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Pa. Republicans aren’t swayed by Trump’s COVID-19 diagnosis | Morning Newsletter

And, inside the job of a business reporter.

President Donald Trump dances during a campaign rally at Harrisburg International Airport, Saturday, Sept. 26, 2020, in Middletown, Pa. (AP Photo/Steve Ruark)
President Donald Trump dances during a campaign rally at Harrisburg International Airport, Saturday, Sept. 26, 2020, in Middletown, Pa. (AP Photo/Steve Ruark)Read moreSteve Ruark / AP

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President Donald Trump’s positive COVID-19 diagnosis rocked the 2020 election, but Republicans in Pennsylvania largely said it doesn’t change much for them. In a critical swing state, any movement — or lack thereof — matters.

And, this week, I chatted with business reporter Catherine Dunn about her recent work, what she’s looking out for in her coverage, and why she became a journalist.

— Lauren Aguirre (@laurencaguirre,

The week ahead

  1. Trump’s coronavirus diagnosis doesn’t change things for some Pennsylvania Republicans, who largely shrugged it off and said it did little to alter their impressions of his leadership or his handling of the pandemic. “I’m a Trump supporter and will vote for him. I don’t think there’s anything that could change that,” said Rhoderick Mahlon of Fulton County. “I guess he could die or something. I wouldn’t vote for him then.”

  2. However votes are cast in this election, however long they take to count, Trump has already laid the groundwork for undermining them. And Philadelphia is ground zero for Trump’s attack on voting.

  3. With the tropics reawakening, here’s what we can learn from Hurricanes Sandy, Hazel, and other destructive October storms.

  4. The Sixers' new coach Doc Rivers will start his work tomorrow while the Phillies' general manager Matt Klentak will be demoted after five non-winning seasons.

  5. The best quarterbacks in Eagles history all had worse stretches than Carson Wentz’s current struggles, my colleague Mike Sielski explores. The Birds play tonight against the 49ers.

This week’s most popular stories

Behind the story with Catherine Dunn

Each week we go behind the scenes with one of our reporters or editors to discuss their work and the challenges they face along the way. This week we chat with business reporter Catherine Dunn about covering stories about policymaking and court cases that affect regular people.

Could you quickly explain what your coverage area is and what you prefer to focus on in your work?

My title is “business and power reporter," and a big part of my job is writing about corporate accountability — how companies treat consumers and workers, and how they use taxpayer money and influence the political process.

What is something you learned about your beat through your reporting?

I was new to Philly two years ago, so I’ve learned a ton about politics in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, and about industries I hadn’t covered before, like pharma and airlines.

What trends or themes are you keeping an eye on going forward? Are there any questions related to your subject area that you still want to be answered?

The consequences of the pandemic alongside the movement for racial equality are all-encompassing right now. The ways in which both of those are playing out in the workplace is a crucial ongoing story. To that end, I’m also watching what younger employees and customers demand from brands and employers on these issues — namely meaningful action, not just statements — and how businesses respond.

What is a story you worked on recently that you’re particularly proud of?

I’ll pick two that are related to my answer above. I wrote a story in March about coronavirus safety concerns among employees at Urban Outfitters Inc., which is headquartered at the Navy Yard. A few months later, I wrote about employees' experiences with racism and discrimination claims at the same company. In both instances, people were speaking up because they wanted a healthy and just work environment. Even with so much anxiety about job security, many workers are profoundly willing to push for change in this moment.

Why did you become a journalist? What is one thing you wish more people understood about your job?

I started working on my high school newspaper because it was an outlet for writing. I’ve stayed in this profession because I love interviewing people, digging through documents, and being surrounded by the creative, curious, intrepid folks who comprise a newsroom and make me laugh. The one thing I could never emphasize enough about my job is: send tips! We’re accountable to our readers and our community. If you have a story idea or think there’s something I’m missing, please drop me a line.

Email Catherine Dunn at and follow her on Twitter at @catadunn.

Through Your Eyes | #OurPhilly

I love when the leaves change in the fall, and this is some pretty foliage. Thanks for sharing, @stoneyandersen!

Tag your Instagram posts or tweets with #OurPhilly and we’ll pick our favorite each day to feature in this newsletter and give you a shout-out!

How to engage someone who isn’t going to vote

A friend told you that they aren’t going to vote. What do you do? Voting is important to democracy even under the best of circumstances. But this year’s presidential election — regardless of our partisan leanings — is likely to be the most important in our lifetime. My colleague Elizabeth Wellington asked a few experts for advice on having this conversation, including asking why and really listening to their reasons.

What we’re…

  1. Eating: Pete’s Place. Chef Peter Serpico is reopening his restaurant with a separate option known as Pete’s Place with a menu he describes as “kinda Korean.” It’s available for pickup and delivery only.

  2. Watching: Philly virtual theatre. The show must go on, even if it’s not in person. Here’s what Philly theatre insiders recommend for the digital fall season.

  3. Cooking: Tofu. Sales for tofu has seen an increase in the Philly area. My colleague Grace Dickinson has a guide for buying and cooking with tofu.

Comment of the week

“I remember the diner and it was called Lerners. Loved the owners and down home food.” — princess of the city, on The Continental in Old City is closing — at least for now.

Your Daily Dose of | Friendship

Laura Devlin met John Gaskin when he came to her Bucks County ice cream shop and mentioned he was looking for a job, but she could tell he needed much more. So, she decided to help. Devlin befriended Gaskin, helped him get a job, and introduced him to many new friends in the community.