Behind The Scenes Look At How CBS 11 Has Brought You The News On Air During COVID-19

Thanks to photojournalist Mike Kinney for putting this together.

Video Transcript

All week long, we have been taking a look back at the past year, how we've all adapted to working and attending school at home, mask wearing, social distancing, all because of the coronavirus pandemic. It hasn't been easy. And we wanted to show you the changes that we made to get the news to you while keeping our crews safe.

- 451, 452.

STEWART MCKENZIE: It was surreal.

LAURIE PASSMAN: Newsrooms are typically very thriving, vibrant places to work.

[RADIO CHATTER]

STEWART MCKENZIE: We went from a bustling newsroom to where I was one of about four to five people still here working on newscasts while everybody else was working at home.

LAURIE PASSMAN: When it first happened, I mean, it was a game-changing moment I think for our entire industry. We had no roadmap. We've never dealt with anything like this before.

BILLY SEXTON: It first became a what if-- what if we had to move the anchors outside the building, create a home studio for them? And then we got a phone call that morning saying, OK, we got a home anchor starting today.

DOUG DUNBAR: Five seconds away. Here we go.

- 4, 3, 2--

- Standby.

- --1.

- Hit it. Up.

- Live from Dallas and Fort Worth.

DOUG DUNBAR: Thank you for joining us tonight. It may sound a little echoey. I'm Doug Dunbar, and it's good to have you actually inside my own home.

BILLY SEXTON: You look at big picture of taking everything that's in the studio and putting it in someone's home and making it where it's very simple for one operator to do.

DOUG DUNBAR: I'll give you a quick look around. So the camera gear is set up right in the middle of my office. I sit literally in the doorway.

LAURIE PASSMAN: And we very quickly got people out of the building. We had producers produce the entire newscast from their breakfast counter.

BILLY SEXTON: While the rest of the country was shutting down and scaling back, we were ramping up. You know, it was the story of the century so far. And we had to be in place. We had to cover the story. And we had to figure out how to do it remotely.

DOUG DUNBAR: And deaths are starting to trend higher--

LAURIE PASSMAN: The story was ever-changing and ever-evolving, and our job was to filter that out to everybody.

STEWART MCKENZIE: Just because things stopped-- it felt like the world had stopped-- it doesn't mean that we stop. We keep on going. We keep on finding ways to tell the news, to get the facts.

LAURIE PASSMAN: Not only were we doing our primary job as newspeople, as journalists, but behind the scenes, we were scrambling to also take care of our people and reinvent our business, essentially. And that's what we did.

JAKE SHANNON: We continue to innovate ourselves in so many different ways, using technology to do interviews, social distancing, working together remotely. It is really just thinking outside the box every single day.

- So it wasn't anything unusual for me--

MIKE LOZANO: Trying to tell people's stories, and we're limited on how close we can get to them.

BILLY SEXTON: For all the challenges of being socially distant, certain technologies really kind of brought us together.

- 6 o'clock, there's a Fort Worth COVID town hall.

BILLY SEXTON: Those Zooms-- that's how we shoot a lot of our interviews.

LAURIE PASSMAN: Oh, it's mind-blowing to think that here we are a year later, and we're still doing this.

STEWART MCKENZIE: We thought for, eh, a couple weeks, and then it turned into weeks, and then months, and here we are at a year.

LAURIE PASSMAN: You know, you could look at the last year and look at all the negatives. But I choose to look at it and go, man, there were so many positives that came out of this last year. And in some ways, it was a blessing. It really was.

- Really was. We learned so much about the industry and ourselves, I think, in this past year.