Work from home: How Indian media is trying to keep staff safe from coronavirus

Indian Express, Times of India, News 18, Scroll, Quint, News Minute, and Newslaundry have put in place social distancing measures.

ByNL Team
Work from home: How Indian media is trying to keep staff safe from coronavirus
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With the total number of Coronavirus infections in India hitting 112, the government is emphasising precautionary measures to combat the pandemic. Schools, colleges, cinema houses, and gyms have been shut in many states, and people have been urged to practice social distancing as much as possible. The Indian Premier League has been postponed till April 15, much to the dismay of fans.

Amidst the scare, companies such as Google and Paytm have asked their employees to self-isolate and work from home.

Media organisations too have initiated work from home protocols. While it’s easier for digital media organisations, it is slightly complicated for traditional newsrooms given the elaborate production chain, be it designing and printing a newspaper, or shooting TV news shows.

Even so, the Indian Express, Indian Today magazine, the Times of India, and News 18 are some of the Big Media organisations that have moved fast to announce work from home measures.

New media organisations like Scroll, Quint and the News Minute have also completely or partially shut offices for now. Here’s what we know of the measures being taken by these organisations after speaking to some employees there.

News 18 announced work from home stating that it was a precautionary measure. The channel has also suspended two of its shows that are production-heavy — Bottomline and Brasstacks, which are hosted by managing editor Kishore Ajwani and output editor Zakka Jacob. Regular news bulletins will replace these shows for the time being.

The Quint has mandated work from home for its entire editorial and non-editorial staff. Department heads and those employees who don’t travel by public transport will, however, be attending office. The Quint office would also be spraying air disinfectants. The office surfaces, handles and keyboards would be disinfected twice a day. The News Minute, which is headquartered in Bangalore, has shut its office with employees working from home. Scroll’s Delhi office has been shut, while employees in its Mumbai’s office have been encouraged to work from home. The office would, however, remain open for video editors and other staff that depend on office machines.

At the Indian Express, reporters are at liberty to not come to office and report from remote locations. The desk, which is typically in charge of editing and designing the newspaper, meanwhile, has been split into three groups. Two of these will function out of the newspaper’s offices whereas the third would work from home.

The Times of India and the Economic Times have asked their reporters to not come to office, and file stories from wherever convenient. The desk would work on-site but its members would be made to sit apart.

At Newslaundry, too, we have put in place such measures. Our reporters and editors will work from wherever is convenient. But video editors who need to work on office machines will continue to work on-site. They will follow every precaution and safety protocol.

Social distancing is one the key measures we need to implement to counter the spread of COVID-19. This means closing schools, malls, canceling mass gatherings, working from home, and ensuring self-isolation to flatten the curve. This is all the more important in a country like India with a high population density.

Also see
Coronavirus is coming for you. Act now
Social distancing: What it is and why it’s the best tool we have to fight the coronavirus


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