When events shut down due to COVID-19, Amanda Persico of York Region News stopped working on her weekly calendars in favour of writing stories.
York Region News is an umbrella brand for nine different news outlets covering the region. Persico manages the local event calendars for all of nine publications and she writes about local businesses for the Georgina Advocate and the York Region News website, too.
There have been many changes to life in Canada since March 18, when many workers were required to isolate at home.
“It’s very challenging because you’re supposed to be part of a team,” Persico told The Toronto Observer over Zoom recently.
Since news media is considered an essential service, Persico is still required to work, but had to move away from her traditional office environment and now works from home.
Since lockdown started, Persico’s responsibilities with York Region News have changed drastically.
“I would spend one day a week doing calendars for all nine papers in our umbrella. Now I’m spending that time on stories,” Persico said.
The decision to hold back on calendars from York Region came after a blanket shutdown of all local events in the area following the COVID-19 lockdown.
Persico says she’s juggling a lot right now.
On top of being a journalist, she also cares for two young children. She often has to manage her family and professional obligations at the same time.
“No two days are the same, and every day there is the same amount of work. When I’m doing that work is different,” Persico said. “Sometimes, my day might not start until one o’clock, when my son naps, and I will work until five, make dinner and then jump back on from eight o’clock until 10.”
Persico mentions that isolation from the typical office environment has had a negative impact on her work effectiveness.
“It’s very challenging and lonely, and it takes maybe 10 times as long to get anything done,” Persico said.
Although the situation is seemingly gloomy, Persico mentioned that she tries to focus on staying calm by avoiding a heavy consumption of COVID-19-related news, and staying in contact with other journalists that provide support.
Persico is excited to be returning to offices post-lockdown, but notes that local journalists should adjust to this new lifestyle and seek support from others to continue being responsible during this time of crisis.