Irony of furloughed journalists just when we need them most

The coronavirus crisis is undoubtedly the biggest news story since… well, ever!

Everyone has been affected by it in some way or other, be it personally, professionally or socially.

As a communications agency, it has been intriguing to watch the media’s role over the last few demanding weeks.

Now more than ever, we need a robust and responsible British press to give us the facts without agenda or slant.

However, the output of the news institutions we have come to rely on has often been compromised by this pandemic.

Because like the many UK businesses that have lost their livelihoods, furloughed journalists across the country have discovered that perhaps the pen isn’t mightier than the sword.

Of course, the likes of Beth Rigby (Sky News), Laura Kuenssberg (BBC) and Robert Peston (ITV) have become staple diets on our television screens.

But what I have missed are the championing regional reporters asking the questions we are shouting at the TV from the comfort of lockdown? Why isn’t someone asking some of the blindingly obvious points being made in LinkedIn threads?

Here at 8848, a key part of our business is communication and we’re fortunate to have six former journalists on the team. We know the importance of the right words, as well as the power of the press. It’s not quite business as usual at the moment, but we still have a job to do spreading the word of clients and supporting them during the crisis.

And the national news agenda is an important part of that support, as it sets tone and tempo and dictates the mood of the country.

As such, in the absence of daily newspapers (I’m staying home), here are my Top 3 pandemic news sources – my go to channels for stats, info, comment and human interest.

No1 – Piers Morgan

Love him or loathe him (I love him) his relentless pursuit of answers is uncompromising and incomparable. He understands that his responsibility as a journalist is to ‘get the story’ – which, what, where, who and why. No flattery, no fluff and definitely no fear. He asks the questions WE want answers to and pushes and pushes until he gets them. Let’s be honest, his 7.4m twitter followers can’t all be wrong!

No2 – Twitter

I’m of the Friends Reunited generation and while I have moved with the times because I have to, some platforms still leave me cold. But not twitter – oh no, this genius little connector is without doubt my first touchpoint when seeking breaking news and the general mood of the nation. Not what I use for keeping in touch with friends, and obviously now superseded by image and video aps. But for actual news it is unbeatable.

No3 – The pub group chat

I really miss the pub, everyone all standing cheek by jowl offering their tall stories and pearls of wisdom. So much did we miss it that the regulars at my local set up a pub group chat! Yes, our WhatsApp pub group has enabled us to bring this horrible news story right to our own doorsteps, with shared stories of who has it, who knows someone who has it, whose partner works on the front line. Human stories of horror, sadness and tears but also of survival, spirit and success – the stories that our local and regional journalists should be sharing… if only they hadn’t been furloughed.

At 8848 Agency, we are a team of channel-hopping communications experts. To find out more about how we can enhance your PR strategy, get in touch today.