After assuring herself of support from the aid organizations, Yang approached foreign editor Lynn McAuley with a thoroughly researched pitch.
Initially, McAuley had a few major questions: how would Yang’s stories add something new to the ongoing Ebola conversation? And, were the potential health risks manageable? If so, were they worth it?
Until then, Yang had relied on official reports, social media, online information and telephone interviews with aid workers to report on the Ebola crisis in West Africa. Even confirming that there was an outbreak in a particular area was difficult because it could only be confirmed by laboratory tests conducted by the World Health Organization (WHO).
To McAuley’s questions, Yang offered three answers: on the ground in Sierre Leone, she would cover the epidemic from the ground, speak with residents from Sierra Leone in person and witness firsthand what Canadian scientists would be doing to help overseas.
McAuley was quick to agree that there was an appetite for the story, but, like Yang, questioned whether the story was worth the health risk. With no firsthand experience on how to protect herself from the virus, Yang knew she needed to learn more before deciding whether she would travel to Sierra Leone.
LISTEN TO LYNN MCAULEY: