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.

In the Account Supervisor position, a staff member will be responsible for assisting and managing the public relations, content marketing, digital media, account services and/or creative/strategy for clients. This position requires fully developed specialty skills, a strong understanding of the industry landscape and an understanding of client priorities and objectives.
  • Serve as the account strategist/lead and oversee/play a clear leadership role on at least three clients.
  • Manage the implementation of work plans and ensure client deliverables are successfully met on deadline.
  • Play a leadership role in the sales process by identifying additional services to sell to existing clients and assisting with RFP responses, new business proposals, presentations, etc. with senior leadership or independently.
  • Display a strong understanding of and effectively communicate Ghidotti’s service offerings to existing clients.
  • Successfully supervise at least one junior staff member, including providing guidance on their professional growth.
  • Begin to play a role in the agency’s marketing efforts, guiding aspects of certain campaigns and/or helping to execute in their areas of expertise.

Account Services: 

  • Play a clear leadership role in the planning and execution of integrated marketing campaigns for clients.
  • Develop and write comprehensive strategic marketing plans for clients.
  • Handle vendor contracts and ensure proper billing.
  • Demonstrate a clear track record of successfully meeting deadlines and timelines.
  • Handle day-of logistics on behalf of clients, responding quickly and effectively.
  • Assist in providing leadership and professional development on client relations, helping team members improve their skills in managing conflict, presentations, sales, etc.

Client Strategy: 

  • Develop or oversee the visual content creation for client materials, including e-newsletters, website content, digital campaigns, marketing collateral, etc.
  • Oversee the development of marketing materials and branding campaigns.
  • Manage creative marketing campaigns on behalf of clients.
  • Demonstrate a clear track record of leading brainstorms, and providing and implementing creative ideas for proposals, presentations, etc.
  • Continually provide new and ‘fresh’ ideas for proposals, new business proposals and current clients’ marketing campaigns.

Apply for this open position by emailing Bethany Siems at

Experience in public relations, content marketing, digital media and influencer marketing is a must, but here is what we really want in a fellow Rock Star. Don’t let it scare ya – we just have high standards!

  • You anticipate every move of our clients and us.
  • You dream of ways to crack the Instagram gold mine in your sleep.
  • You are resourceful.
  • You are humble.
  • You know what needs to be done because it just comes naturally.
  • You are accurate. Every. Single. Time.
  • You take our vague guidance and get it done.
  • You are fast, yet error-free and awesome.
  • You care about every single, tiny, little detail.
  • You follow instructions.
  • You know you are extraawesome, and totally own that.
  • You meet deadlines even when you only have minutes to do it.
  • You can handle your own drama. Better yet, you don’t have any.
  • You have a life outside of work that you love and nurture.
  • You loathe micromanagers and don’t need one.
  • You love learning new things.
  • You sing karaoke and have “that song” when you really need to bring it.
  • You ask questions when appropriate. (Basically, you don’t ask us how to spell someone’s name because you know how to Google as if your life depends on it).
  • You treat our clients and your team members with respect.
  • You are funny.
  • You are caring.
  • You are a good friend and co-worker.
  • You are creative and think of winning marketing ideas in your sleep.
  • You love writing award entries. Like it’s your job!
  • You are resourceful. It’s so important that we’re mentioning it again.

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?

Apply for one of our open positions or just send us an email letting us know why you should be part of this Rock Star team. Email