I think the COVID-19 response exposes a problem with the current state of lack of trust created through an increase in extreme points of view, both left and right. Consequently, people now seem to only trust what they can see with their own eyes or what make sense to them. Therefore, people are less likely to take COVID-19 seriously until they are personally affected in some way.
For such people, a young person’s account of surviving COVID-19 published by the New York Times is not believed because they don’t trust the New York Times. Likewise anything published by the NewYorker. A blogger’s first hand account is meaningless because I don’t know the blogger.
In short, the problem cannot be placed on external entities that are not trusted. The problem isn’t with journalism not doing something so much as journalism having no credibility from an extremist point of view unless that journalist is identified as having the same extremist point of view.