The coronavirus made big changes to lives all across the world. Travel plans and events have been cancelled, exams have to be made at home and we haven’t visited friends and family for weeks now. We discovered that the coronavirus also caused some problems in the factchecking process.
1 Contacting companies
The first difficulty we ran into was contacting companies. If COVID isn’t the subject of your question, companies have now only a few – or often even no – time for you. “We’d like to help, but we’re trying to deal with a crisis right now”. It’s, of course, a logical answer, but one that caused some trouble while factchecking for us.
2 Doing the interview
The actual process of doing the interview is totally different. Normally we discuss a date, time and place and then we physically show up at the place we discussed. Nobody has ever sent us away from their workplace (or home) because the interview isn’t convenient at that time. But people seem to take these online interviews way less seriously. We noticed that there is a trend of people coming way later than we discussed. During one of our interviews, the interviewee came four hours late to our meeting. This makes interviewing a little bit more difficult.
3 Online group meetings
Everything has to happen online now. Not only we need to contact experts online, but we also have to change our group meetings to the online world. Not being physically in the same room is sometimes hard to communicate. Instead of talking to each other we were chatting or organising video calls, and quick meetings between classes became scheduled meetings on Teams. So it might take some time longer to accomplish something. Luckily everyone respected the meetings and their task of bringing everything to a successful conclusion. We quickly adapted to online, which made it a lot easier.
But at the end of the day, there are, besides all the difficulties corona has brought upon us, also some benefits in it. First of all: you don’t have to come out of bed for anyone or anything. You can have a factcheck videoconference while being in bed, or while sitting outside in the sun, just wherever you like to be. Furthermore, while having a videoconference, people only see the top part of your body. So if you’re not in the mood to wear trousers that day, or just want to stay in your pyjamas, fine, no one will ever know. Isn’t that the dream?
Further, you don’t have to walk through rain and wind to be in time for a meeting. It actually is surprising how much is possible in the comfort of your own house. Interviews, meetings, classes, … the possibilities online are almost endless. And it is great that because of the internet, we can with this less of an effort save lots of lives.
RESEARCH | ARTICLE © Louise Anthonissen, Thea Cipido, Topsana Du Bois, Jolien Engelen
AP University College Antwerp, Belgium
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