Blog: It's like the first week back at school having both Jess and I presenting together again

It feels a bit like the first week back at school as we made the most noticeable change to our programmes here at ITV News in the Channel Islands for six months. We have returned to having two presenters in the studio each night.

On Monday evening, both Jess and I were back in the studio together, and it felt really great to share the studio with someone else again after so long presenting our programmes on our own. On the face of it, it’s just a small change, but it’s a welcome change back to the pre-coronavirus normality.

Before the pandemic, our presenters Jess and James would sit close together behind the studio desk. Credit: ITV Channel TV

It was back in March when we were both last in the studio. Looking at pictures from those programmes you can see how restrictions were gradually introduced and increased over time.

The introduction of social distancing meant our presenters had to sit further metre apart, as shown by Emma Baker and James Webster. Credit: ITV Channel TV

Usually we would both be sitting behind our desk quite close together, but by the middle of the month we were having to sit further apart to maintain one metre of social distancing.

When social distancing was extended to two metres, our presenters needed to be separated even further. Credit: ITV Channel TV

When that progressed to two metres of social distancing it was no longer possible for us both to fit behind the desk, and after a few days of Jess sitting at the desk and me standing at the screens at the side of the studio, complete with my stool and makeshift desk we changed to having just one of us in the studio.

This was the most visible thing you would have noticed while watching the programme but behind the scenes there were even more changes. We had fewer technical staff in the studio operating the cameras. (If you studied the programme you might have noticed fewer camera angles could be used because, put simply, there were fewer people pushing cameras around.)

We have been producing programmes with far fewer people in our technical gallery in recent months. Credit: ITV Channel TV

We had fewer technical crew in our gallery, where all the buttons have to be pushed to put our programme on air. And many of our reporters were working from home to reduce the number of people in the office each day.

Gradually in recent weeks we have been able to increase the number of people in our office and now in our studio as well, though we are still nowhere near back to the levels they were at before coronavirus.

That all culminated in us finding a way to have Jess and I both in our studio together again each night, but still maintaining social distancing. You might notice that our desk is in a slightly different place and we are using different camera angles to reduce the amount of space between us.

Our presenters are now reunited in the studio again after six months of presenting apart. Credit: ITV Channel TV

It’s slightly disorientating for us getting used to someone else being in the studio again and all the cameras being in slightly different places. We’ve already discovered that we need longer cables on our microphones and earpieces to allow us to swivel round further in our chairs. And you can now see our feet from certain angles – so bright socks (or no socks) are now visible for all to see!

Like many (if not all) businesses, this week’s changes of finding a new way of working which accepts that, for now, coronavirus is something we all have to learn to live with. Much as we would all wish it could just go away, it is now part of all our lives.

As we get over the novelty of everything that feels different, what it does mean is that we once again have more options to present the news in more creative ways, hopefully making the programme even more interesting for you to watch.

We know how important our news service has been throughout the pandemic in keeping you up to date with all the latest details about infection rates, restrictions and the effects on islanders’ lives and livelihoods. As we now face whatever comes next we hope that our changes mean our programme will continue being your favourite place to follow all the latest news here in the Channel Islands.