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We’re capable of so much more than we thought. It’s the undeniable headline of the response by local broadcast newsrooms to the coronavirus pandemic. What’s not so clear: Will we learn — and retain — its lessons?
The range of disruptions to newsrooms is now well known. From workplace safety and access, to creating home studios and working remotely, to solving the technical challenges of video sharing and broadcasting, the pandemic has impacted almost every aspect of reporting.
Remarkably, workarounds have been developed for just about every one of these challenges. Whatever the “new normal” eventually turns out to be, we can already say with confidence: We won’t simply return to the old ‘business as usual.’
Savvy news leaders are already taking inventory and asking: What crisis-forced innovations should stick, long after the worst of the pandemic is over? Which of the myriad workarounds should become the new, standard workflow?
Two big themes have already emerged: Many of the things we considered to be ‘rules’…weren’t; and, we’re capable of far more transformation — faster — than we thought.
Which of these forced adaptations should be preserved and incorporated in whatever becomes our ‘new normal’? Based on conversations with local news leaders and also those who track and measure news audiences, here are seven I believe must survive.
1. Question the “Rules” of News
“That’s not how we do things here” is a way of thinking that’s been exposed as a false crutch, and for that we should all be thankful.