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Very different year

Last month, one of my colleagues, Courtney McClure, wrote a column about what it was like to be interning at this newspaper during a pandemic. It made me think how much my job as a reporter has changed this year, in order to adapt to the current situation. I’ve been working at The Standard Newspaper for over five years, and during that time I’ve never experienced a year quite like this one, working during a coronavirus pandemic. One thing this situation has taught me is, just how productive I can be while working from home. I admit, in the past I would only occasionally work from home, feeling skeptical about my focus level, and the amount of work I could get done while being at my house, rather than in The Standard office. But, now that I’ve introduced working from home as a regular part of my work week routine, I’ve found I can get more writing, and other related work, done than I expected, while sitting on my couch at my Janetville house. Virtual meetings, and telephone and email interviews have helped me stay in touch with sources and what is going on in the local communities. With less events happening this year, I’ve actually been able to write a lot more hard news stories than I have in past years at this time. This pandemic has made me appreciate the small things I haven’t had a chance to do, or have done very little of, this year. Those who’ve read this column before know one of my favourite parts of this job is talking and interacting with people in our coverage zones, and I do miss being able to do face to face interviews with people, or just having a conversation with someone on a chance encounter around town. In a normal year I would usually be taking photos of things like cheque presentations, political announcements, and local events and celebrations. But instead, this year I’ve had to think of creative options, for the most part, to find photo opportunities during this pandemic. I even miss being able to physically attend council meetings. Coverage wise, it’s been a new challenge, having to keep up with daily updates from the provincial and federal governments on this ongoing, and ever changing situation. I’ve done my best to make sure all information in stories is the most up to date as possible. Although, I don’t think I’ve ever had a year where I’ve covered and written about this many federal and provincial press conferences. Since we are talking about the pandemic, I’ll just let readers know I’ve been doing well health-wise, so far this year, staying healthy. It’s been a very different year for sure, like nothing I’ve experienced before. I look forward to when Canada is able to return to some semblance of normal, but until then, I encourage people to continue to follow physical distancing and to do their best to stay healthy.

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