 and under, the accouchement were experiencing aliment insecurity.
See the black, accumbent curve on anniversary vertical bar? That is what their 2018 abstraction showed.
Put some ambience about these figures. Brookings has aggregate abstracts on this affair aback 2001 and no year comes abutting to what we are seeing now. Brookings said, “it is bright that adolescent accouchement are experiencing aliment crisis to an admeasurement aberrant in avant-garde times.”
The abstraction assured that Congress should admission SNAP allowances by at atomic 15% and additionally admission the minimum allotments. Aliment stamps acquire been a ambition of the Trump administration. As the communicable was advance a ages ago, the admiral planned to appoint stricter assignment requirements on 700,000 adults after accouchement who accept SNAP benefits. But by mid-April, the administering had delayed the new regulations.
Don’t anticipate of Friday’s unemployment abstracts as statistics. Anticipate of them as bodies who don’t apperceive how they are activity to pay their abutting electricity and baptize bills. Anticipate of them as bodies who acquire not aloof absent their jobs, but additionally their bloom allowance — the assurance net below their families.
President Donald Trump afresh said if bodies lose their jobs and if the abridgement does not reopen soon, “You’re activity to acquire brainy abasement for people. You’re activity to acquire ample numbers of suicides. Take a attending at what happens in a absolutely abhorrent recession or worse. So, you’re activity to acquire amazing suicides.”
If the admiral is appropriate — and a choir of experts acquire aggregate agnate sentiments — we will anon be seeing a new pressure. The moment bodies lose their allowance that pays for brainy bloom affliction is the moment they charge it most. The afresh anesthetized CARES Act included $425 actor for brainy bloom casework and the authoritative adaptability that increases admission to telehealth, but association bloom clinics are already overrun. How will we accumulation the brainy bloom affliction the admiral predicts we’ll need?
The Kaiser Ancestors Foundation’s polling activate about bisected of Americans appear the communicable has had a abrogating appulse on their brainy health.
Kristen Choi, a agony able at the UCLA School of Nursing, said, “This communicable has abeyant to abuse brainy bloom in communities, and over time, the charge for brainy bloom casework may increase. Brainy disorders like depression, anxiety, PTSD, self-harm, and others could become a ‘second pandemic.’ We charge to be anticipating needs, advancing resources, and developing adaptive affliction commitment models now,”
The American Psychological Association said a chargeless Coursera advance in Psychological Aboriginal Aid developed by analyst George Everly Jr., a assistant at the Center for Public Bloom Preparedness at Johns Hopkins University, usually sees about 300 to 400 acceptance per week. In the aboriginal anniversary of April, 11,000 bodies took the class. Now, added than two actor bodies in absolute acquire taken the class.
The Civic Association of Amusing Workers afresh appear this warning:
Mental bloom leaders emphasized that advance is in accident as amusing break rules and fears of the virus bassinet acceptable analysis efforts, including syringe barter programs, associate counseling and medication-assisted treatment.
The U.S. wasn’t in a acceptable abode to activate with. A year afore the communicable began, the APA warned that the suicide amount in America is ascent at “an alarming rate.”
When I was still acquirements the abilities of analytic reporting, my idol/colleague Steve Eckert would say, “Look for affirmation of a motive. Usually the motive is money.” But sometimes the motive is to alter attention, grab ability (closely associated with money) or to affectation as the alone acknowledgment to people’s problems.
My Poynter colleagues at the International Fact-Checking Arrangement acicular out that area you accretion affected and alarming rumors about COVID-19, you will additionally acceptable accretion a motive abaft them. For example, in Africa the rumors are affiliated to websites affairs masks. In Brazil, COVID-19 rumors acquaint to amusing media are affiliated to a armpit affairs “ozone generators.”
The owners of some of the country’s better TV stations appear first-quarter balance and forecasts this week. Despite today’s unemployment figures, it is not all dismal.
Keep in apperception as you attending at these big increases in first-quarter assets that the better players in bounded TV bought stations in the aftermost year and political ads put money in the coffers in those places that had hot primary elections.
Tegna appear Thursday that the company’s acquirement added 32% in the aboriginal division of 2020. Tegna says acquisitions and political spending were big contributors to its growth. Take out the political spending and the advance drops to 24%. Tegna appear one-week furloughs for advisers in the additional division but told investors that it expects the business to activate airy in the third quarter, aback political spending amps up.
Sinclair Broadcast Group said its acquirement is added than bifold aftermost year’s aboriginal quarter, up 134% year-to-year to $1.5 billion, against $673 actor in the aboriginal division of 2019. $40 actor of that advance accustomed via political announcement and through its accretion of 21 bounded sports networks and Fox College Sports in August. But the aggregation warned that delays and abeyant losses of added sports contest will be cher in the months ahead.
The aggregation said it expects to see a 5% to 9% acquirement bead in the additional division compared to aftermost year. But political announcement is still accepted to acceleration in the additional bisected of the year.
Nexstar Media Group Inc., the better buyer of TV stations in the country, additionally had a able-bodied aboriginal quarter. The aggregation said it has the assets to bear the COVID-19 downturn. In its first-quarter report, the aggregation said it saw a 177% admission in acquirement from a year ago. First-quarter ad acquirement was up a adequately amazing 87% in the aboriginal quarter, abundantly apprenticed by political spending.
In a comment, Nexstar CEO Perry Sook said bounded TV is not aloof apprenticed by announcement these days, but additionally gets money from cable companies, which pay for the appropriate to backpack the station’s signal.
“In 2020, over 50% of our anniversary acquirement is accepted to be acquired from acknowledged administration fee and political announcement revenue, which we do not apprehend to be materially impacted by coronavirus,” Sook said. “Notably, Nexstar has solid afterimage in agreement of our acknowledged administration economics through December 2022 as we completed new multi-year retransmission accord agreements apery about 70% of our subscribers at anniversary 2019, as able-bodied as new abiding arrangement amalgamation affairs with CBS, FOX and NBC.”
All the same, the banal bazaar has taken a dim appearance of broadcasters in this communicable year, alike if it is an acclamation year, too.
In January, Nexstar traded at $111 a share. It is now at $72. Sinclair hit its aiguille a year ago at $61.81 and now trades for $15.80 a share. Gray Television was $20 a allotment in February and is now at $12.76. TEGNA was at about $18 a allotment in January and about bisected that now.
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Al Tompkins is chief adroitness at Poynter. He can be accomplished at email@example.com or on Twitter, @atompkins.
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