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"Corona also presents journalists with new challenges"

The Corona pandemic is also forcing journalists to increase their home office. Personal meetings and events are no longer sources of information. In an interview with Communicators, Michael Ferber explains how serious journalism is still possible.
Michael Ferber, Economic Editor NZZ
Dear Michael, to what extent has your general way of working changed under the dictates of the Corona epidemic?
Michael Ferber: The home office is already a clear difference compared to working in the editorial office. It is not possible to exchange information quickly with colleagues, and press conferences and lunches are no longer necessary. But I still prefer to do my research over the phone.

The topic has probably changed most seriously! Are topics that are not directly related to Corona still attractive?
That's right, the Corona crisis is currently the dominant topic on the financial markets. In almost all texts, the Corona topic appears. But when I look at my dossiers, retirement provision remains very important. Often, of course, the corona crisis is again at the heart of the matter, for example because the coverage ratios of pension funds have fallen as a result. Last week, however, we also published an article on the costs of pillar 3a. It must be possible to report on something other than corona.

How has your research changed? What sources of information and analysis tools are in the foreground? Can telephone or online conversations replace personal contact?
Somewhat difficult is that I don't have access to the financial market terminal Bloomberg and the corresponding data in my home office. Sometimes there are also problems when creating graphics, I have to have the data sent to me from our service desk. Besides, working at home certainly has its challenges. But you gain some time by not having to travel to work and by not having to attend some meetings. In my opinion, telephone and Skype conversations cannot completely replace personal contact. In order to maintain personal relationships and trust with conversation partners, it is important to meet from time to time.

Has the importance of serious journalism increased in the face of increasing fake news and conspiracy theories?
In such a crisis, I think serious journalism is particularly important, as conspiracy theories and misinformation flourish.

Will the way journalists work after Corona no longer be the same?
I hope that after a while normality will return and of course that there will be more physical meetings and events. I'm sure there will be. Nevertheless, I think that the Corona crisis will give a further boost to digitalization.
Published on 14. April 2020