Proposal: Australians trapped in America’s Covid-19 epicentre

Photographer: Olivia Rowe

This feature article will be a deep dive into Australians who moved to New York City, found jobs and now are in limbo between coming back to Australia, with no home or job or staying in the epicentre and risk catching Covid-19.

There are around 15,000 Australians living and working in New York and 150,00 confirmed cases of the virus, exceeding 20,000 deaths. There are approximately 18 million people who live in the city. A huge population, coexisting in contained spaces, only allowed to leave home for essential work, groceries or exercise.

This story is as relevant as ever, with new research suggesting at least 14% of people in the city have the virus. The imagery flooding our newsfeeds is somewhat apocalyptic, people in hazmat suits treating patients in Central Park, the vibrant streets of the city completely empty.

Times Square
Photographer: Michael Nagle/Bloomberg

Audience and Publication

ABC News has upwards of 25 million monthly readers, providing a range of stories with neutral political standing. With this in mind, their feature articles are well researched and often ground breaking. Their coverage of the pandemic is global, with factual hard news stories alongside features, addressing human interest stories to diversify their Covid-19 content.

Further, the USA has garnered global media attention with Donald Trump’s daily proclamations on defeating the virus through disinfectant or suing China, to name a few.

This article is well suited to the ABC, as the real stories provide a different take to the virus, bringing the situation in America home to Australia, so to speak.

This feature could also be used across ABC’s broader platforms; Triple J and Hack.

Research and sources

This article will focus on the stories of Joanna and Callum, two Australians in New York.

I will base it on how they are spending their time, why they chose to stay in the city, how they are staying connected and what New York is like for them right now.

Photographer: Callum

This will be purely based on their experiences, however punctuated by the changing Covid-19 statistics in the city to make the story newsworthy, as well as being human interest.


  • Video interviews over FaceTime: inserting clips of the videos to break up the content
  • Videos and photo galleries taken by Joanna and Callum to reflect what they are doing in the city.
  • Social media – key images from the article to be shared on ABC News’ own page, allowing for people to share it to their own stories.
  • Hyperlinks throughout, opening new tabs to items referenced in the story.

Ultimately, this story is strong as it shows the power of human resilience when faced with a global pandemic. Through communicating with my sources, they have provided insight that is only possible from lived experience and an experience that is lacking in a lot of the Australian news about the situation in New York City.


  1. I think a ground level perspective of New York at the moment is a super engaging idea, especially with videos and galleries. In terms of newsworthiness, I think you’ve found a story that’s timely, builds on current events and has a great human interest angle. I wonder if you could find something unusual in the ways Joanna and Callum are coping — have they observed people doing weird things around them? Weird methods of exercise?

    I’d also find it interesting to read more about the current restrictions on New York residents. Maybe comparing their situation to another city like Sydney would be useful for ABC News readers.

  2. Hey Olivia,

    The fact that you know people who are currently living out the pandemic in New York adds both emotion and reliability to your work. Although you are writing about an overseas city, proximity is found through your choice to angle the story on Australian expats. Your proposal is very timely as there is a lot of curiosity around the America situation at the moment, as you mentioned mostly due to Trump’s mishaps. Given many states are now trying to re-open, I would maybe ask your sources their thoughts and the implications of that for them. Given New York is reportedly the worst hit, how long they think their day to day in New York will be affected by this Pandemic.

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