Year in the Bubble: How 4 News Now journalists covered the pandemic

SPOKANE, Wash – A visitor log in the front lobby of the KXLY Broadcast Center tells the story of how quickly life changed when the pandemic hit. The last person to log in as a visitor for our TV station and six radio stations signed his name on March 10, 2020.

Shortly after, everything changed. Friday, March 14th, department heads gathered to hear the marching orders from the company: get as many people out of the building and working remotely as possible – and, do it by Monday.

A year later, some of those people are still working from home and have not returned to their desks. It’s a reminder that our industry, like so many others, was forced to pivot in a dime to keep everyone safe.

You’ve seen so many of these changes along with us. You’ve watched our reporters in the field working in masks and doing interviews over Zoom. You’ve watched our news anchors from their kitchens and basements and living rooms. You’ve met our kids and our pets; you’ve seen us in our slippers and our “fashion mullets” – ties on the top, shorts on the bottom. You’ve stayed with us through technical difficulties.

What you haven’t always seen is what’s happening behind the scenes. Like so many in our industry, I never could have imagined we could produce entire newscasts from outside of the building.

Our radio stations worked through the challenges as well. Many of them are still broadcasting from home, but the quality is so good, you’d never know.

We do all of this for the safety of our employees and the community.

As more people are slowly coming back to work, that dedication to safety has not changed. Our employees wear masks at their desks and new barriers separate us from our co-workers. Even if we are in the newsroom, we don’t gather for meetings in our conference room; we have those meetings over Microsoft Teams.

Through all of this, we have had our own illnesses, our own isolation, our own quarantine and our own losses. When we said at the beginning “We’re all in this together”, we meant it. We’ve all gone through this – and, will continue to go through it – together. We appreciate that you have trusted us; you have reminded us why local journalism matters more than ever.

Thank you for spending this Year in the Bubble with us. We hope to see you IN PERSON someday soon.

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