Local News Broadcasts Had On-Air Talent Working Remotely

Local TV news anchor is doing a report from his living room during COVID-19 pandemic
Artwork by Anthony Faust
Local TV news anchor is doing a report from his living room during COVID-19 pandemic

For operations that routinely tackled vicious crimes, inspiring community leaders, dangerous weather conditions, and heartbreaking sports stories, the coronavirus outbreak presented unfamiliar territory for the local news industry. The TV newsroom is typically bustling with writers, reporters, and producers working in close quarters, but the virus turned these into eerily quiet spaces due to social distancing measures.

Journalists had to adapt by working remotely, conducting interviews using extended microphones, and focusing on stories closer to their homes. They attended almost daily press conferences with governors and mayors giving up-to-the-minute updates on their pandemic responses. Rather than traveling together in news vans, reporters and crews went to stories separately.

Fewer people and technicians were asked to work in the studios and newsrooms to mind social distancing guidelines. Makeup and hair professionals started wearing masks and gloves when preparing anchors for the camera. Reporters had the option to decline an assignment if they felt it was unsafe.

Meteorologists and sports anchors started delivering their reports from their respective living rooms. Some stations had their anchors do the full news broadcast from home. It was sometimes a train wreck, but other times it worked surprisingly well, which was a testament to great production staffs and highly professional on-air talent. Some of the criticism of news—that it’s just robots reading teleprompters—went out the window when the personalities and realness of the people responsible for reporting the news came out.

The humorous element will be what endured from the pandemic era newscast. Everyday home situations played out in the background, while a frantic newscaster tried not to break on camera. The internet is full of clips like a mischievous cat knocking over a vase on the bookshelf, or a toddler running into the room asking if Daddy can play (‘Sure, Buddy, give Daddy just a minute, I’m doing the weather forecast for the half the state of Utah here.”). Those moments brought some brevity into the homes of the viewers during an otherwise hectic news period.

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About the Author

My life as a husband and father transformed during the COVID-19 pandemic. Sent home from work in March 2020, I've yet to return to the office. Adapting to the new pandemic world proved challenging for us all.

However, we managed to find silver linings. Drive-by birthdays brought joy to my kids' friends. I'll never forget stumbling upon a heartfelt hand-painted rock during my jog, reminding us that we're all in this together. Regular Zoom happy hours with close friends created cherished memories.

While quality time with my family was a blessing, we also faced hurdles. Assisting my youngest daughter with frustrating math homework on a poorly designed iPad app tested our patience. Both girls struggled with wearing masks during sports and school.

Sadly, witnessing COVID-19 being politicized and witnessing the closure of small businesses while the wealthy thrived was disheartening.

I wrote this book to document our experiences, learning from them and striving for better decisions in the future. Join me on this rewarding journey of resilience and growth.

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