FGH is thrilled to have new partner Anne Gearan join us this week after a long career covering the White House and foreign policy for The Washington Post, the Associated Press and as a political commentator on NBC.
We asked her to share observations on how newsrooms are adapting to challenges brought on by the pandemic.
- Many major newsrooms are still largely virtual these days, with small contingents of reporters, editors, producers and others going into the office at least part-time. These are often younger staffers, along with some of the top leaders on the masthead. Much of the middle is still working remotely to no one’s satisfaction. There is a great deal of anxiety and frustration around remote work for reporters the same way there is for everyone else. Newsrooms are wonderfully collegial places and reporters miss being in them.
- Television was faster to return to what may look to the viewer like regular business. It isn’t, quite. Hosts are usually appearing on set but not all the time. Guests are more often remote. When on set, guests may be asked to arrive camera-ready to reduce the amount of contact with make-up and other staff.
- Washington had a different pandemic news experience than the rest of the country. Government never stopped and often was in-person. Reporters covering the White House, Congress and last year’s presidential campaign maintained some in-person work on their beats, even if their offices were shuttered. As coverage of the 2022 midterm elections gears up, political reporters are traveling for an increasing number of in-person campaign events and stories.
- The pandemic interrupted everything, but for most reporters it was both a life-altering event and an assignment. Every aspect of news coverage was affected, from procedural to editorial. Some changes are likely to outlast the pandemic, including a greater reliance on remote interactions with sources and institutions. So if you want to improve your relationship with a journalist, invite them to lunch. Chances are they miss you, too.