For now, the newsroom is no longer the newsroom

Many journalists are now working from home. Courtesy: Brandon Spencer at WCTV.

Thousands of newsrooms across the country have been affected by COVID-19, causing a shift in the way things are normally done. With reporters, photogs and even producers working from home, the newsroom hasn’t been the same for then past two months.

“It’s been different. It’s caused quite a few miscommunications and technical difficulties. I never really realized how important face-to-face interactions were until we didn’t have them; consequently, I never realized how poor communication was. Too many times these past couple of weeks the GroupMe has been blowing up over minor problems that are caused from working remote coupled with poor communication,” WCTV photojournalist Chloe Harden said. 

To reduce the numbers in the office, general managers and news directors have made the tough decision to eliminate as many people as they can. Some newsrooms are even cutting numbers in half. 

“Working remotely has been a constant adjustment. Some days are great and I’ll have all the ingredients I need to tell stories up to my standard but then there are other days where B-roll is limited or non-existent and I have to settle for what I can get. So each day has been more erratic and unpredictable than it was before COVID-19 and it takes a lot of patience and creativity to have quality work,” WCTV multimedia journalist Brandon Spencer said. 

With the change, journalists all over the country are learning to adapt to this new normal and are learning new things about themselves. 

“This virus has created challenges for everybody worldwide but there is no such thing as an immovable obstacle. There’s always an adjustment that can be made and in this industry, especially, you always have to roll with the punches in order to properly serve the community and keep them informed and feeling safe,” Spencer added.

The biggest lesson for most is that in this industry, it’s all about teamwork. If one person fails, then it impacts the rest. 

“When we’re all here in the newsroom, it doesn’t seem that hectic, but when you’re missing scripts from this person, having TVU problems from this person, it just stresses everyone out. And the remote aspect makes troubleshooting a pain in the butt,” Harden said.

Though the short- and long-term futures are still unclear, journalists are still working tirelessly to ensure that the community is receiving correct information. Whether it’s in the newsroom or in the field, the lessons learned from everyone in this season is to just adapt.