COVID A Year On: From lively newsroom to the dining room table

Georgia's desk

Chief reporter Georgia Barrow reflects on the COVID lockdown anniversary, the struggles of working from home and starting a new role in the midst of a pandemic - Credit: Georgia Barrow

Chief reporter Georgia Barrow reflects on the pandemic unfolding in the newsroom, and the struggles of working from home for the best part of a year.

It is hard to believe that in the weeks leading up to the first lockdown, work was business as usual, and this virus was just something happening elsewhere. 

Working as a Comet reporter at the time, things went from zero to 100 very quickly. I distinctly remember our first ever coronavirus-related story. A young family had been stuck on holiday in Tenerife, locking down in a hotel room with a new born baby,

I felt awful for them - yet still did not worry about the virus ever touching us. Naively.

Next came the calls from concerned parents, whose children's classmates were heading off to the Italian slopes for a ski trip during the February half term. At this time, the government warned only of a handful of high-risk areas, a couple of seemingly far off places in Italy and China. 

By March 5, we had reported that three people in Hertfordshire had tested positive for the virus, including a parent of a Stevenage primary school pupil. 

And there we were - still mingling together in close proximity at the office in Primett Road at the time. Still carefree. It is really quite strange to think of how blasé we all were. 

Little did we know that Friday, March 13, would be the last time we saw each other - and some are still waiting to meet new colleagues in person.

From that Monday, we were instructed to work from home - and a week later, Prime Minister Boris Johnson addressed the nation, announcing the first ever coronavirus lockdown, which was supposed to last three weeks.

Now finding myself in a long-distance relationship, and about to start a new promotion at work with a different newspaper, I thought, 'three weeks, I can do that'. Again, naively. 

We went from a fairly lively newsroom filled with young reporters bouncing ideas around, to lone working - with only the sound of a Microsoft Teams message to interact with. 

Most Read

Like many others, I lost a close relationship as a result of this pandemic, and struggled to find my way through a new role as a chief reporter. I know I am one of the lucky ones, though. 

I am alive. I have not lost any friends or family, and I have not lost my livelihood. On this anniversary, I think of all the things I do still have, and look forward to rebuilding a fuller life.