'News O’Clock' Discusses Our Year Of Lost Expectations

Hayes Brown and Casey Rackham host Buzzfeed’s News O’Clock, rounding up the big news happening online and IRL every weeknight. In this episode, they talk about Naomi Osaka’s big win in the U.S. Open, and the message behind her daily face masks; TikTok’s deal with the tech giant Oracle, which may save the app from being banned in the U.S.; how Big Plastic knew recycling was bogus in the 1970s, but sold it to us anyway (“Captain Planet lied to us, is what this boils down to,” Hayes says); and speak with Buzzfeed editor David Mack about his “Lost Year” series, profiling six regular people on how the pandemic has impacted their lives.

The idea behind the “Lost Year” series struck David when he and some friends started debating who had it hardest during the pandemic, depending on age. Some were most sad for little kids, growing up in these circumstances; some felt most for the elderly, especially in nursing homes; some had the most sympathy for high school or college-age kids. “Everybody’s affected,” he says. “Definitely the people who have died or lost loved ones are obviously the most affected, but all of us, in different ways, are going to be living with this bizarre year for the rest of our lives….grappling with things we don’t fully understand yet.” 

The series profiles six “very average people” of all age ranges; the youngest is a 10-year-old living in the Bronx, in one of the poorest Congressional districts in the country. His parents worry that the prolonged months stuck in their apartment is sapping his imagination: He doesn’t know what he wants to be for Halloween, let alone when he grows up. The oldest person profiled was a Buzzfeed reporter’s grandmother, who lost her husband during the pandemic. He didn’t die of Covid-19, but she was unable to hold a proper funeral for him; and besides losing her partner of a lifetime, she also had to fully withdraw from society in order to quarantine, making her suffer intense loneliness on multiple levels. What stood out as common across all the various experiences was “the sense of collective loss,” David says. “I felt very alone during this pandemic….[but] in a sadly beautiful way, we’re all going through this together.” Hear more about “The Lost Year” series and much more on this episode of News O’Clock.

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