News workflows are collaborative. Whether it’s meeting around a conference table each morning to discuss what will be covered that day, reporters talking to assignment editors about a story or the give and take between an anchor and a producer about how to treat a given news item on air, much of the news process depends on person-to-person interaction.
The COVID-19 pandemic, however, upended those interactions. Many broadcasters have taken their morning editorial meetings virtual with the help of video conferencing tools like Zoom and Slack. Stations have instructed reporters and news photographers to work from the field and seldom return to the station where they might have a face-to-face with an assignment editor.
Many anchors have set up shop at home, working from living rooms or dens to limit possible exposure, but in so doing, have changed the nature of that give and take they otherwise might have with producers in the newsroom.
However, it seems the jury is still out on whether these virtual substitutes for in-person collaboration are good things or not. At least that’s the impression I have from a couple of recent projects I’ve taken on while wearing my other hat with TV Tech as the managing editor of broadcast-related custom publishing. Tv Technology