How the Covid crisis has changed journalism forever

The global pandemic has changed the way we do so many things. Grocery shop, work, play sports and socialize… just to name a few. Covid has also had a major impact on journalism and storytelling. Some good.  Some bad. Both here to stay.

  1. Zoom Interviews:  Journalists have been doing Skype and Facetime interviews increasingly the last few years, but Zoom and covid have now changed the way reporters gather news. Don’t expect this to change even when or if the masks come off. News directors and producers have now made the decision that these interviews are broadcast quality.  While they don’t look great, even the viewer has become accustomed to the home-video style, grainy and sometimes out of focus interview. It will mean sources will be far more accessible. News teams will no longer have to pack up the car and travel to a location to get the interview, they can get it in minutes right from the comfort of their desks. Live interviews will be turned around much faster. It will free up news crews so they can work on other things. That’s the good news… now here comes the bad.  

Eventually news directors and executives will figure out (if they haven’t already) that they don’t need as many news team members to gather the news. Those interviews can instead be done by technical staff and producers and handed off to reporters or anchors more often. Stories and interviews will lack compassion, the human connection a reporter or videographer makes with the interview subject will be missing and that will leave a major hole in any newscast.  

  1. Fewer Journalists: Covid has hit the business world hard.  What’s one of the first things any business will do to save money when struggling, especially smaller businesses in smaller markets? Cut advertising.  That lack of money coming into news organizations will mean major cuts inside the organization.  We’ve already seen sweeping cuts across Canada’s media landscape in 2021. Even when the money starts to flow again, those jobs will not return. So that brings us back to #1. Fewer journalists and videographers means fewer in person interviews. The Zoom interview is the radio phone interview of 2021. News teams have an incredible skill to continuously do more with less… the future won’t be any different. 

The good news is the media landscape has changed so much, it’s also opened up other gigs for qualified journalists. The public appetite to get their news in new creative ways is growing. Things like podcasts, blogging and digital content. Journo jobs will be there even if they look a little different.

  1. No days off:  Your kids are sick and you need to take the day off? No problem! Just file from home!  Yep, we have seen journalists (and their cats, dogs and favourite books) for the last year as they work from home.  The precedent has been set. Great news for those trying to cut out the commute or work modified hours.  For others though, work/life balance will suffer.

Want to refuel your news team? PowerHouse Media offers the Journalist Reboot.  Contact us for details