During this time of the COVID-19 pandemic, many journalists, producers, reporters and news stations work from home.
Mason White, a student reporter from The Connection at Cosumnes River College works for the news network, ABC 10. He is a Steady Camera Operator, Editor and Photographer.
“We have people at home, never in a million years would I think we would do something like this and now pretty much every station is in the process of doing it,” said White. “We were the first to do this out of all four major stations in Sacramento, 98% of our workforce is now at home.”
He said they created a mock studio outside their production garage and engineers had to download softwares, give a computer to a director and make sure directors were set to work at home.
“Everyone has got their own little station, we are practicing serious social distancing,” said White. “When we do need to come in contact with each other, there is hand sanitizer everywhere and wipes everywhere.”
White said that they have never done shows at home before and this is their first. He said that everyone is now at home working and he is one of the seven people that were selected to still attend physical work.
“That was the real moment for us, when everyone went holy moly this is really happening,” said White. “I know a couple of our employees, most part-time employees were very scared that they would lose their job. That is not the case, they are able to work at home as video editors. Even if they have the virus and can’t work, our company is taking care of you.”
White says the environment of the station is very quiet. He said he sits about 8ft away from everyone since you can’t get too close to anyone anymore.
“In the event that someone who still works in the building gets coronavirus which has not happened, we will immediately evacuate and we don’t go back in until it’s been deep cleaned,” said White. “We will move everything to our outside production garage which we have made into a mock control booth. One camera, no prompter and one anchor reading their stories with their iPad tablet.”
White said that he was not surprised that COVID-19 was announced as a pandemic, he said he saw this coming.
“My reaction was stronger when our news director came into the building and she said ‘Today we are going to start sending people home,’ and I remember saying woah this is for real,” he said.
White said it’s difficult not having everyone physically there. His biggest fear was how they were all going to figure things out.
“We do have all our people, producers, directors, and editors all on a massive Zoom,” said White. “Everybody is on Zoom through the entire morning, making changes, adding a story, dropping a story.”
White said the anticipation of the unexpected is the most challenging, not knowing what can happen throughout the day.
“This will change things in the future for sure, this will forever change what we do with communication and broadcast news.”