Indeed, nearly all respondents said working from home, they were not satisfied with their own journalistic output. Of the nearly 60 journalists surveyed, 50 said they suffered Covid-19 fatigue, and reporting on the daily statistics of the number of new cases and daily fatalities was becoming monotonous.
There is another aspect of their work that is stressing out journalists: becoming easy targets for online trollers. Many reporters, especially women, say they have faced much more abuse and backlash for their stories than they did before the pandemic.
Sabina Shrestha, reporter at the portal, Setopati, suffered that first hand for her reporting on Rato Machindranath last week. “I don’t know why people have become so angry, the hate mongering tweets are toxic, but I personally don’t let it affect me. For us journalists, we should just avoid such platforms and not let them get at us,” she says.
Nearly one-fourth of the respondents in the survey said they got little support or feedback from their editors. Partly, this was because the reporters are working from home, but there appears to be a communication gap with the desk.
‘It’s becoming more one-sided, we don’t know what our senior editors want, and how they see our articles and what they think about it,’ wrote one reporter. ‘Often times, it’s only when something goes wrong that we get to hear from them. There is no editorial direction or guidance.’
We put that to the editor of Nagarik daily Guna Raj Luitel, who replied that editors also have their hands full with editorial and managerial chores, but underlined the importance of good two-way communication with reporters.
“The reporters are working under a lot of stress, which is why the editor’s role is even more important. We have to help them get connected to their sources, and ease their workload,” Luitel told us.