New Norm For Media

Doors open. Minimal operators. Limited exposure.

As we all try to conduct business and personal lives, now more than ever, they seem to be mixed.

I am fortunate enough to go into the Iowa PBS studios one day a week to record Market to Market. Several others have not be able to make the trip as they’ve been put on home-only assignments because of recent out-of-state trips.

For four days a week, my sunroom is the office. I do have a great view from where I sit, but working here does present challenges. Namely, the internet during certain times of the day as bandwidth gets to be taxed at certain portions of the day.

I’m not doing major video editing like some of our staff is doing, most of my work focuses on the word and some charts as I make notes on what’s happening in the commodity markets and world of agriculture.

A lot of what I do is internet-based already as we look at trading charts and commentary to prepare for the program. The last three weeks have been new territory as we work through the reasons for the movements.

We do on occasion have team meetings. We’ve tried Google Hangouts and Zoom to conduct our face-to-face interactions. Last week, we recorded our Monday meeting for an MtoM podcast. Maybe our tales are similar to yours.

We also explain how we’ve technically been producing TV in this new world. Skype is our way of bringing guests to our studio. That’s never been done in our program’s history. We hope our audience will forgive us. Conducting an interview via a screen isn’t that new, but it is for our purposes. I enjoy the face to face and you don’t have the same personal interaction and nuance that can happen when chatting over a screen. It is harder to read someone’s face and body language from that distance.

But that’s how life in TV is during Covid-19. I see several reporters and anchors now doing their work from basements, kitchens and other locations in their homes.

We keep wondering how TV will look post-Coronavirus for our industry. Will more content be filed remotely? Will there still be a need for flashy studios or will a book case and lamp work for most programs’ backgrounds for presenters?

Reporters have already been living into the remote-working world as they file the field. It was common to see a reporter sitting on a laptop at a rest stop, restaurant or coffee shop editing or uploading a story. The gathering of content is a little harder as the virus has posed limitations on meeting people for interviews.

Now forgive me, I get up early to claim some of the internet. I understand by ‘co-workers’ are going to play some Fortnite later today and that takes a bunch of bandwidth.

And I also know I’m fortunate to still be working full-time. We’ve also adjusted to having some school offerings at home. My inbox has now been filled with notes from teachers as they work through this new world order as well.

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