webinar480Monday 15th June
webinar, 15:30 - 16:30 CET 

How life in our regional newsrooms has changed during the Coronavirus outbreak was the subject of our Newsrooms in a Pandemic – Sharing how life is changing webinar. Designed as a forum for editors to share the challenges they’re facing, it provided an opportunity to hear about the different solutions teams have been trying.

One of the main themes to emerge was that of managing people who are divided between home-working and coming into the newsroom. Sometimes it can be difficult to really understand how it’s feeling for those at home. While those at home might not appreciate the difficulties of working under the new restrictions of the newsroom.

But solutions were plenty; one station was working a ‘week-on, week-off’ rota, with teams flip-flopping shifts. Another editor was setting up social gatherings online so staff could have ‘non-editorial’ conversations. Others were stepping up communication, designating people as ‘Work from Home Champions’ to touch base with staff to make sure they were OK. And another had sent presents to those at home to cheer them up. Everyone agreed, the people-side of the job was more important than ever.

Another theme was around how the crisis has kick-started innovation and creativity in many stations. Some output had stopped, but there have been new programme strands with a different editorial focus as well as new ways of news-gathering and different physical arrangements in newsrooms. "Don’t waste a good crisis!” said one editor. And the evidence is that painful as it sometimes is, there are a lot of new ideas emerging that may help in the future.

Of course, what that future looks like, no one knows. But editors discussed whether some of the things learned during this crisis could be useful for the future. Most online meetings now start on time. Perhaps some meetings could stay online even after social distancing ends? Changes to how we work, the number of people we use and the speed at which we think of stories might all help us work more efficiently in the future.

The webinar finished with editors sharing advice on how best to look after yourself. "Don’t always show your busy side!” said one. "Delegate more!” And from another editor, “Remember, everyone is anxious, even if they don’t show it. So be kind to each other.