Joel Kurth is a veteran journalist who worked at the Detroit News for over 17 years and has spent the past three years as managing editor at Bridge Magazine, a publication focused on Michigan’s diverse people, politics and economy.
Joel recently joined Mike and Kevin Dietz on Open Mike to discuss Governor Whitmer’s response to Coronavirus, how the pandemic has impacted the newspaper industry, and why he believes racial disparities played a role in the state being hit so hard. He also shares his view on how this crisis will change society moving forward, particularly for schools.
[00:12] Mike introduces Guest Joel Kurth
[01:14] Joel talks about his experience with the Detroit News and bridgemi.com and discusses the news’ struggle to maintain ad purchases
[02:11] Joel highlights the difference between dying newspapers and growing online news
[03:00] The focus on COVID-19 as a news story
[03:45] How COVID-19 will change the future of media
[04:17] The extension of the stay-at-home order and how the weather will affect the number of coronavirus cases
[05:44] Disconnect between Southeast Michigan and places more north that aren’t as affected
[06:58] The connection between the economic curve and case number curve
[08:04] Inconsistencies on how lawmakers pick and choose what should be open and closed
[09:38] The difference in northern and southern Michigan economies
[10:35] The official count vs the real count where people have coronavirus but don’t get tested
[11:07] Why the death toll is more accurate in determining the spread than the number of cases
[12:02] Why senior citizens aren’t being counted in the total COVID-19 deaths
[12:42] Michigan’s historical and current lack of transparency for its citizens
[13:57] Freedom of Information Act requests are not being fulfilled because they are “nonessential”
[14:42] Gretchen Whitmer’s response to the pandemic
[16:17] Gretchen Whitmer as potential Vice President for Joe Biden
[17:23] Why the coronavirus is hitting Michigan so hard especially Detroit and Wayne County
[17:55] Why African American communities are especially affected by crises
[18:37] Institutional racism and discrepancies in healthcare
[19:28] The creation of a task force to determine why African Americans are hit so hard
[20:16] How this pandemic going to reshape the presidential election?
[21:41] How November 2020 voting methods will be affected by the coronavirus
[22:18] Predictions about Donald Trump are almost always false!
[23:38] Hydroxychloroquine, “the malaria drug”
[24:12] How the treatment of pulmonary conditions has changed with coronavirus
[25:35] When Hydroxychloroquine is prescribed, it’s because nothing else can be done
[26:19] Hospitalizations for heart attacks and other conditions are disappearing
[28:00] Why there are less heart attacks during coronavirus
[30:05] Why hospital beds have not been overrun despite predictions of mass hospitalizations
[31:05] The coronavirus could drive hospitals out of business!
[31:45] The future of elective surgeries
[32:47] The auto insurance companies are scamming citizens when no one is driving
[33:48] State Farm was one of the last insurance companies to roll-back rates or help their clients
[34:23] Ask your insurance companies for rate reductions!
[35:40] Put unused cars into garage status.
[36:17] Next steps for journalism: racial disparities, hospital stories, and he effect on education
[37:56] Mike and his daughter’s college tuition frustrations
[38:52] How the coronavirus will make people rethink college
[39:44] The disparity between public and private school education during coronavirus
[41:17] Why structure is so valuable in schools
[41:42] Giving free devices to people who cannot afford them
[43:25] Why district size affects flexibility of education response
[43:50] Prisoners and unjust medical care in prison
[45:54] Importance of being prepared for future global crises
[46:22] Concluding thoughts