Reporting Coronavirus: An extraordinary year for ITV News

2020 has been a year of unprecedented loss, upheaval and suffering but it has also been a year when we have seen the very best in people, when communities have come together, and where the courage and sacrifice of frontline workers has inspired us all.

Covid survivor Biniam Kidane leaves Darent Valley Hospital, to applause.

Our news teams at ITV have been working throughout and our programmes have bared witness to all these events on an international, national and local level - bringing information about the pandemic into people’s homes, helping them understand lifesaving public health messages and when needed, holding power to account. 

But most of all ITV has been telling extraordinary stories: of sorrow, of courage, of recovery; as people have shared events, big and small, that have changed how we live and have defined this remarkable year. In a special film to be broadcast on Wednesday December 16, we look back at some of the stories, covered nationally and locally. From those who have lost loved one to the virus, to those who have recovered after spending weeks in intensive care. We’ve also followed the financial and mental health impacts of the lockdowns.

In the documentary, ITV News Meridian presenters Fred Dinenage and Sangeeta Bhabra share their experiences of working in news during 2020.

They talk about the shock of finding out that Fred would have to stop broadcasting from the studio and go home to shield and how a little dog called Dave, lifted the spirits of so many of our viewers.

Sangeeta Bhabra speaking to Fred and Dave Dinenage at home.

Coverage of coronavirus has featured in all of ITV Meridian’s news programmes, in some way, for 10 months and it has completely changed the way we make and news gather for them.

The team has had to find new ways of operating, with reporters broadcasting from their kitchens and a skeleton staff in the newsroom and the studio.

Social distancing meant crews could no longer work side-by-side as they used to and forced them to find alternative ways of interviewing.

Technology has, of course, played a key role and overnight the online interview became a common site across all television programmes.

Going out reporting we were told just how contagious the virus was I wanted to make sure I was safe, the crew were safe, that the people we were interviewing, weren’t put in any danger.

Andrew Pate, ITV Meridian reporter

ITV Meridian reporter John Ryall using a boom pole microphone, to interview a local farmer.

'Reporting Coronavirus' can be seen at 11:00pm on Wednesday 16th December on ITV.