COVID-19’s Impact on the Media & What That Means for Businesses

A lot has changed in the world over the past few weeks and local reporters have been out there keeping the public informed every step of the way. Unlike other moments of crisis, though, the COVID-19 pandemic has also changed the way they conduct their work. At the same time and very much like past inflection points for culture and society, the changes made by the news media now could very easily linger long after the current crisis itself.

How Newsrooms and Journalists are Changing the Way They Report

As new paradigms of social distancing, self-quarantine and remote work kicked in, many newsrooms followed suit. As one Little Rock reporter put it to us, “we’re trying to practice what we preach.” Studio guest appearances were cancelled and non-essential personnel packed up to work from home. That included sales staff and non-news focused personnel, but in many cases it included reporters as well.

Just as the rest of us were getting real comfortable with video web conferencing platforms and background distractions from children home from school for an extended period of time, reporters were adapting too. Some local reporters haven’t physically been into the newsroom for weeks now and conduct editorial meetings via video conference like the rest of us. 

The transition is easier for some, like newspaper and radio reporters who are used to conducting interviews remotely when they have to, but the transition is more pronounced for local TV reporters where the medium often requires them to be out on the scene and working face-to-face. For some, that transition has meant keeping that polite social distance for interviews (opting for a shotgun microphone vs. a lavalier microphone that has to be physically attached to someone) and for others it has meant conducting video interviews online over Skype, Facetime, Zoom or other platforms.

Even network news outlets who had tentatively banned Skype and Facetime video interviews from their broadcasts over quality concerns make exceptions when it’s the only option to speak with a key individual. Even locally, though, we can now expect that those video conferencing interviews will no longer be an exception, but rather become the rule. 

How Businesses Need to Adjust to Work With Reporters Virtually

There’s good and bad that comes with any change, but one thing for sure is that such a transition to more virtual reporting will mean more work for individuals and businesses being interviewed. Instead of relying on a TV reporter to come to you and setting up a great camera shot and handling audio settings, now the interview subject will have to take on a lot of that work. Rather than enjoying the ease of a high-quality radio or studio interview, you need to start thinking about how you can make your remote audio sound MUCH, MUCH better than a phone call so those reporters are inclined to keep calling back.

Someone being interviewed also needs to think about what they look like on camera in a whole new way. Standing up straight and making sure your tie isn’t lopsided won’t be enough. If you haven’t done a lot of remote video interviews, here are a few tips to make sure you look your best:

  • Raise the camera on your laptop or smartphone until it is roughly even with your eyes. Otherwise viewers will be looking up your nose.
  • Lighting matters. Webcams and smartphone cameras provide very low-quality video in low light. The solution is adding more light. Set up a couple of lamps on either side or better yet, set up the camera next to a window so you benefit from natural light.
  • Think in sound. The microphones built into your computer or smartphone are omnidirectional and great for conferencing, but not ideal to isolate a single voice. It works if that’s all you have, but a dedicated microphone will make a big impact.
  • Consider your background. Messy office? Straighten it up, turn the camera around or move somewhere else. That mess will distract viewers from what you’re saying.

You also need to think about B-roll, all that additional video a reporter records in order to transform your interview into a larger produced story. If you’re on your own, in some cases you need to consider how your team can provide that B-roll for the media. 

And be sure to take this next note seriously because it comes from a lot of experience coordinating super high-quality Skype video interviews with international news media. The sources who can provide the highest quality video, audio and insight with the least amount of trouble are the ones reporters will call back time and time again.

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How These Media Changes Could Become the Norm Beyond COVID-19

As a culture, every time we change we learn something new. We also start to develop new habits. In this case, newsrooms are learning how they can better manage remote teams of reporters and other journalists while still delivering an outstanding news product. At the same time, reporters are exploring new ways to leverage video conferencing and streaming technologies (which have improved dramatically in just the last few years) to become more productive and expand the scope of what they can accomplish. Even after the world returns to some sense of normalcy, those lessons will linger and we’re all likely to see whole new ideas and styles of reporting emerge on the other side.

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Are You the Next Rock Star on the Ghidotti Team?

The Ghidotti Team is overflowing with full-fledged rock stars. Sure – we’re looking for the best, brightest, most creative, most organized. You get the picture. But what we REALLY want is someone who we can laugh with, depend on, learn from and do great work together. Learn more about who we’re looking for and what you can expect.

Ghidotti is currently hiring an Agency Administrator! 

Agency Administrator Job Description: 

This is a part-time role providing overall administrative support to our CEO and Account Supervisor, and assisting with basic human resources and monthly accounting responsibilities. 

For this role, you’ll need to work in our downtown Little Rock office and be required to submit between 25-30 hours a week within the operating hours of 8:30 AM to 5 PM. On occasion, there is a need to work additional hours on evenings and weekends during a client launch or other events throughout the year.

While repetitive daily/monthly tasks are certainly part of this position, additional tasks assigned can vary from week to week based on the CEO’s needs and the needs of the agency. The most important responsibility of the Agency Administrator is to ensure that administrative tasks and projects are completed with a high level of efficiency, confidentiality, accuracy, flexibility and positivity.

REQUIREMENTS: 

  • Bachelor’s degree preferred. 
  • Minimum of 2-5 years experience in the related field, dealing with financial information.
  • Must be able to use Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel, Quickbooks and Google Suite.
  • Must be able to multi-task and possess excellent organizational, communication and interpersonal skills.
  • Basic knowledge of bookkeeping.
  • Must be able to use office equipment (copy/fax machine).
  • Effective verbal and written communication skills.
  • Detail-oriented and willing to tackle various ongoing projects in a fast-paced environment.
  • Excellent multitasking skills, with the ability to perform duties outside of the scope of work when necessary.
  • Must work well within a cross-functional team environment as well as independently.

Main Responsibilities

Human Resources

  • Provide support for hiring and onboarding of new employees 
  • Run bi-monthly payroll reports for intern/contractor payment
  • Coordinate new hire benefits and HR paperwork (health insurance, simple IRA, etc.) and enter into the payroll system. Plan yearly renewal meetings and update all payroll items.
  • Provide general responses to employee questions and requests on HR procedures, policies and information.
  • Process miscellaneous billings for payment & vendor management.
  • Responsible for keeping the Employee Handbook, HR policies and other HR information current and updated with the team. 

Accounting

  • Manage obligations to suppliers, customers and third-party vendors
  • Process bank deposits
  • Reconcile financial statements
  • Prepare, send and store invoices
  • Weekly expense reporting and time entry on behalf of the CEO
  • Contact clients and send reminders to ensure timely payments; Identify and address discrepancies
  • Report on the status of accounts payable and receivables twice a month
  • Update internal accounting databases and spreadsheets

Office Management/Leadership Support

  • Assist with presentation and client meeting set up; working with vendors 
  • Collect and prepare information for use in discussions/meetings of the agency leadership team and outside individuals. 
  • Assist CEO with volunteer activities – making calls, organizing catering and meetings in partnership with vendors. 
  • Management of client contracts/retainers – working with the account supervisor to ensure annual planning and timely renewal of contracts. 
  • Varying personal and professional administrative tasks including, but not limited to, booking appointments, research projects, coordinating travel, maintaining breakroom daily, maintaining storage organization and ordering office supplies, etc. 

Rock Star Environment

We strive to create a fun, engaging atmosphere where high fives, chicken minis, and celebrations are commonplace. We lift one another up, honor achievements and reward hard work.

  1. Professional Enrichment

    Whether instructor-led, web-based or sharing during Fireside Friday, we are always learning more!

  2. Community Engagement

    We love the state of Arkansas. Our team enjoys outings to locally-owned businesses and pride ourselves on community involvement. In addition, employees are often offered free tickets to community events to get out and enjoy life with friends and family.

  3. Team Building

    Quarterly adventures for the team!

  4. Winter Recess

    We shut this place down at the holidays so we can all rest, relax and reinvigorate for the new year.

  5. Summer Fridays

    We get an early jump on the weekend every Friday during the summer.

  6. Volunteer Time Off (VTO)

    Along with your PTO, you also get VTO to use to support your favorite charity or organization.

Does this describe you?

To apply, please submit the following via email to careers@ghidotti.com

  1. Cover letter and PDF of your resume 
  2. References: 2-3 minimum
  3. Tell us how you heard about this position