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Read this: #132 - Pandemic Broadcasting, Remote Working and Freelance Precariousness

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#132 - Pandemic Broadcasting, Remote Wor…

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Hello and welcome to the media podcast Time Olly Murs lots of news, but just one story today as we reflect on the medias response to the global Corona virus pandemic broadcasters are changing their output to meet you demand and the precarity of being a freelancer plus use of the pandemic breaks inside the Big Brother house, the government's relationship to the media has changed since the Outbreak and in the media quiz we learn how to effectively work from home from some of the most celebrated writers in the world.

Just before we get going I just want to stay up top.

Obviously the world has changed dramatically since our last recording so

All here, hope that you are safe and well and still find a way to make a living through this crisis.

We are recording remotely today.

So you can anticipate some background sounds and awkward but we do have an all-star panel for you first up.

It is none other than the Guardians Media editor Jim Waterson and you are an agile tech-savvy kind of journalist.

How has the pandemic actually changed the way that you work? I'm already going mad after 2-days at home with my partner who is also running huffington.

Post from our front room as she posted your kill me if I use your name huffpost from our front room while we share one Wi-Fi connection so it's going great so good for news banned for learning so much respect anyone who can structure their day while being at home.

I have no self-control.

I keep forgetting.

I still have to do the work while sitting on my bed also joining us today.

Bristol and then talk to you never get to be on media podcast again, but hey remote recording has been the Salvation she was waiting for is digital editor at immediate Media Rebecca Messina hello Rebecca when we last spoke you were a news junkie, but you no working in lifestyle journalism basically, is this in good time for you? Yeah, especially right now is an amazing time.

I mean it's great for news as well.

Because people are glued to it, but also you know people are stuck at home.

They are going through their Instagram and that's where we like to get them and obviously you're stuck at home.

So you start thinking how can I improve and make it a bit less crap and that's where we come in we got all of the news website.

I think it's reasonable to call the Guardian your website Jim you'll see that the 10 most read stories are all about you know the schools shutting down and can children play with each other and you know what's the Chancellor announced today.

What are the things that people looking? What do they find Solace in when they're looking in?

Diminishing crossover at the moment actually, it's not just looking at how they can modify their home from home a bit more comfort and also do you know how do you separate your work life and personal life when they're basically happen again the same you know 5 M2 quality audio staff at home.

It is the MD of folder medium at digging hallowmas.

I'm here in Earlsfield today Ollie work from home all of us at folder media and fun Kids from home at the moment.

So lots of zoom calls every morning to colour catch everybody up and all of our presenters for the children's radio station fun kids and now working from home and we've got gear in all their houses.

So they can do their shows from there a podcast for kids who won't be in school.

Turnaround was that from idea to execution stuck at home available wherever you get your podcast we've been working on it for about a week or so, we thought that the announcement would come relatively soon about kids work having to study.

You're just be at home.

So we've been planning it for a little while but we have accelerated.

It's likely that launched on Friday impressively quick work actually, do you know what that's going to be Matt I don't really I don't know how much of its actually connected to some other plans CBBC and CBeebies had anyway.

I think they are going to think more about it as a as it not being a version of iPlayer a bit more being a sort of kids environment so probably be working on that already babe definitely try and clear.

Contents for it and yeah, we're talking to BBC and BBC sounds about were there any fun Kids material should go on their platforms to Engineering task and the general speed of BBC turnaround that this can't be something they can see just in the last week 102 there British podcast Awards the dates, so nominations are going to be live streamed on the 19th of May and we put the Awards back to play the 7th and Tuesday July 7th at the Roundhouse in Camden which were hopeful can still go ahead, but obviously will keep an eye on the news and see where we all are as a country.

Can I get into June like having two kind of make backup plan for the backup plans sportive everybody's in the same boat in some way or another so everyone's trying to help out where they can which is good, but there were still we still want to have a nice big ceremony.

Hopefully, it'll have lots of people there other than just me and Matt sitting in around house on her own on the 7th to the big glitzy award ceremonies gym that it is worth them going ahead with a pared-down version at all.

I mean just last night the RTS Awards went ahead supposedly behind closed doors the Olivier Awards are planning to do something in your lifetime achievement award and no one stands up in the room to say well done.

Think anyone cares right now today.

I mean.

Biggest things to be working about I'm not sure that a lot of these shows will be you know people will not be in the mood for them for several months will be a demand for innovative way of filling a time when we're all still stuck inside in the summer and secondly little B you know I think people will be starting to wonder what the business model is bad all of these things you need to be able to get planters in the room in order to make the events work financially and yeah as not as seeing that stuff the challenge most obvious change to a live audience scenario that we're going to see in the next week, what they doing Question Time on today without an audience on BBC one, but I guess you can sort of imagine.

How they do the questions remotely but and Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway is going ahead this weekend with no live audience on that big shiny floor Saturday night show I mean.

You know a live entertainment show and feel that sense with involvement but now I'm not even going to get that and also means they've had to cancel the finale which was going to take place in Florida Disney World that's not gonna be able to happen now.

So bring you to the programs.

Can we expect from the Public Service broadcasters in the weeks to come because it's not just repeated it.

They have shed new things as well.


We you will see every variety of coronavirus news coverage you can imagine but the things will be getting more limited.

You have the same release for lot of dramas and things but EastEnders has already been cut in half from 42 episodes a week to make sure it lasts at least a few more months before they run out of already film material.

I think the real thing is by The Summer in the autumn.

You're really start to notice those big holes in the schedule was just there isn't it isn't the stuff to fill it.

We might see some Rising Stars

The sense that we did with brexit you know perhaps you know the brexit cars guys for example.

Whether out of coronavirus there may be a journalist somewhere within BBC News who's that's a bit underexposed at the moment.

You might come through as possible, but I mean I think things that they really need to focus on is it's just making sure that they remain on here.

I think that's main focus rather than trying to be the breakout star about the cancellation of Victoria Derbyshire before but now temporarily suspended the show but presumably much on the Run left when they reinstate it is the right decision to take off shows like that politics live as well and those kind of musicians shows that aren't really the News Andrew Neil show etc.

All those on the news channels even on BBC2 sort of simulcast people just want the facts don't know they want they want the one big story and flip flipping off into features Auto

Things like the politics daily and all that kind of stuff.

I think people would sooner just have the regular news channel feed also it was easier to make and they can deploy different people to do the same sort of output rather than most shows falling apart over a couple of weeks if a few the production team become ill and now having to cover more ground staff either out on the streets of course or in the building.

How do you think they coping technical is a lot of people involved in the supply chain and it's causing a real headache at the moment.

You know newsrooms are generally able to work online and do everything digitally but when it comes to actually get the product out by a magazine or newspaper.

You know you are faced with the question of what do you do if the printer decided to suspend operations? What do you do if the distributors can't you know get the copies out there?

Buying them yeah and you think as well about the three sheets.

I mean it's bad enough obviously for the paper copies of the newspapers in newsagents, but the ones that rely on computers picking them up on the Tube retro evening Standard it's not going to look for them as well.

I suppose obviously there's a lot of effort put into the Guardians website but an equal amount of effort probably with the print edition of the new under normal circumstances.

I'm guessing that isn't the case now if your people picking it up well.

We really committed still at the moment to make sure it gets out and that still substantial number of people who buy the print newspaper every day can get their copy.

There is you know earlier deadlines efforts to make sure that copy is simplify.

The templates on the design pages and made easier to swap things into basically anything that can be simplified has been simplified to make sure that we keep getting the paper out because there's still still that desire in a print newspaper Newsroom to make sure that daily product gets out even when we're seeing the Enormous traffic on either side of a point of Pride as much as anything about in the wild that perhaps the general public don't I mean it is very obvious that we're recording this room only but you know if if you consume for example the Cambridge News I think I now operating completely virtually if you listen to Iain Dale on LBC you might not realise he's using at Home Studio generally action technologies keeping up with fun kids and all the presenters of doing shows remotely there's no one in our office particularly.

There's a lot of cloud-based operations for the radio station anyway and a lot of things.

Do you know the week? We do all do because that's how things have always been done and this has definitely the sensor producing things in a slightly different way.

It's actually would anyone like to suggest some online resources for writers for journalists that they can using that perhaps.

I don't normally well one thing that has amazed me.

Is is that seeing people not necessarily 9 using coming to terms with stuff that I put pretty obvious in terms of a chat rooms and stuff like that.

It's amazing to see how many news operations still run on email accounts and reply and things like that.

So getting yourself on Slack and stuff like that is a massive help, but I do think that this is going to heighten a lot of changes that are probably going to happen anyway, but we'll see places that will go to struggle or might have closed their print edition in a few years time bring it forward and just go right.

This is the moment let's let's go.

No, Newhall let's get rid of that thing that we're always going to get rid of under the cover of coronavirus.

I don't know if you saw the survey, but they did but 71% answers in the creative Industries said they were worried about paying the bills because of the coronavirus epidemic and that's because of you know Productions being cancelled and then being on freelance contract but you sort of thing yeah, OK Google resume again after the virus, but some of it is Jim suggest people might actually look at their balance sheets and say we don't need that.

I think something different way of working you to consider.

Is it a better way of work or the output that was produced had a people respond to it.

Do you need to do things the way that you did before and I think the biggest you lots of Media organisations is there going to be a mass decline in advertising and can those organisations? Can I keep going through the next 3 or 4 months the government of obviously talks about loans, but you said.

If you got a marginal business already and you're taking on x 300000 pounds of loans is that worth it? Would you ever have to pay back that money and that's going to be the the big thing for first smaller radio stations for smaller independent newspapers or other digital products that have been marginal bit of been existing off advertising ecosystem you having a lot of companies across the country gonna close, but it is a big threat to media when you're working from home.

I do miss my economics setup actually more than any more than anything technical I do miss my desk chair with it's like proper adjusted Arms actually say slack which I was very used to using where I was before the new company.

It's not such a widespread thing so it's been really good to add like get more people.

Using slack makes things so much easier and simpler especially when you've already got all your ordinary amount of emails coming in if you then had all the little things that normally someone would just ask you in person or call you when did ask if you got those emails coming on top then obviously it's very easy for it to get out of control so anything that can reduce the amount of emails coming in front of your eyes.

I think it's it's massive help so we were using slack quite a lot.

What's interesting with the zoom conference calls is actually more people are involved now in our daily meetings.

Cos we doing it all together and so ugly I think you more people suggesting ideas and getting involved in areas that they didn't normally get involved in an onslaught.

Can I following up with their own thoughts so oddly with more communicative as a company now split apart then maybe we would have been in the office and who do we think is going to have a good coronavirus in terms of media coverage.

I mean it seems to me if britbox doesn't.

Well, I think the BBC is just saved itself.

I'm guaranteed.

It's funding for the long-term in space for about a week and a half and we've got many many months of this to go.

I can't see any government the will to take an axe to the BBC after the level of audience attracting Anderson of commitment educational programming programming that already doing this is you know if you look at it in that way you they couldn't ask for a better crisis predicted on the last edition.

I mean this is Auntie be in county.

Is it absolutely can deploy people and Resources of even when a decent chunk then? We're going to be early or self isolating from home they built the systems to deal with the stuff and access to lots of.

About things that making at the moment, but historical material that can be Rica or repositioned to put to it and it really place in the strength of local radio as well doesn't look like it absolutely I think it away.

It's been a little bit of a over Renaissance for TV and radio news.

You know people are used to getting news online now, but it's none of them like this.

There's so much misinformation.

I think people are actually more especially because it's not really a political issue.

You know the people don't have that same distrust that they didn't know that we saw around the election.

I talked about it when I was on the podcast by the BBC and its election coverage only have that so much in this and I think people do then look again to you know traditional news sources rather than the them getting their news on any particular older vulnerable audience who are going to be staying at home as well.

They're not the most web survey of audiences either.

You'd much rather.

They got their news from from broadcast.

Maybe you know not to sound patronizing, but I think that TV and radio is obviously going to provide a lot companionship to elderly and vulnerable people who are not going to be getting their usual activity box but also Disney plus about to launch as well again.

You really couldn't think of a better time for them to launch the entire back catalogue of kids entertainment they own right now when the schools are closed.

I think the rise of Netflix on BBC iPlayer and what Disney plus is going to do is also gonna probably Accelerate the decline in linear.

Tell a time when linear television is she's important, but what are we seeing with seeing their the BBC specifically doing incredibly well on news current events live reflecting how the world is and then what's going to do well in the other side on the on demand end is is ketchup is a box sets is entertainment and that's probably a microcosm.

The way media and particularly television consumptions going to go and do a lot of coverage about whether or not whether or not the ISPs and people's home broadband connections and the likes of Netflix etc will actually be able to cope with the demand with the internet might break under the strain summit, but the issue is is really what happens when everyone is Home and we're still at the point where does a number of people especially in London in the Southeast working from home in Sutton tonight through that if we do get onto a full national lockdown.

You'll see the networks really working hard to keep keep themselves online but it also shows that this is there now crucial government of things but a country can't really function without so I'm sure the government will be looking at looking to put lot of pressure on them to keep going use been talking about maybe asking where do players to stream.

SD and stop doing 4K stop doing HD so that there's more to go around do we think that might happen? I think what will see is that the services themselves the HD or the 4K just working and you get delivered the stream that the network can compress cope with and also it shows about infrastructure you know Netflix but boxes in ISPs that cache contents and then just sit on so they're not sending everything from one mega server somewhere these services the been well battle-tested over the years.

I probably in a better position to do well now.

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Welcome back to the media podcast Rebecca Matt and Jim are still virtually with me the information about the pandemic is reaching us in this constantly shifting situation Rebecca Health Secretary Matt Hancock used the Sunday Telegraph to update us on the government response to covid-19 over the weekend, but that controversial comments to the Sunday Telegraph were there on social media where people thought it's not really fair for the Health Secretary to be kind of selling offers exclusive insights into the crisis to a paying audience.

The weather the conversation was even had you think that I got realise it was going to be behind paywall.

I think after everyone turned on they took it out from behind a paywall after about 10-minutes and I think it says less about the fact that the information was behind it and more that they didn't really think through how that looks even if you trying to reach the public to be quite frank putting an article in the Sunday Telegraph is not the way to reach a mass audience in this day and age so it is slightly unusual.

I think this week with these daily press conferences.

You've actually started to see a proper operation swing into gear where you get a single source of information on a daily basis dominating the agenda, but still there been very slow to knock down things that they later dispute and they don't seem to be capable of Keeping Up with the number of messages floating around on WhatsApp particular you use to cover politics more specifically.

How do you think the pandemic has changed the government's relationship with the media it all before about you know the changing attitudes to the BBC

Box a bit the more general even that there was a real suspicion of the media from this government wasn't there in a real sense to control particularly the amount the Boris Johnson was ministers on the delay programme love that that seems to be evaporated now, but the country is ever face than that it's not a time to be messing about with Bully the Today programme into giving you a few more minutes of whoever you want it is I think the magnitude is starting to sink in for everyone and this is going to live for many many many months and large numbers of people we know will die and that this is not a time to be messing about and frankly the BBC is delivering largely unfiltered promotion of government advice Corona crisis to a trusted out that and that is invaluable if you're a panic Downing Street operation and you know in some ways, this is his death.

Cancelling the BBC of them go look we can handle this guys.

We know what we doing here do people feel do the general public feel that there is enough cynicism about example the daily press conferences.

It's really important to get that news out there and cover the life of course it is but perhaps some of the question that used to be there you know some of the deeper work into what's the MPs were telling us is absent at the moment.

It is but I think what helps Boris and Co is a doctor with a cheeky medical spokesman, and a scientific spokesman standing next to him and obviously quite a lot of the time.

He's made me quite a lot of the time.

He's Fielding questions to either of those and I think people do trust you before if they do trust science and medicine to the tell us the truth and I think people are giving the Ben

The doubt to the government for the moment questions are there at the end and it's good that they keep those live as well.

I think what's interesting is that she's not a parliament but at the moment that will they'll be able to be allowed to be in there is another question there was some discussion today about are we heading for a sort of government of national unity because the opposition can't the existent and do it's job at a time like this.

Do you think televised press conferences should have started to know me.

I think they were using their regular PlayBook and hadn't really considered how to how to do this properly.

They're all obvious things want to start doing them and it's definitely working for them better than their initial press strategy database which is obviously the increase in anxiety.

We're going to see from people that are immersed in this coverage because it's on 24-hours a day and are self isolating and apps not seeing anyone and I'm worried about their health.

Where you think for some of those people you know I think about my 93 year old grandmother has been living in her flat by yourself or a week already you think God just stop listening to it.

Stop watching it because actually you are you are you taking me advice.

You are washing your hands.

There's a point of which this information is not going to help you really are absolutely prefer to know old Media doesn't spend time online well the newspapers are full of it all the TV shows are talking about it.

There's not really a lot of escapism available and yeah, you're right.

I think you know Talking a lot in recent years.

You know about mental health well-being etc.

And I think this is going to have a huge impact on people old and young really mean humans at the end of the day when we are social pictures were meant to be around friends and family so I think this going to have a frame long-term emotional ramification as well as an economic one.

You're seeing viewership boosts to some slightly nostalgic content there was Belgravia of course on ITV which is the new Julian fellowes thing and then they're sitcom studio Kate and koji going overnight ratings of 5 million viewers it does help if you trap everyone on insta, you didn't take them make the make them you no limit their options and get them watching TV again.

I think one of the strangest things if we're going to see incredibly high TV ratings as basically people don't leave the house as several months.

I mean daytime viewing alone is sort of up something like 100% already in that again as we keep saying it before the vast majority of people working at home to put music Radio 1 on today been listening to some Radio 1 good combination of songs of reflecting the nation and everyone you know working together and a bit of news on the hour on the half hour.

I think that's that's

A good mix if you want to get off LBC or Radio 4 for a while about the people who were the last to know about the global pandemic which is those locked in Big Brother still making Big Brother all around the world suddenly an eviction has a slightly sinister feel ASDA's introducing a new housemate, but that's the thing about Big Brother isn't there are two way and it is because you all think what would I do or I wish I was in there dilemma.

You know or should we tell them about the coronavirus? Is it definitely should?

What's the day with all themselves relatively safe in the house, but obviously concerned about their family and friends on the outside but obviously this is nothing you for the franchise.

I mean it was on Big Brother India that Jade Goody was told to add cervical cancer live on in Europe and here.

They are in Germany doing the same thing and the other thing is it's basically the plot of deadset.

Is it which is the Charlie Brooker thinking about 10 years ago and the Brazilian version resisted telling the housemates quite a long time they initially said they were gonna tell them but I think they have now you turned on that hotel room the film reactions that cyprian thing isn't it? That's what feels uncomfortable is is dressing up as entertainment the moment which you find out there's a global pandemic Big Brother then.

I think you know what you're into.

Where do we see this going not in terms of the virus obviously but in terms of the media.

What are your predictions for the next 3-months in our business, Rebecca

We're going to see the acceleration of the decline in premedia, which obviously has been a topic of conversation for you know well over a decade at this point.

I think it's a positive side to it though.

I think it's media companies to work more on the digital offerings to make sure that there are nice working cleanup versions of the newspapers and magazines cos that's been problem for a long time and I'll people who refuse to download certain apps.

Could they just arrange notoriously buggy and work so I think it's going to have I think you know although on the surface.

It might be a Decline and Times of I think we might be a corresponding improvement in terms of the glutinous and Efficiency of digital offerings gym.

I think it's going to be really bad.

I think it's going to be really really really grim for a lot of places that rely on ad revenue when advertisers don't have anything.

They want to sell in the short-term and you will see places really struggling with already seen that all of the freelance true who I know who work on TV documentaries.

You know the pays good when you got work and it's not when you haven't and right now.

They're looking at an empty summer so both on the human Element and on the corporate element.

It's going to be yeah, but just saying about the digital offering perhaps being slightly pimped up in terms of the way, it's presented to an audience.

Maybe that's the case with advertising as well.

I mean of you know you're not going to be selling as many cars and dishwashers, but perhaps you are going to be selling more hard on the digital products that people can buy from home and let you know maybe some streaming packages and some gaming adverts can take up the slide but when you think that's something like between the 20th and 10th of all ITV revenue is from holidays.

You start to realise the scale of what were up to hear you just have to watch any outbreak on TV or listen to Commercial radio to see and ask yourself.

How many votes is going to be selling match in the next 3-months so probably still quite negative actually local commercial radio revenues were down 15% year-on-year national held up pretty solidly local commercial revenue was probably gonna half.

I imagined in the next few months maybe maybe even worse and so the time when virtually stations are doing their best job representing their communities there.

They'll see that their core business model pretty much vanish, so the government bailing out a lot of things whether Media or local Media is something that they've still got money in the purse to to spend on will see her but I think it's going to be quite an attack on the business model.

The radio specific and that really wouldn't be the death now wouldn't we can talk about the different for very long time but actually commercial radio whilst we been talking about it has all been brought up by the big players the ones that I left position and to be honest.

I think it's the it's the stand-alone ones.

There are there in the worst worst position and the other national the national broadcasters other groups that now run local radio stations as national networks.

You're there on a path which will be completely hundreds of national revenue orientated Sileby Leicester to buy the changing local but they'll still be effective and you think of something like go but all you are too big markets are at radio and a chunk of that delivered locally and outdoor and I can't see outdoor advertising being the choice for many brands for the next few months.

1 results of the contagion risk is that the world has suddenly woken up to working from home at evidence by trending hashtags offering tips and advice God knows he needs actual tips to sit at the kitchen table on my laptop if you are going to take advice the Guardian compiled some of the best this week.

I'm going to read a quote from four of our most celebrated Writers on the nature of working at home all you have please identify the writer in question you wasn't with the answer to Rebecca you will say make this any less awkward then usual, let's go he's going on the one who said this of their approach to work when I was young not even a love affair with all to my schedule and love affair had to begin after Rebecca Rebecca Green

4 a.m.

And work for 5 to 6 hours in the afternoon, I run or swim, then I read a bit and listen to some music I go to bed at 9 p.m.

I keep this routine every day without variation that is it I can't read name.

Is it that Japanese Japanese keep thinking positive? I give you a full point where his qu-32 describe the routine like this if I could control myself online if I wasn't going to go down and Beyonce Google hole for 4 hours this wouldn't be a problem, but that is exactly what I'll do that.

I mean basically.

I think that's got this in the bag, but Jim I'm interested if you get the point here.

It was it was from the Guardian is ask.

I am very embarrassed that I know the red my own papers are school and have just finished.

The end of the Affair by Graham Greene quotes I mean it's going great ok.


You can bring it all back with this which novelist wrote these words in a letter to his wife awake at work until 8 eat breakfast at home work until 10 Walker flu walk a few blocks into town do errands return home at 11:45 and was in bed by 10 p.m.

Every night.

Go on Jim take a guess Shakespeare least we have a clear answer at the end of the show which is nicer to pick up all the strands for today voluntary subscription had to be Media

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