“What stands out about this major story is that literally every single person in the world is impacted to some capacity. It doesn’t matter what country you live in, it doesn’t matter your age, race, gender, etc. EVERYONE is hit by this. As terrible as it is, it’s also almost unifying in a way.”
Leah Pezzetti worked hard in college to earn her degree in broadcast journalism at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, before graduating and immediately relocating to Bakersfield, CA to pursue a career with the local ABC affiliate as a reporter and forecaster.
Shortly afterward, she moved to Las Vegas to work at the city’s ABC affiliate in the same role, and just recently moved states to begin working at the ABC affiliate in San Diego as a reporter — in the middle of this pandemic.
“It feels good to be back in my home state! Leah shared. “I’ve wanted to be in local news for as long as I can remember, so I’ve been living my dream ever since I graduated college.”
Leah is living out the opportunity to experience working her dream job in a fantastic city, but has been facing the challenges of being a reporter without having easy access to interview people face-to-face, or aggressively follow stories out in the field in the same manner that she did before COVID hit. As a reporter Leah is no stranger to dealing with tragedy, but she expresses how different this particular tragedy is to cover since it’s actively affecting everybody all across the globe.
She shares what it’s like to move between states during a pandemic, and how vastly different the two communities she’s transitioning between has been handling safety measures. She details the frustrations of what it’s like to lose a family member during this time, and not have the opportunity to immediately say a proper goodbye due to travel and crowd control restrictions.
Read more about Leah’s COVID Chronicle, below:
What’s the biggest challenge you’ve faced during quarantine/the COVID crisis?
“I’m so lucky to still have a job, but my workflow has definitely changed. I was working in Las Vegas when the shutdown really started, and I remember doing a live shot from Downtown Las Vegas on Saint Patrick’s Day because the Nevada governor announced the beginnings of the closure. From there, almost immediately, how I do my job changed.
I’m used to being able to walk up to people and ask them for an interview, but suddenly everything had to be remote or video interviews. We had rules put in place about what interviews we could do in person and how to do them safely.
We started working remotely, so they weren’t allowing most of us in the station. My bedroom became my office very quickly! My job is still the same in the sense that I’m still informing my community, but how I do it has changed drastically.”
Is there anything you feel that this experience has taught you that you’d like to share as inspiration?
“I think the biggest epiphany I’ve had is how widespread this is. I cover tragedy frequently. I see pain and suffering. I cover the fires, the shootings, the car crashes. Every time I cover these hard stories, I meet the people who are impacted. It’s usually a handful of people. Maybe a family, maybe a neighborhood, maybe a city, that’s usually the extent of it.
What stands out about this major story is that literally every single person in the world is impacted to some capacity. It doesn’t matter what country you live in, it doesn’t matter your age, race, gender, etc. EVERYONE is hit by this. As terrible as it is, it’s also almost unifying in a way.
Everyone is feeling the same pain and can relate to each other on a level I’m not sure we’ve ever experienced before. It’s terrible that it had to come to this but I hope we as humans can learn that we are all equal and we should all be there for each other after this.”
Has this experience in any way changed the way that you order your priorities in life?
“It’s funny, because I feel like I value connections with loved ones more. I’ve always been a ‘people person’ but I think I love and cherish every moment I can talk to friends and family now. I’ve definitely been having more video chat calls with everyone now, which I love. I’m so excited to be able to hug everyone again. I’ve learned to love hugs because I miss them so much!”
Where are you living right now? Is this where you permanently reside or is it a temporary living situation due to the pandemic? Who have you been quarantining with?
“I actually moved during the pandemic. I started it in Vegas with my two roommates, then I moved to San Diego and am now with one roommate. It’s my new home now!”
What has your community been doing to fight the rate of transmission?
“It was interesting moving from Nevada to California, because the restrictions are different. In Vegas, face masks are not required in public businesses, and I would say about 50/50 actually wore them when I was there.
In San Diego, face masks are required in businesses. That was an interesting change to see from state to state. It definitely feels like San Diego’s rules are more strict and the mentality is a lot more serious here when it comes to taking the rules seriously.”
What has been your general daily routine so far during the pandemic?
“I thankfully have stayed employed through this, so I still work five days a week. I get up in the morning and still get ready for work because I usually tape something with my face in it for my station, and I think it also helps get myself mentally ready for work.
Once I get my story assignment, I start making calls and setting up interviews. I then put a story together that airs in our evening news! Once I’m done for the day and on the weekends, my roommate and I usually walk to pick up dinner from a local restaurant and we bring it home. That’s a nice way to get outside and still support the local economy.”
What have you been doing to keep your spirits up on a day-to-day basis?
“The walking, mentioned above. Also talking to family and friends. I’ve had a couple friends celebrate birthdays during the pandemic, and we always do group video chats to catch up and celebrate. It’s been so fun!”
Has this travel ban/quarantine situation impacted any important plans you had laid out for the near future?
“OH YES! I had a bunch of trips planned. My best friend from high school was supposed to come to Vegas two times, both during the pandemic, so those were canceled. I was supposed to go back to San Luis Obispo to see my best friend from college but that had to be canceled. I was supposed to take two trips for my Master’s Degree but those were canceled. I’m supposed to go to Upstate New York in July for a family reunion but I don’t think I’ll be able to make that trip now.
The hardest thing so far has been losing my grandpa. He passed away in early May and my first instinct was to get on a plane and go be with my family in Sacramento, but I wasn’t able to do that. It hurt. All I wanted was to hug my mom and I still haven’t been able to. I wanted my grandpa to have a full military funeral with every honor, but we haven’t been able to do that yet. I hate that it’s being postponed.”
Anything else at all, you’d like to share?
“Like I said, I’ve been so blessed to have job security, and my heart goes out to everyone who hasn’t been so lucky.”
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