Editorial offices are now a desert

This coronavirus pandemic has rapidly accelerated the transition from the traditional press to the web, a process that was already gradually on-going to give full priority to the “digital first” model.

The moment came for us, forcing us to change all work schemes and to atomize our newsroom, so that most of the staff, including bosses, could carry out their ordinary tasks from home.

For the first time, such catastrophe that prevents the physical presence of editors, photographers, journalists, designers and assistants has led the newsrooms to become literally deserted, as a precaution to massive infections.

We quickly had to configure an emergency strategy so that only a minimal group, exposed at all risks, was in charge of covering the latest news, adding value to our digital content and debugging the stories destined for the printed platform, now necessarily reduced in page count and with restricted circulation due to the state of emergency and partial quarantine of the population.

Now the bosses instruct the news hunt to be through conference calls or internal chat messages, then they’re revised, corrected and sent to designers who operate from their homeplaces, then this personnel also put together the templates and post them online, and then the editors think for a headline and organize the illustrations.

Nobody could imagine that a newspaper could even be printed under this dramatic deficit of staff in the newsroom, but the strong commitment of the press to inform and guide our society could not waver in the face of any adversity.

This abrupt change has posed a challenge to the press’s ability to reinvent itself and seek ways to continue looking for the news, verify them and avoid spreading falsehoods at all costs at the same time, and then make them reach the preferred public in a massive way. The digital platform now carries the optimal range.

In a way, it’s heroic work to produce the newspapers and even keep the essential elements of content and design in this given case of minimum face-to-face staff, all while earning no profit due to the major drop in advertisings and circulation.

For us, the greatest turn in front of this crisis without historical parameters is to serve our readers with professionalism and veracity, and the most valuable reward is the trust and support we receive back as a huge encouragement to continue reporting, with or without an unprecedented pandemic gravitating over our heads.

– Translated from Spanish by Randy Rodriguez.