March 11, 2020.
That’s the night Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert tested positive for COVID-19 in Oklahoma City — for a lot of people, this event was their introduction to the pandemic.
I was there covering that game just as The Salt Lake Tribune covers every Jazz game, with in-depth basketball analysis of what happens on the court. But as that night unfolded, my job expectations changed drastically.
Adaptability would prove to be a theme throughout the pandemic for us at The Tribune. For me, it was turning the NBA’s hiatus into an opportunity to serve the community. I’ve always been good at understanding data (I was a math major, after all), and I’ve always tried to find ways to make the numbers of basketball pop out beyond the box score.
I wanted to explain the facts and figures of the pandemic in a way that makes sense to everyone, but doesn’t talk down to readers, either. Feedback has been positive on these articles, to the extent that I now also have “data columnist” in my job description along with Jazz beat writer.
I love that chance to seek out data from an interesting world and make sense of what’s going on. It’s truly exciting; a dream job I couldn’t have dreamed about. Who would have imagined the need would ever exist!
But that’s the magic of the environment here at The Salt Lake Tribune: Curiosity comes first. We strive to reward your belief in us with high-quality local reporting every day. And we are grateful for your continued support.
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– Andy Larsen