‘The show must go on…’

The new ‘normal’ in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic means seeing TV journalists reporting from home in front of well-stocked bookshelves and listening to radio presenters broadcasting from makeshift home ‘studios’.  We catch up with Forbes’ Angela Antetomaso to find out how she’s adjusting to life in lockdown.

Firstly, tell us a bit about your day-to-day role and what the biggest change has been for you since the virus hit.

I work as a TV presenter and adjusting to the new reality of staying at home hasn’t been easy. I host my own weekly show with interviews to guests in the studio. Before the lockdown, to make sure we’d be able to broadcast for the rest of the month, I recorded a few different shows in advance. I had to be a bit generic while discussing the impact of coronavirus on the economy but I have to say that so far it’s working fine – and this is allowing us to air my show on time every week.

Everyone is adapting to WFH being the new ‘normal’ – what’s the biggest impact of remote working on your newsroom/the outlets you work for?

A few colleagues who present daily shows are going to the office once or twice a week and, like me, are recording in one day a few different shows that will then be broadcast daily. They will now be doing this regularly, probably once a week.

Most of the editing, when necessary, is done at home. For example, I’m thoroughly reviewing my show and writing down the editing sheet (ie. if there is a cut or an adjustment to make), specifying the exact timing of the cut. I email it to the Producer, he makes the cuts and then sends them back to me to review. Once he has the green light from me regarding all the various editing cuts, he sends me the whole show to review and I’ll give the final ok before it airs. It’s a bit of a longer editing process but easy to adjust to.

What technology are you finding useful to help you do your job?

We depend on technology more than usual now that we’re at home. Some of the most useful tools at the moment are Skype, Zoom and Facetime: they allow us to communicate easily and to make sure we respect social distancing. A few colleagues are also recording interviews and/or entire shows via Skype or Zoom, so that they don’t have to ask guests to go to the studio. I think this is going to be the future of TV…at least for the next few months!

You normally spend a bit of your time each year reporting from all over the world – how are you coping with the UK being locked down for the foreseeable future?

That’s already been a big change for me and I guess it’ll be even more of a challenge in the future. I travel very often, sometimes several times in a week, and obviously that won’t be possible for a while now. Other than hosting my own TV show, I also present and chair events: after the initial shock of having to completely cancel all events and gatherings, some people are now starting to organise webinars and online events, so that people can join remotely rather than personally going to the venue. I’ve already started to chair events via Skype or Zoom, with guests connected remotely as well, while the audience can follow the event as they comfortably sit at home.

Are you finding it harder to pin down sources and get interviews?

Considering that now everything is done remotely and everyone is working from home, in a way it’s easier to find guests who are available since they can talk to the TV presenter while they’re at home rather than having to come to the studio. From this point of view, I’d say no issue at all.

What would be your advice to any PRs selling in stories over the next few weeks? 

I would probably just advise your clients to be careful and to never go to a TV studio…but feel free to offer remote interviews with guests, we’ll be happy to oblige!

And finally, is there anything PRs can do to support you and help you do your job?

Not really sure at this point in time, since we’re all adjusting to a different way of working and it’s still new for all of us..but I’d say it would be good to keep the relationship with the media going and not to be overwhelmed by the latest developments if possible. The show must go on – and we all must endeavour to keep on going as before, even if forced to make some (necessary) adjustments.


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