Even Working Remotely, WKSU Is Still Bringing You the Latest
Due to the disruptions the coronavirus pandemic has caused across the state of Ohio, working remotely has increased as a means of practicing social distancing.
Kent State University was one of the first Ohio colleges to move all classes online, causing surrounding businesses to do the same, like WKSU.
“WKSU began planning for potential disruptions at the beginning of March,” WKSU News Director Andrew Meyer said. “Within two weeks, it became clear that WKSU would need to take action on those plans.”
Since WKSU’s initial meeting, Meyer said that the WKSU program and operations department had been working to identify potential weaknesses in their plans in terms of knowledge, portability of hardware and software and remote connectivity.
“I was confident that the full-time members of the newsroom could pivot quickly and adjust to the plans where most of them would be working remotely,” Meyer said.
Lindsay Kuntzman Hilewick, fundraising and communications director, explained that for many of the full-time staff who are not based in the newsroom, they already had the tools needed to work from home.
“For example, my staff could access our database and e-marketing platforms remotely already,” Kuntzman Hilewick said. “But our IT team made sure everyone was comfortable with working from home – even going as far as to work one-on-one with individuals to ensure everyone knew how to do things like manage video calls through Microsoft Teams.”
Fortunately, working remotely does not affect WKSU’s ability to program through its various content streams. Meyer explained they have a great degree of flexibility in working just about anywhere to continue to produce audio stories for on-air use, the website and social media platforms.
“We start every day with a news call where we talk strategy for covering the events of the day and identify the other stories that we or our listeners feel are worth pursuing,” Meyer said. “After the news call, I touch base with the program director and general manager to review what’s in the news pipeline, discuss programming and operations.”
From that point on, Meyer is in his home office/studio editing reporters, coordinating coverage, recording interviews, contributing web content and social media posts and doing anything else that needs to be done.
There are times when a WKSU employee may need to visit the office which is where press credentials come in handy.
“Currently, every full-time member of the newsroom has two documents they keep with them at all times– just as a precaution,” Meyer said. “One of them is a WKSU press credential, identifying them as a member of the WKSU newsroom. The second is a document on WKSU letterhead, written and signed by the station’s General Manager declaring that the bearer of the letter is on assignment for WKSU, performing essential Journalistic or engineering work for the station.”
At this time, the press are listed in the Governor’s stay-at-home order as being exempt from the order in carrying out essential duties.
“These documents would be helpful if any questions arose from law enforcement about our need to be out and about,” Meyer said.
Although its WKSU-generated content is being done remotely, there are still three on-air staff members who have to be in the building for their shifts.
“While there is an overlap between them,” Meyer said, “everyone has their own studio space to work from.”
Despite working remotely, WKSU will continue to bring the latest news coverage to homes across Northeast Ohio.