Stirring words from Channel 7

Stirring words from Channel 7

By Rhonda Dredge

Just three weeks ago Channel 7 reporter Teegan Dolling was outside the County Court reporting on a culpable driving case. 

She was joking with the cameraman and taking a matter-of-fact line on the offence.

It was a typical bread-and-butter job for a police reporter pre-COVID-19 – get some footage of the affected families, take a hard line on offenders and file for the evening news.

Now, all that has changed. Juries no longer exist, governments are about to release prisoners and we are expecting a lot more of our journalists.

“I worry, like many, about getting the virus, and I fear for the health of my partner, family and friends,” Teegan told Docklands News.

“But I also trust the experts and believe if we all band together and follow the guidelines, the light should soon start shining at the end of the tunnel.”

This is the new regime for reporters. They are expected to find stories that will keep the community going and the words to express them.

On a personal level, the last three weeks have been complex for Teegan. She has been on annual leave to move house while watching from a distance as her workplace changed radically.

“I have felt useless not being at work lately, to help my colleagues who are working such long hours,” she said.

She is back at work this week, ready to adjust to the lockdown of the news room, filing from cars and home and increased use of Skype and FaceTime to record interviews.

“Any time we can prevent a face-to-face meeting, we will,” she said.

“We also have new equipment like microphone poles, to help us carry out our interviews - it ensures we are following all the regulated guidelines including being 1.5 metres away.”

From a professional point of view, this is an extraordinary time for the media. There have never been so many stories to cover but they are being approached differently during the crisis.

“Different journalists in the office have different rounds; I am a police reporter, but when we have huge issues like this, we all work together, but focus on different angles for our viewers.”

Channel 7 prides itself on interpreting information for the viewer and it has done a good job of seeking out those at the coalface to interview, such as supermarket managers rather than politicians.

“Seven is very community focused, so we will continue to break down all the confusing information, that changes by the hour, and deliver it as accurately as possible,” Teegan said.

The COVID-19 crisis is likely to be the biggest story journalists will cover in their careers.

“I flew to New Zealand for the Christchurch terror attack, I was up in the north east for the recent summer bushfires, and I worked at the Bourke Street Mall attack - but this is different, it’s something that effects every single one of us, right around the world."

She said that Channel 7’s focus for the foreseeable future would be on informing viewers of COVID-19.

“This is a confusing time for everyone. It is also incredibly serious and we all need to do our bit moving forward. Make sure you get your information from trusted news outlets - not social media.”

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