(WWLP) – The digital team at 22News has a big responsibility to provide fast, accurate and timely news to WWLP.com. During the coronavirus pandemic, the newsroom took steps to provide social distancing for employees. Read about our team…
Ashley Shook – Digital Manager
To kick start the work from home procedures, I have been working from home since early March. It may seem easy to sit in front of a computer everyday, but throw in a daughter who just turned 5! She has her Minnie Mouse desk set up right in my office and will quietly do school work for about ten minutes until she wants to do something else. Keeping her busy while I’m working for you has been a challenge but she knows I enjoy providing the news to our online viewers! We can’t wait until the virus goes away so we can see our friends and coworkers again! ❤
News stories are also provided by our sister stations from all over the U.S. Although a lot of the content that is being shared to our website is about COVID-19 in other states, we also stay in contact with every station if breaking news hits a national level.
Stay up to date, download the WWLP-22News app, we also provide push notifications for live news, weather, traffic and more!
Download the weather app for the daily forecast interactive radar, and even instant weather alerts for your location announced by the 22News Storm Team Meteorologist Brian Lapis!
Nick DeGray – Social Media Manager
I am responsible for the flow of content through our social media accounts. I manage and schedule posts throughout the day on Facebook so that you are receiving the latest news on your feeds. I am not alone though, as everyone on the team works to post on social media. I focus on special projects such as photo and video editing that we post on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
While our content producers work from home, I continue to work at the news station. There are a few essential parts of my job that still must be done physically. Everyday we receive satellite coordinates from the Boston news stations so that we can provide you daily the Governor Baker COVID-19 updates. I move the satellite dish everyday to the exact spot using computers in our Master Control Room. I also route our cameras in the field to our livestream. We stream content such as Mayors and other government officials announcements, weather through our live cameras, and breaking news content. We stream on our Facebook account as well!
I also help communicate between the tv producers and the web content producers at home so that we all aren’t working on the same stories. Communication is the most important part of our job!
In my 26 years at WWLP I have filled many roles including videographer, LIVE truck operator, and tape editor. Currently, I am the producer for the 22News Investigative Team (I-Team) and our public affairs program, 22News InFocus, and a member of our digital team.
Originally, I was asked to work from home for two weeks, but one week in and I was called back. There are just some jobs that require people to work in person. I found working at home to be difficult. For me, it’s easier and helps with my productivity if I can have quick access to co-workers without having to call, text or email and wait for a response. Also, my home computer just can’t keep up with the volume of work that I do in a day.
As the 22News I-Team producer I receive many calls and emails with requests for investigations. With the advent of the COVID-19 crisis, those requests have tripled. Every morning the I-Team voice mailbox has many messages from concerned viewers, and I receive anywhere from 75-100 emails a day.
One of the biggest COVID-19 stories in the state is right here in western Massachusetts: the health crisis at the Soldiers’ Home in Holyoke. The I-Team has been working on this story every day in an effort to report the most current information available. We also have been working many leads and requesting information from the state as part of our on-going investigation into what happened at the facility to cause such tragic consequences.
On 22News InFocus our topics have been COVID-19 centered. Each week we’ve been presenting 2-half hour programs, interviewing guests via SKYPE. We usually record the programs on Thursday afternoons, where viewers can watch them LIVE streaming on our web site at WWLP.com. The programs air on 22News Sundays at noon. They are also posted to our website for later viewing as well.
When there is breaking news I am part of the newsroom team that jumps into action to get the most current and accurate information to share on air and online, on all devices. I also contribute daily stories to the web and social media.
As a 26-year journalism veteran, it is important to me that we gain and keep our viewers trust. 22News is the number one news outlet in the region for that reason. We are hard working professionals that make every effort to bring you the most up-to-date and verifiable accurate information, every story, every day. Thank you for watching.
Working from home is definitely much different from working at the station because what we do day to day is crucial to keeping the newsroom afloat especially when there is breaking news, but I’ve tried my best to try and keep my routine the same. I move to different workspaces in the house throughout the day to keep comfortable and focused and even purchased a new laptop because my other one was too slow to keep up with my daily multi-tasking. It’s also been a plus to be able to make breakfast every day and even work outside on the nice days.
To keep up with the ebb and flow of the workday and with the urgency of breaking news, my coworkers and I still keep in touch with each other as well as keeping in contact with coworkers who are still at the station, and local police and fire when we need more information for a story.
It’s not the same being able to have my two-monitor setup and our screens behind us that tell us what our viewers are clicking on but I’ve felt more creative working from home. I’ve been trying to come up with new creative stories for our viewers, especially feel-good ones that temporarily take everyone’s mind off of what is going on in the world.
For example, an employee from Baystate Medical Center won her battle against COVID-19 and was able to safely return home and the Westfield Police Department paid tribute to a retired officer battling stomach cancer by surprising him with a parade. Did you have a parade drive-by? Email us your video and description of the event to email@example.com.
It’s definitely not the same working from home, but my dog Lambo has done a great job of being my new coworker and I think he’s thrilled I’m home. I’m eager to get back to the busyness of the newsroom though and to see my coworkers once again, but for now, I will continue to effectively bring our viewers the content and news they need every day from my home office.
Working from home because of a pandemic is something I would have never imagined happening in my lifetime, but here I am! I was the last 22News content producer to work from home since early April. Being the only member of the digital team on the night shift, I had to ease into working from home to make sure things would go along smoothly.
Since the Covid-19 outbreak in western Massachusetts, I’ve been able to work with members of my news team such as 22News anchor and I-Team reporter Mike Masciadrelli to break stories like the Covid-19 outbreak at the Soldiers’ Home in Holyoke.
I’ve also followed up on reports of millions of masks ordered by the state that were seized at a New York port in March, which resulted in the governor reaching out to the New England Patriots for help through untraditional channels to bring much needed supplies for hospital workers in Massachusetts.
I like breaking news, politics, and fun stories!
Since working from home, I’ve managed to create an at home office, an in-home gym, and I’ve been cooking and making some of my favorite (cheat day) meals, all on my own!
Through it all, I’m still making calls to local police departments, bringing you news from state departments, and city officials, following up on news tips sent through ReportIt@wwlp.com, and keeping up with national news that affects our local viewers.
Working for You while staying safe!
Where do I even begin? Working from home has its perks, but it is definitely not the same from being in the office. I am so used to waking up around 3:30 a.m. to prepare for my 4:30 a.m. shift, however, being home allows me to get a little extra more sleep and I love it! It’s going to be a hassle getting back to my normal routine once this pandemic is over, but I’ll enjoy it while it lasts. Because the digital department mainly works behind the camera, I am able to relax in my sweatpants while still delivering the latest news to you!
While staying home, I’ve been able to focus on mini home projects to stay busy after my shift. I’ve redecorated my room, successfully done extra cleaning, created a station area where I can work, and enjoy beautiful hikes! Luckily for me, I work an early morning shift so I am usually off at 1:00 p.m. I am currently in grad school so having an earlier start on homework after my shift is a plus!
My co-workers and I still keep in contact with a useful group chat system called Microsoft Teams. Even though it’s not the same as sharing laughs in person, it’s still really nice speaking to them, sending hilarious gifs, and it’s also a great way to maintain a smooth workflow in the department. I still miss them and can’t wait to reconnect in person.
Other than the environment change, my work routine still remains the same. Every week I speak with 22News Morning Anchor Taylor Knight to get the inside scope on ’22News Top 3 Stories of the day.’ It’s been a great way for our viewers to keep up with the latest news each day during the COVID-19 pandemic. Our station has been and will continue to work extremely hard providing extensive, important, and useful information as quickly as we can. Stay safe everyone!
Tell us how we are doing or email us your news tips, videos and photos ReportIt@wwlp.com
Digital First news content is stories posted to WWLP.com before it reaches on air and may include expanded information.