By ZALINAH NOORDIN
IT HAS become somewhat a habit for me to tune in to TVS Utama at 8pm every night ever since I joined the Kuching- based TV station exactly a month ago, to get myself acclimatised to the happenings around here, me being from Penang and all, and also to see for myself how my work unravel itself on screen.
However instead of April 15 marking my one-month anniversary of being with the TV station, all hell broke loose at work when we were all told to go home instead amidst some chaos and panic.
One of my colleagues had tested positive for Covid-19 so naturally the office had to be shut down for sanitisation and also for us staff to get our swab tests taken.
No idea what lies ahead and how a TV station were to operate from home, we just followed the order and went home.
There was a lot of panic in the company WhatsApp groups, with a lot of questions fielded on what needed to be done and also on contingency plans.
I thought my boss, our CEO, Suhaimi Sulaiman was pulling a fast one when he suggested our prime time news, Utama at TVS be aired from the homes of newsreaders and anchors.
How can something like that possibly be done without a proper studio and equipment?
I was proven wrong when in less than a day, everything panned out and it managed to be pulled off!
So yesterday , I watched in awe and amusement as my colleagues and boss presented the evening news from their respective homes via streamyard, something which has never been done before in Malaysia.
Watching Suhaimi or affectionately known as Che Mie read news brought back memories of me watching him present the news on TV when I was still in school (sorry, Che Mie, didn’t mean to make you feel old there!)
According to Che Mie, the last time he read news was in 2003 so naturally, his “comeback” was much looked forward to by many.
The prime time news started off with my colleague, Steward Dawi introducing himself, saying how the news would be presented from home instead of from the studio before passing it on to Suhaimi who explained that a TVS staff had tested positive Covid-19 on April 15, followed by two more on April 17.
“The incident will never deter us from delivering news and I am proud that a seven-month old TV station together with its dedicated team is able to pull this off,” he was heard saying on TV.
Of course, in all honesty, my viewing experience was nowhere near satisfactory what’s with the cracking audio and freezing visuals, attributed perhaps due to poor Internet speed at home. However, credit should still be given to those who put everything together regardless whether things could still be improved as something like this has never been done before by any TV station.
Still, a sense of pride and belonging washed over me as I watched the familiar faces on screen breeze through reading news from their homes.
I have never been this excited to watch the news before as this was indeed something “historic”. I was already in front of my laptop, half an hour before 8pm, waiting for the news to be aired as I was curious how something like this could be pulled off.
Undeterred by the temporary closure of the news station, the prime time news was streamyard via the homes of broadcast journalists including from a special quarantine centre, bringing “work from home” to a whole new level.
I asked around if something like this has ever been done in the country and I gathered that it was an unprecedented move, never before done by any TV station here.
Of course, something like this is nothing new to countries such as The United States.
My colleague, TVS anchorman who himself tested positive for Covid-19, Khairil Zharif Affindie, reminiscent of CNN’s Christopher Cuomo who presented news from the basement from his home after being tested positive for the virus, also delivered news virtually from a special quarantine centre while other readers such as Steward Dawi, Priscilla John, Nur Suhaida and Connie Grace read from their homes.
Ironically, Zharif himself presented news about the Covid-19 situation in Sarawak and even gave a special report on the quarantine centre he has been placed at.
How the TVS team managed to pull this off in the spur of the moment is really beyond me. Poor audio and visuals aside, what I found impressive was how the team managed to read as though they were reading news from the studio, with their professional enunciation and tone, with crawlers and cutaways to boot!
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