Covid-19 brings big changes for Yukon Reporter

Luke McGrath / April 10, 2020

Tim Kucharuk is a reporter with CKRW in Whitehorse, Yukon.

The Covid-19 pandemic has slowly made its way into Canada’s North. Although the total number of cases is relatively small compared to the rest of Canada, the lives of those who call one of the Northern Territories home have been changed in the same way.

For Tim Kucharuk, this includes working longer hours than before, and having to stay regularly tuned into just one singular focus. Kucharuk is a reporter at CKRW 96.1 The Rush in Whitehorse, Yukon.

“The biggest change has been the amount of work. Having to go in to tell so many stories. Stories that would be told at any other time are being bypassed for other important stories.”

The first notable sign that things were changing in Whitehorse was the cancellation of the biennial Arctic Winter Games, which were scheduled to take place in Whitehorse in March. From that point, Kucharuk’s day-to-day routine changed too.

“It was certainly a wake-up call for a lot of people. We shifted our newscasts to go all Covid. We usualy do four minute newscasts at the top of the hour, and on March 18th we shifted to five minutes. We couldn’t cram what we needed to into just four minutes.”

Kucharuk’s day now starts, like most days for those who are still working, by sanitizing the equipment in the CKRW broadcast building. He then starts working on his newscasts, consisting almost 100% of Covid-19 stories.

“Now it’s settled into a new normal. You kind of know what’s going on. We haven’t used our storyboard in about three weeks, because everything was evolving every minute.”

Any time Kucharuk is able to work on a story that doesn’t involve Covid-19, it’s a small bit of relief, such as a story he wrote about Yukon hockey star Dylan Cozens early in the week.

“It’s something just a little bit different to write up. Even early on in the pandemic, we had a comment on our Facebook page, saying it would be nice to have at least one non-Covid-19 related story, kinda like cat videos for the ear.”

While being incredibly busy during the week, Kucharuk does take the time during the weekend to be with his wife and daughter, before getting back into the booth on Monday to continue giving Yukoners the latest coverage of the pandemic.

You can listen to Luke McGrath’s full conversation with Tim Kucharuk below.