Journalism and Mass Communications, College of


Reporting on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in Grand Island, Nebraska.

Date of this Version

Spring 4-7-2021

Document Type




Copyright 2021 Jim Snyder


These stories examine how COVID-19 affected vulnerable and marginalized communities in Grand Island, Nebraska, a city of 51,000 that sits in the Platte River valley near the center of the contiguous U.S.

Despite its rural location, Grand Island is surprisingly diverse: More than 30% of its residents are Hispanic, and the majority of the students who go to its public schools are minorities.

The diversity in large measure stems from a large meatpacking plant that for decades has attracted immigrants looking for a steady paycheck and a better life. The plant became the site of a major outbreak of COVID in spring 2020, which drew national media attention to this city on the Plains as well as the tough conditions these essential workers sometimes labor under.

This project is the result of six months of reporting and more than 60 interviews. It was completed with the help of a Hitchcock Fellowship from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s graduate journalism program.