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The Communicator


Being a journalist in the quarantine era

Lesly Salazar ('16)

Alumna Lesly Salazar works from her kitchen table.
Working from home has worked for Lesly Salazar, who covered her kitchen table into a desk with a laptop and pasta boxes.

A first-person account from alumna Lesly Salazar ('16 Journ), who works for WJLA-TV (ABC7) in Washington, D.C.

The COVID-19 pandemic has altered the lives of millions of people around the globe, and I am no exception. Journalists are considered essential employees, but there are plenty of us who aren’t physically essential, while many others are.

I’m an essential employee who has the luxury of working from home, and luxury it truly is. It does, however, come with a couple of downsides.

One of the hardest things about working from home is missing out on the urgency of news. The assignment desk, producers and digital team all communicate via Slack and email, and breaking news doesn’t register the same way when you’re alerted with a *ding* rather than a loud voice yelling in a newsroom.

Another struggle is staying awake. I work during the early morning shift so I start work at 4 a.m. Before the pandemic, I would get sleepy spells once in a while, but I get much sleepier than I used to. It probably has to do with the fact that I know my bed or a comfy couch are just feet away. I like to drink ice-cold water to keep me awake.

Besides those two cons, there are plenty of pros. There’s nothing quite like being able to work in your PJs every day and eat whenever you want.

My typical work week used to require one to two tanks of gas. Now, I fill up once every three weeks.

I spend more time with my closest loved ones, and I also get a lot more time to myself in general. The time I used to spend getting ready and driving to work, I now spend sleeping.

I could tell you about all the things you’ve already heard of — Zoom calls, missing family and friends, needing a haircut. We all know the feelings.

Instead, I’ll tell you about the guilt — something that a lot of you can relate to, even if you don’t work in news. While other people in the same field as I am are out there risking their lives every day, I’m working from the comfort of my home.

Producers booth the shows, directors direct the shows, and reporters go out in the field. I can’t help but feel like I could be doing more.

I was asked to write about myself and my own experience, but I had to include my gratitude to the essential employees who don’t have the option of working from home.

Thank you. Thank you to all the physically essential employees who go on about their daily routines and risk their lives in the process. You are essential every day, not only during the pandemic.

As a country, we are dependent on you — the same way Metropolis is dependent on Superman. Our lives wouldn’t be the same without your sacrifice.