An editorial chief has urged journalists working for a regional publisher to get out “on the road” while they are based at home.
Archant chief content officer Matt Kelly has issued advice to the company’s editorial staff based on his own experience of working out of a studio flat while a district reporter on the Liverpool Daily Post.
Matt, pictured, said in an email to Archant staff he was inspired to offer the advice after editors raised concerns “that the longer we work from home as a routine, the less cohesive we feel as a team”.
Some journalists have returned to working at the company’s Norwich and Ipswich offices after lockdown restrictions were eased, but the majority are still working remotely due to the coronavirus crisis.
In the email, which has been seen by HTFP, he recalled his own experience of remote working as a 19-year-old on the Daily Post where “without the daily guidance, encouragement, cajoling of a news editor, and the camaraderie and support that comes with being in an office, I found motivating myself very difficult”.
Matt added: “I share this because I’m sure there a number of you out there feeling a little demotivated and discouraged by the extended absence from the office environment, especially if you are less experienced and still finding out for yourself what kind of journalist you really are.
“If so, you won’t be alone, I promise. So, a few suggestions on how to ride out the storm until normality returns. Talk things through with your editor today and let she/him know that you’ve found it tough going. Discuss how you might be able to get together more often as a team.
“There’s no one-size-fits-all solution, but editors are there to mentor and help you fulfil your potential as reporters. Use them.
“Spend as much time out on the road as possible. Reporting is not a desk job. The more face-to-face (or mask to mask) contact you have with our readers, the better.
“Your presence will make them feel we are an important and valuable part of their community and you will inevitably come across great stories, or at least get a better feel for the story you’re working on.”
Matt went on to urge reporters to “set the agenda” and “make life better” for the communities they serve, and encouraged them to implement the Pomodoro Technique time management method.
He added: “Remember these are weird times. They will pass soon enough and we will be in the blessed position of being able to take the best of home working and the best of office life. But until then, keep the faith.”