The pandemic has made journalism more accessible for me
Ensuring accessibility is the cornerstone of success in the working world. Journalism’s adaptation to the pandemic has made the industry far more accessible for me. As someone who needs regular rests due to health complications, being on location for hours on end is something that I just can’t do. But with the acceptable Zoom substitutions as a result of the pandemic conducting journalism has become easier.
The pandemic has taken a lot from us – granted. The fact that working from home has become the norm has opened many doors for disabled journalists like myself. The most substantial way the pandemic has made journalism more accessible for me is that the commute has been scrapped – a usually daunting part of my day. The busy underground can prove to be a very stressful situation for anyone – but when I am at risk of falling very ill in the drop of a hat I find the stress sometimes crushing.
The very real thing that I have directly benefited from in my journalism degree are the Zoom allowances that are made for us. It has allowed me to not only conduct better interviews (due to not being exhausted travelling to do an interview) but also meet a whole range of people whom I may not have even considered approaching because the distance to travel to interview them was out of bounds.
The same trend of things moving to the online realm making things easier for those who may need it can be seen in the rise of opportunities now accessible to disabled people. During the height of the pandemic, all events were moved online – meaning the travel aspect of such events was subtracted.
Moreover, hailing from the Midlands meant that all of the London events (which, let’s face, a large portion of journalism events are) were completely out of reach. The pandemic meant that I could now join events from the comfort of my home and actually meet other journalists – a big fear of missing such events was the inevitable networking I was missing out on.
What can the journalism industry do to help create longevity for ideas that can help accessibility?
Allow journalists that need to work from home to continue to do so – in order to diversify the media, the industry must aim to create equal opportunities. By making newsrooms more accessible in this way, the quality of stories being produced will rise rapidly. Newsrooms need diversity to appeal to the largest audience they can.
Make events more accessible – this doesn’t necessarily mean keep events virtual, or a virtual-in person hybrid should be deemed the only option. Although the latter could be one solution, media companies should actively work on making such events accessible. This could include available seating at all times, employ signers to help inclusivity and make the location accessible to name a few.
Arrangements like these should be made to ensure that ‘open to all’ events are truly open to all. Keeping the accessibility the pandemic has presented is paramount – saying you’re accessible is a lot different than being accessible.