Dawson – Practicum: Week 3

I’ve been putting my blogs in the wrong place for the last two entrees. Hopefully this is the right one this time, otherwise I’m a lot worse at this whole thing than I thought. Tell me if I should move the old ones to the same spot I put this one in. Unless it’s wrong.

With the weather getting better, it’s been easier to leave the house to walk the dog, though the paranoia of keeping distance from people is still always at the back of the mind.

I compared show line-ups with my supervisor this week, getting tips and tricks regarding how what is put where in industry. Setting a line-up is mostly the same, as is timing (so good news, everyone in simulation next year). With the current state of the world I had lined up the show in blocks of COVID-19 news, a break, local news, another break, national news, a final break and sports by the end. Small tips like what to use as a kicker, what to drop and why (Joanne and I agreed on what would be dropped, but for different reasons–naturally hers made more sense than mine).

They now have a dedicated live feed-in for skype at Global Calgary, and I imagine that’s the standard across most stations. It sits right next to the live feeds, which are the only stand-ups I’ve been seeing on television lately.

We had our first last class of the program on Friday with Shane, and even though I’m getting emotional thinking about it, it was definitely difficult to put that feeling together for me at the time. Communicating through the screen doesn’t elicit the same empathetic response that you’d feel face to face. We can’t do “one last hug” or anything like that. It all has to be digital, and it’s hard. I miss that feeling, and I miss the class–inevitably when everyone has taken off in their careers I’m probably going to be the one that sets up a deliberate reunion–and that might be the first time we get to see each other in a group since the quarantine started.

It’s a strange concept to try and wrap your head around.

Dawson – Practicum: Week 2

This week was much more steady than the last. I spoke to Joanne two more times while also “completing” a reporting pack (shoutout to Shane McQueen).

Joanne mentioned that burn-out is becoming an issue with some positions at Global that are now over-worked due to a shortness of staff. Alongside changes in schedule to accommodate the overworked, health and safety conditions specifically to maintain social distance were added–including a plexiglass barrier in a circumstance where equipment could not be moved.

Preparation for Easter weekend was really interesting to see, since there were large groups making efforts to maintain tradition between families visiting each other outside windows, on a digital landscape, or resigning to being unable to meet up this year. My pack was on Church efforts to keep a service, and on Easter weekend I saw other reporters doing a similar angle in their local spaces on Global National as well as Cami Kepke’s pack in Calgary.

Filming B-Roll that day was a bizarre experience, because taking a drive through the city seemed like a much emptier experience. When I was at the scene of a shooting, watching a police officer speak to a passerby was less of a one-on-one interaction due to maintaining social distance. There was also an abundance of reporter packs airing this week wherein the subject’s microphone was on the end of a mic stand or other long shaft in order to keep distance. It looks a bit strange compared to an arm, but the same principles of framing seem to apply which leads to some funny shots of what would possibly be an arm all the way across the edge of the screen if we were in a non-pandemic time.

I’ve also noticed fewer stand-ups, if any at all in packs nowadays.

I think that slowly the media landscape is getting into the swing of things, with shows now making extra segments dedicated to uplifting stories as well during the difficult time. We talk about the role of the media a lot during the pandemic and I think that it’s important to recognize that there is now a line to straddle between keeping people informed and maintaining morale for viewers as well. There’s still terminology that I would say is a bit extreme like “continues to climb” regarding numbers of cases or deaths–which is a serious matter, mind; however with how Alberta seems to be managing we’re doing well as a province. A death is a death, but I wonder if saying “relatively slow” regarding the rise in cases and fatalities in the province would be considered incorrect.

I’ll include a link to my pack here, but due to some footage issues I need to ask the aforementioned Shane McQueen about it first. Remind me!