Government briefings are usually considered dull — hardly something that comes to mind when you think of 'good television'.
But that's exactly what New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is receiving an International Emmy award for: his once-daily televised briefings on the coronavirus pandemic that killed tens of thousands of New Yorkers this spring.
The International Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, whose members include media and entertainment figures from over 60 countries and 500 companies, has announced that it plans to present the award to the Democratic governor in a live-streamed show on Monday.
International Academy President & CEO Bruce L. Paisner said Cuomo is being honoured with the academy’s Founders Award for using his briefings to inform and calm the public. Previous recipients include former US Vice President Al Gore, Oprah Winfrey, and director Steven Spielberg.
“The governor’s 111 daily briefings worked so well because he effectively created television shows, with characters, plot lines, and stories of success and failure,” he said. “People around the world tuned in to find out what was going on, and New York tough became a symbol of the determination to fight back.”
Cuomo used his more than 100 Powerpoint-driven slideshows and his sometimes emotional, sometimes acerbic style to provide daily updates and detail his administration’s efforts to shutter the economy and avoid predictions of as many as 100,000 people hospitalised at once.
The pandemic peaked in early-to-mid April, when over 18,000 people were hospitalised at once and hospitals and nursing homes reported as many as 800 deaths in one day.
New York has reported at least 34,187 deaths of people due to Covid-19, according to data from John Hopkins University & Medicine. And at least 6,600 residents have died in nursing homes, according to state data, which doesn’t state how many nursing home residents died in hospitals.