The COVID-19 pandemic forces journalism and Los Andes to face challenges no one imagined. Throughout its 136 years of life, Los Andes’ pages have reflected wars, earthquakes, floods, civic violence, and social and economic emergencies, among other troubles. But nothing has shaken the writing routines as much as today’s pandemic.
Our stories could be written from the dining room of a house or apartment or from the place where the news is breaking, but today they are not being written at the desks housed in the traditional building on Avenida San Martín. This street defines downtown Mendoza, where thousands of people walk every day. Now, it is empty and silent.
Our new working routine has two objectives. On the one hand, it protects our staff from COVID-19. We want to minimise their social encounters and contact with coworkers. On the other hand, it ensures the community is properly informed based on our social role as a media company. This is even more the case if you foster trust and credibility with that community.
Technology makes it possible
The isolation of journalists, editors, photographers, and other members of the editorial production process is possible thanks to the powerful resources technology offers us. Working from home with a computer, a mobile phone, and an Internet connection allows us to deliver on most — but not all — tasks guaranteeing the delivery of news checked and confirmed with the responsibility the situation demands. When unchecked, fake and immediate articles are sometimes published online. In this hour, more than any other, high-quality journalism is a commitment to the population.
The same methodology of teleworking is put into practice in other areas of the company, such as administration, circulation, sales, marketing, human resources, and IT. The purpose is to care for our people and ensure Los Andes’ content is on time in any platform: the newspaper and its printed supplements, desktop, mobile, and social media.
The print process
There are other precautions our audiences should know about their print edition. The press has a degree of automation so that none of its supplies are handled directly until each copy leaves the printing plant. We work closely with print distribution, which allows our product to arrive on newsstands. We take all the preventive measures to help our people avoid risks even as we continue providing information.
Finally, it should be noted that, due to its nature as a social service, journalistic work, in all its formats, is one of the activities accepted in the decree of social isolation ordered by the presidency of the nation during the last few weeks to mitigate the pandemic’s effects.
Even so, we put forth the maximum effort so our audiences get our best information, whenever and wherever they need it.