noun – INFORMAL •NORTH AMERICAN
irritability, listlessness, and similar symptoms resulting from long confinement or isolation indoors during the winter.
“a great energy-burning game for exuberant Cubs with midwinter cabin fever”
There is currently no definition for “pandemic fever” aside from what that obviously actually means. I’ve left the house once in the last 2 weeks, and since then the world has become even more strict on travel outside. If the world weren’t wrought to it’s current state by the COVID-19 crisis I would be doing my practicum in Lloydminster, but with most reporters working from home it was too difficult for the station to supervise any practicum students–and the place I had planned to stay had to cancel for safety reasons.
Currently I am learning from Global News Calgary producer Joanne Reid, which I am both grateful for and excited about. Production behind the scenes is one of my passions and hearing about what goes on in the production room in industry is really enlightening–especially in circumstances like this one.
Reporting is considered an essential service right now, which means reporters are given paperwork to avoid fines if they are found out and about currently. With employees and workers in such short supply, Global Calgary even had to purpose the Edmonton show as an Alberta update for the weekend of March 21/22. Calgary anchors and reporters still did cut-ins with local news, but Joanne said that there were still complaints. She added that this is the first time in her career that they haven’t had a show to put together.
Joanne says that the Coronavirus has caused a phenomenon where the news seems to be covering a single ongoing story with several angles each day–akin to press coverage of 9/11. Trying to come up with story ideas to help has been difficult, and the schedule that Joanne works on adds some complications–but depending how this next week goes I could possibly catch meetings if I rework my sleep schedule. It needs some re-ordering anyway.
I was unable to do a video call with Joanne and on top of that there has been an issue with my video editing software so I have no blog project to show for this week, however I’ve had time to absorb and assess information on media coverage during the crisis.
The last few weeks have seen a lot of projects done from home for reporters, and with a short amount of staff in production there are instances where the workload becomes a bit more difficult–whether you see it or not. Sometimes the prompter doesn’t work, and an anchor will have to be more reliant on paper scripts. Sometimes an interview will need to be changed to be more topical, something that Global News had to do Thursday in order to remain relevant with COVID-19 information: a nutritionist was going to be on the show, but now, via skype, she was giving tips regarding eating healthy in quarantine. The restrictions on live interviews seem to limit them to being done on the porch of houses rather than inside–speaking to people on the street requires handing them the microphone (a practice not often recommended) or coming up with a method of holding it like a makeshift boom mic.
The city is much quieter, making events like crime suddenly an even bigger story to cover in news because it’s local. It’s an event. Otherwise stories tend to focus much more on personal experiences of individuals trying to make a difference, or those effected by the pandemic’s change.
It’s been stressful for workers. When some of us convened to speak about our practicum experience we talked about how our locations and supervisors were dealing with the experience. Reporters suddenly have a lot more difficulty trying to make B-Roll, and students under them especially so as they are advised not to leave home. Anchors need to stretch material for longer with more to say in order to fill the same timeframe that would normally be filled by much more diverse news. Producers need to extend the bounds of local stories more. Burn-out is a much more prevalent issue than before.
Currently, my “homework” has been to rewrite scripts and type up web-copy as a demonstration of what I can do, as well as put together story ideas for the upcoming week. Hopefully I haven’t bombed that.