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

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#132 - Pandemic Broadcasting, Remote Wor…

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 breaks inside the Big Brother house, and how the government's relationship to the media has changed since the Outbreak and we learn how to effectively work from home from some of the most celebrated writers in the world.

It's all to come just before we get going I just want to stay up top.

Obviously the world has changed dramatically since our last recording so we all 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 pauses as we do.

Star panel for you first up.

It is none other than the Guardians Media editor Jim Waterson and tech-savvy kind of journalist, how has the pandemic actually changed the way that you work? I'm already going mad after two days at home with my partner who is also running huffington.

Post from our front room as she has posted your kill your name off post from our front room while we share one Wi-Fi connection so it's going great so good for news banned for sanity.

I am 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, but she moved to Bristol 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

News junkie, but you no working in lifestyle journalism basically, is this a good time for you? Yeah, especially right now is an amazing time.

I mean obviously it's great for new people glued to it, but also know people are stuck at home Instagram and that's where we like to get them and obviously you're stuck at home.

So you start thinking how can I remove this and make it a bit crap? That's where we come in we got all of the news.

I mean if you go on the website.

I think it's reasonable to call the Guardian your website Jim see the 10 most read stories are all about you know the school 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 interior furnishing well as crossover at the moment actually, it's not just escapism people looking at how they can modify their homes from home a bit more comfort and also the well-being side.

You know how.

Decorate your work life and personal life when they're basically happen again the same you know 5 square metres at home.

It is the MD of folder Media Matt Deegan hallowmas.

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

So lots of zoom calls every morning to 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 all the houses to vacant do their shows from there and I won't be in school 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 or just be at home.

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

It's slightly and that launched on impressively quick work as part of the BBC response to all this kind of stuff a whole new iPlayer experience for children that I don't really I don't know how much of it is actually connected to some of the plans CBBC and CBeebies had anyway.

I think they are going to think more about I say as it not being a version of iPlayer a bit more being a sort of kids environment.

So they probably be working on that already babe definitely try and clear more content and yeah, we're talking to BBC and BBC sounds about whether any fun Kids material should go on their platforms to.

And the general speed of BBC turn around that this can't be something they can see just in the last week's radio another thing I should ask you.

Where is the British podcast Awards cost of all the dates so our nominations are going to be live streamed on the 19th of May and we put the Awards back to July 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 are as a country as we can get in.

Yeah, what a ball like having two kind of make backup plan for the backup plans.

Is 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 have lots of people there other than just me and Matt sitting in the Roundhouse on her own on the 7th glitzy Awards ceremonies gym, but 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 can be Olivia you planning to do something right now.

I'll 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.

There will be a demand for some innovative.

Filling a time when we're all still stuck inside in the summer and secondly will be you know.

I think people will be starting to wonder what this model is bad a lot of these things you need to be able to get panthers in the room in order to make the events work financially and as not as seeing that stuff to challenge the most obvious to a live audience scenario that we're going to see in the next week, what they doing Question Time on tonight without an audience on BBC one, but I guess you can sort of imagine.

How they do the questions remotely but Rebecca Ant and Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway is going ahead this weekend with no live audience on that big shiny floor Saturday night Show live entertainment show in feel that sense of involvement, but now I'm not even going to get that and also means they 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 it's going to be very very new to the program.

Can we expect from the Public Service broadcasters in the weeks to come because it's not just repeats is it they have scheduled new things as well.


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

You have the same release schedule for a lot of things but EastEnders has already been cut in half from four to two episodes a week to make sure it lasts at least a few more months before they run out of already fill material and I think something 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 brexit.

You know perhaps you know the brexit cast 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 suddenly come through.

How many 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 the main focus rather than trying to work out who's going to be the first to hear about the cancellation of Victoria Derbyshire before but now temporarily suspended the show but they might be much on the left when they reinstated the right decision shows like that politics live as well and those kind of music shows that aren't really the News Andrew Neil show etc.

All those on the news channels and even able to 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 or two things like politics daily and all that kind of stuff.

I think people would sooner just have the regular news channel feed also it's easier to make and they can deploy different people to generate the same source.

Put rather than most shows falling apart over a couple of weeks if a few of the production team become ill and having to cover more ground with fewer staff either out on the streets of course or in the building.

How do you think they're hoping to get Super technical 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 getting the 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 and also if people aren't going to find them yeah, and you think it's all 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 Metro

It's not going to look at them in the garden as well.

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

I'm guessing that isn't the case now if you would be picking it up well.

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


Are you know earlier deadlines efforts to make sure that copy is simplified at temple on the design page is 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 the still that.

Newspaper news room 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 if you have noticed that perhaps the general public don't I mean it is very obvious that we're recording this room only but you know it if you consume for example the Cambridge News I think I'm now waiting completely virtually if you listen to Iain Dale on LBC you might not realise he's using her own studio generally actually technologies Keeping Up with the kids and 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 that we 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.

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 an unusual but in others come 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 operation still run on email accounts and reply all things like that 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.

We see places that were going to struggle or might have closed print edition in a few years time bring it forward and just go right.

This is the moment let's let's go online only or 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% of freelancers in the Creator

Said they were worried about paying the bills because of the Corona virus epidemic and that's because of you know Productions being cancelled and then being on freelance contract but you sort of thing yeah, ok, some of this will resume 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 somebody a different way of working you do consider.

Is it a better way of working or the output produced? How 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 massive decline in icing and can those organisations? Can I keep going through the next three or 4 months the government obviously talks about loans, but you should think so if you've got national business already and you're taking on extra £100,000 of loans.

Is that worth it if you ever have to pay back that money and that's going to be the big thing for first small.

Stations for smaller independent newspapers or other digital products that have been marginal but should have been existing off near the digital advertising ecosystem a lot of companies across the country gonna close, but it is a big threat to media to be different 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 properly adjusted Arms actually yeah, put some 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 interested and using 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 you just phone or something.

Coming on top then obviously 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 this is a massive help using 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 quite a few more people suggesting ideas and getting involved in areas that they didn't normally get involved in an onslaught kind of following up with their own thoughts so oddly with more communicative as a funny now split apart then maybe we would have been in the office and who do we think is going to have a good Corona virus in terms of media coverage.

I mean it seems to me is britbox.

Doesn't work now.

It never will I think the BBC is just saved itself and guaranteed.

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

I can't see any government having the

Will have to take an axe to the BBC after the level of audience attracting Anderson of commitment educational programming programming, this is you know if you look at it in that way you they couldn't ask for better crisis predicted addition.

This is on TV in county.

Is it absolutely deploy people and Resources of even when a decent chance that we're going to be early or self isolating from home they built the systems to deal with the stuff and access to content of both the making at the moment, but historical material that can be Rica or repositioned to put to it and it really place in the strengths of local radio as well.

Doesn't look like it absolutely.

It's been a little bit of a of a 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 online.

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

You know the people don't have that same just trust that they didn't know that we saw around the election who talked about it when I was on the podcast before about the surrounding the BBC and it's 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 online older vulnerable audience who are going to be staying at home as well.

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

You'd much rather.

They got their news from from broadcast 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 you know socialite.

I mentioned but I'm 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 with their own then right now in the closed.

I think the rise of Netflix on BBC iPlayer and what Disney + going to do is also going to probably Accelerate the decline in linear television linear television is shooting important, but what are we seeing with seeing their the BBC specifically doing incredibly well on news current events live reflecting.

How old is and then what's going to be on the other side on the on demand and is is ketchup is a box sets is entertainment and that's probably a microcosm of the media and particularly television consumption is going to go and do a lot of coverage about whether or not whether or not the people's home broadband connections.

Netflix etc will actually be able to cope with the demands of the internet might break under the strain something she 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 certain jobs that need to do that if we do go onto a full national Lotto and you'll see the networks really working hard to keep keep themselves online but it also shows that this is there now crucial government tool you know these things a country can't really function without so I'm sure the government will be looking at looking to put a lot of pressure on keep going use been talking about maybe asking where do players to streaming and stop doing 4K stop doing HD so that there's more to go around that might happen.

I think what will see is that the services themselves the HD or the 4K just stopped working.

Did delivered the stream that the network can compress cope with and also it shows about infrastructure UK Netflix put boxes in ISPs that cache contents and then distribute it on so they're sending everything from one megaserver some where are the services the been well battle tested over the years.

I probably be in a better position to do while now ok will be more media news, but just the one story really after this in India there is one eye doctor of every 70000 people making it difficult to get access to iCloud password for his health creating a portable ice cream device which uses Microsoft AI to bring IKEA to the people technicians capture photographs of a patient's retina and ice creams for weather risk of blindness in the treatment, they need and powers healthcare At

Whatever you call money.

Give your team that how to spend and grow your business birthday with so you can dish out and controls prepaid virtual and physical card receipts that app and everything together into existing accounting software managing your company's spending is easy with sold-out find out more at Joe's podcast Rebecca Matt and Jim still virtually with me about how the information about the pandemic is reaching us in this constantly shifting situation Rebecca Health Secretary Matt Hancock the Sunday Telegraph to update us on the government respond took over 19 over the weekend, but that proved controversial information.

The gist of it you can access on in lots of sources, but his specific comments to the Sunday Telegraph yes that Colin was only accessible to subscribers which obviously created quite a stir on social media are people so it's not really fair for the Health Secretary to be kind of selling offers exclusive insight into the crisis to a paying audience.

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 think this week with these daily press conferences.

You've actually started to see.

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 in particular.

You use to cover politics more specifically.

How do you think the pandemic has changed the government relationship with the media we talked before about you know the changing attitudes to the BBC might be put back in the box a bit but more generally than that.

There was a real suspicion of the media from there was a real sense to control particularly the amount the Boris Johnson was even where he was seen ministers on the programme.

Love that that seems to be evaporated now facing a crisis that the country has ever faced and that is not a time to be messing about with trying to bully the Today programme into giving you a few more minutes of whoever you want it is I think the magnitude.

Just thinking for everyone and this is going 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 deliver largely unfiltered promotion of government advice 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 definitely a Samsung the BBC of them going look we can handle this guys.

We know what we doing here do people feel do the general public feel Matt that there is enough cynicism about example the daily press conferences is really important to get that news out there and cover the live but perhaps some of the question that used to be there you know some of the depo work into what's the MPs were telling us is absent at the moment.

It is but I think what helps Boris

Is a doctor with a chief medical spokesman and a scientific spokesman at 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 I think what people do trust you before if they do trust science and medicine to the truth and I think people are giving the benefit of the doubt to the government for the moment and the questions are there at the end and it's good that they keep those live as well.

I did what's interesting is this not a huge amount of Parliament covered 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 going for a sort of government of national unity because the opposition can't really exist and do it's job at a time like this.

Do you think the press conferences should have started to know man.

I think they were using their regular PlayBook and hadn't really considered how to how to do this properly at all obvious things once you start doing them and it's working for them better than their initial press strategy which is obviously the increasing anxiety we're going to see from people that are immersed in this coverage because it's on 24-hours a day and all self isolating and apps not seeing anyone are 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 herself for a week or you think God just stop listening to it.

Stop watching it because actually you are you alright.

You've taken the advice you washing your hands.

There's a point at which this information is not going to help you really are absolutely right.

It is absolutely impossible to get away from you know even if you sort of person who prefers you 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 we've been 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 creatures were meant to be around friends and family so I think there's going to have a frame long-term emotional ramifications and economic one is one of the reasons why you're seeing dealership boosts to some slightly nostalgic content there was no gravy records on ITV which is the new Julian fellowes thing and then their second studio sitcom Caitlin koji scoring overnight ratings of 5 million viewers well.

It does help if you trap everyone on insta, she didn't make the make the you no limit their options and get them watching TV again.

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

Time during a loan is sort of up something like 100% already and that again as we keep saying it before the vast majority of people working at home from the best things to do to put Radio 1 on today but listening to some Radio 1 a good combination of songs of reflecting the nation and everyone you know working together bit of news on the hour on the half hour.

I think that's that's a good a good mix if you want to get off LBC or Radio 4 for a while.

I'd like to briefly about the people who wants to know about the global pandemic which is those locked in Big Brother live on here.

I think it's great.

I think it's the perfect Big Brother story isn't it suddenly an eviction has a slightly sinister feel as does introducing a new housemate.

That's the thing about they are locked away and it is interesting because you all think what would I do or I wish I was in there is if the Producers winsome ethical dilemma.

You know or should we tell them about the coronavirus? Is it definitely should I think they would have been far more of an outcry have they not been told I mean obviously they were all themselves relatively safe in the house, but obviously concerned about their family and friends on the outside, but it was on Big Brother India Jade Goody was told she had cervical cancer live on it is it's basically which is the Charlie Brooker thinking about 10 years ago quite a long time initially said they were going to tell them but I see.

You turned on that but whether they film their reactions that the premium thing isn't it? That's what feels uncomfortable is is dressing up as entertainment the moment 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 the acceleration of the decline in print Media which obviously has been a topic of conversation for over a decade at this point.

I think it's a positive side to it.

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

Could they just a brain authority buggy work so I think it's going to have.

Although on the surface it might be a decline in terms of I think we might see a corresponding improvement in terms of the penis and Efficiency of digital offerings because I can't afford to have you log off basically.

I think it's going to be really really really is that rely on ad revenue when advertisers don't have anything that they want to sell in the short-term and you will see places really struggling with already seen that all of the freelance through.

I know work on TV documentaries as good when you got work and it's not when you haven't and right now.

They are looking at an empty some so both on the human elements and on the corporate element.

It's going to be really rough it up in terms of

Presented to an audience maybe that's the case with advertising as well.

I mean obviously 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 optimism and that you know maybe some streaming packages and some gaming adverts can take up the slack but when you think 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 handbrake on TV or listen to Commercial radio to see and ask yourself, how many votes companies going to be selling much 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 but the local commercial revenue is probably gonna half.

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

They'll see that their core business model vanish, so if 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 spend on will see but I think it's going to be quite an attack on the business models for the radio specific and that really wouldn't be the death and I wouldn't even talking about that very long time but actually talking about it has all been brought up by the big players the ones they left a very precarious position and to be honest.

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

There are there in the worst position of the National the national broadcasters other groups that now run local radio stations as national networks are there on a path.

Will be completely hundreds of national revenue orientated, so I'll be less affected by the change in local but they'll still be affected and you think of something like go but all you are too big market radio the trunk of that delivered locally an outdoor and I can't see your outdoor advertising being the choice for many brands for the next few months just enough time to squeeze in our legendary Media quiz 1 results of the contagion risk is that the world has suddenly woken up to working from home evidence by trending hashtags offering tips and advice God knows he needs actual tips to save a kitchen table on my laptop, but if you are going to take advice the Guardian compiled some of the best this week.

I'm going to read a quote from for celebrated Writers on the nature of working at home all you have to do with identify the writer in question.

You was already know the answer to Rebecca you will say.

And Jim use a remote recording is done.

Nothing to 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 lunch.

He is growing up at 14, then.

I keep to this routine everyday without variation that is it I can't read name.

Is it that Japanese in Japanese

Control myself online if I wasn't going to go down and Beyonce Google hole for four-and-a-half hours this wouldn't be a problem, but that is exactly what I'll do that.

It was Lady Smurf is that what you said yes speaking on the women of the hour podcast 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 I am very sorry that I know the red my own papers article and have just finished reading 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 5:30 work until late breakfast at home work until 10 walk of flu walk a few bucks 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

It was Kurt vonnegut the winners at least at least we have a clear answer at the end of the show which is nicer to pick up the Strand play my fantasy Rebecca Messina Jim Morrison and Matt Deegan all year round you catch up with previous episode to get you want as soon as they're released by subscribing website BPM production until next time in India there is making it difficult to get access to eye care that which you.

To bring I care to the people technicians capture photographs of a patient's retina and so those at risk and the treatment they need a ion powered healthcare At

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