Zoom: A Distance For Media In A Pandemic

By Rich Mancuso /

Have you zoomed today? The Coronavirus pandemic has opened the door for this new line of communication. You. me, probably have experienced this platform of communication as Zoom has become the social distancing aspect of business.

During this pandemic, Zooming in has been vital for the media. Take a look at your local, national news, and sports broadcasts. A bookcase as a backdrop, and in the comforts of home all brought to you via Zoom.

Yes, there is Facetime on Apple I-phones. There are other platforms, however, Zoom has become the prevalent way to go. Exception, if you are old school, as this writer is, Zoom can cause a technical glitch or two.

However, during the past three months it has been Zoom. One or more on a video conference call that signifies a new trend in communication.

So, with little knowledge as to what this is, yours truly downloaded the app.That was the easy process and something here that is needed to communicate for the interviews and writing process. You need to get the code from the host to login and join the conversation.

And for this old school professional that can be a task.

But it can be accomplished and beneficial via the phone, PC, laptop, or I-pod.  In this year of the Coronavirus COVID-19 Pandemic, Zoom has become the tool to work from  home. It has become the social distance feature of communication.

Press conferences, one-one-one, or multiple parties on the Zoom. With a hopeful conclusion to this pandemic, there has been a buzz that Zoom is the route to go. Corporations and media entities are viewing Zoom  as a technological phenom and cost effective.

Though, from this perspective, there is no comparison to that personal interaction of a press conference, going one-on-one, or in the scrum with others. Oh, Zoom does not provide the free lunch or light dinner that entices media members to attend pressers.

Seriously, and from accounts of colleagues, Zoom has saved their livelihoods and ability to continue that ability of informing the public. The hosts, overall, have been instrumental in assuring that Zoom is distributed properly and used to our advantage.

Because there are social distancing guidelines, Zooming in does prevent that personal interaction and further spread of the coronavirus. It enables us to function and continue with a different look. 

Oh, brush up and look decent as you speak through a face mask. 

Also, Zoom has become instrumental with remote learning, fitness classes, weddings, family gatherings, and during the pandemic most if not all religious services were using the app.

The online video gathering is used on a daily basis with the sports world. All of the major sports leagues. MLB, NBA, NFL, NHL, MLS are zooming in. 

Top Rank Boxing and ESPN, the first of major sports to resume, have been using remotes via Zoom for interviews and features with fighters. 

With the resumption of Major League Baseball and Summer camps, in what is expected to be the start of a truncated 2020 season in two weeks, MLB and all of their 30 teams have accessed daily Zoom press meetings with players, managers, and personnel. 

“We now have a much broader set of users who are utilizing our product in a myriad of unexpected ways, presenting us with challenges we did not anticipate when the platform was conceived,” says Zoom CEO Eric S. Ynan.  

From 10 million users in December, Zoom has increased to 100 million since the start of the pandemic in March. The trend shows that Zoom will become a part of the new normal if and when the pandemic comes to a healthy and successful end.

So how does it work? For the media, login after an email gets to your inbox.  MLB is utilizing more than one- a- day Zoom video conference sessions that provide the code to logon.  Media are restricted to the press box and don’t have access to the field or clubhouse areas. They are following the strict guidelines of  medical protocols. 

A typical working day for media,  situated in their MLB ballpark press box seats, with face masks and social distancing guidelines,  will receive an alert from the NY Yankees:  

Today’s Zoom interviews are:Aaron Hicks, Jordan Montgomery, Manager Aaron Boone (To be posted approximately at 7:15 p.m.)

The embedded code and procedures  to Zoom and you are in. Click the button and await the moderator. Faces of your colleagues appear on screen,  some working from home that have opted to be there. Some in the press box.

Unmute your button to ask a question when you raise your hand. Videos for broadcast partners are provided via Zoom. Yes, the personal interaction is a vast and different way to report for a sports journalist. But this is the proper and safe procedure covering baseball during a pandemic.

The procedures are very similar with the other sports leagues and it works for the time being. 

So those interviews and reports are all about the Zoom. Again, this old school reporter is adjusting to change. Something says this change could be a wave of the future for sports media and more.

So look nice, speak clear, and Zoom in. 

Comment:  Twitter@Ring786 Mancuso

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