Why COVID-19 won’t put a stop to news coverage

Marwa Elgabry / April 10th, 2020

Field’s press hat isn’t going anywhere as he continues to gather news and inform the public while the pandemic continues on.

(@tedfieldglobal / Twitter)

As the closure of a multitude of businesses swept the nation in recent weeks, essential services, like news organizations, remained open. The COVID-19 Pandemic hasn’t stopped journalists from providing news coverage for people at home.

Global News Assignment Editor Ted Field explained why they need to continue telling stories.

“You want to make sure that within a democracy there are multiple voices, so people aren’t depending on a strange website from someplace. This’ll be a struggle because the media is a fragile system system in terms of democracy. It’s important to make sure people can get out and tell the story. They need to be able to gather information from the people that have it and disseminate it to the public.” – Ted Field, Global News Assignment Editor

Field added that one of the current challenges facing journalists is finding answers to the tough questions people are asking.

“As journalists and reporters, we’re trying to answer questions for people who are almost in a state of shock at how quickly things have changed. It’s a struggle for everybody as humans just trying to manage with what’s going on. Also trying to get rational, logical answers is really challenging because one of the big questions is: how long could this go on for? There’s no answer yet.” – Ted Field, Global News Assignment Editor

For Field, social distancing means cutting and editing video, communicating with reporters, and seeking new story ideas from home.

(Pixabay)

Social Distancing

Field pointed to social distancing as another challenge facing the industry. He now works out of an at-home office while a small number of his colleagues continue to work from the station.

Field now cuts video, connects with reporters, and discusses potential news story assignments all from his own home. While he’s able to carry out the same duties he did at his workplace, he said it’s not business as usual.

“So while you can do those things, the good old fashioned communication of just being able to talk to somebody next to you is not there. You can get stuff done, but not as efficiently as when you’re sitting at the office.”- Ted Field, Global News Assignment Editor

Resilience

Despite these challenges, Field said finding new ways to provide news coverage has inspired journalists to get creative with the technology at the tip of their fingers.

“We’ve used these tools in the past; whether it be your phone, Instagram, or your computer. It seems about 80% of what we used them for was fairly mundane. With these tools, we can cut and edit video, tell stories, and produce entire shows from our own home. The technology that’s in our hands to turn this on, go live, and present information is quite amazing.” – Ted Field, Global News Assignment Editor

On a personal level for Field, getting creative with everyday technology means kicking interviews up a notch.

Field said journalists have found creative ways to broadcast news from home with the use of everyday technology like smartphones and computers.

(Pixabay)

“Traditionally, we would go out with a camera and interview somebody in person. Now we’re doing it many more times because so many people are working from home that we can do interviews over Skype or Zoom instead. That’s something that I’d never done until about two weeks ago. Now I can do maybe four, five, or six Skype interviews with people.” – Ted Field, Global News Assignment Editor

Field said the pandemic hasn’t stopped him from sharing positive stories, such as a parade at Alice Brown Elementary that was set up for children who miss their teachers.

(Langley School District)

Staying Positive

Beyond journalists’ resiliency, Field said shining light on the good is another part of the equation to helping people cope. One way he does this is by striking a balance between covering the pandemic and sharing positive stories around the community.

“I recently did a story in Langley about a school parade that teachers did driving through neighborhoods in their cars, just to let the kids know they’re still there because of course it’s a struggle for parents.” – Ted Field, Global News Assignment Editor

Field emphasized that despite society coming to a standstill, stories need to continue being told. Whether it’s the top COVID-19 headlines or a heart-warming local tale, the ongoing pandemic won’t put a stop to news coverage.