Columbus sports reporter talks effects of COVID-19 on profession, industry

From the WRBL Internship Assignment Desk

This story was produced as part of the WRBL 2020 Summer Intern program

Mixon working before COVID-19

COLUMBUS, Ga. (WRBL) – Ledger-Enquirer sports reporter, Joshua Mixon, has embraced many changes to his profession as a result of COVID-19.

“A typical day at my job can vary depending on the time of year. During football season, it’s nonstop high school football practices and weekly trips to Auburn for its weekly press conference. Things start to slow down slightly once football ends, but I’m still out visiting practices almost every day and talking to coaches and players,” said Mixon, thinking back to life before the pandemic.

As a sports reporter, Mixon enjoys is being able to share stories that highlight athletes.

“Having the opportunity to tell stories that make a difference and bring attention to a deserving athlete or athletes is one of my favorite aspects of the job. At the same time, athletes are more than people who just throw a football or kick a soccer ball. There’s a unique person underneath all of that, and I love telling those stories,” said Mixon.

As a result of COVID-19, Mixon has found himself writing more about news as opposed to sports. Considering the cancellation of sports events in April and May, reporting news items were top priority.

He recalls being in his office on March 12 when nearly every major sporting event was canceled. As the SEC and NCAA tournaments were canceled, Mixon remembers being in a state of shock.

After the initial shock wore off, I told myself something along the lines of, “Well, this is happening. So I might as well make the most of it.” I’ve tried to keep that spirit throughout this pandemic. There are still important stories to be told, whether or not sports are happening”, said Mixon.

Additionally, Mixon has found working from home convenient but also misses the bustle of the newsroom at the Ledger-Enquirer.

“But, as good journalists do, we’ve adapted. We still meet to bounce ideas just like we did before the pandemic, just virtually. We even had virtual election night pizza on Election Day”, says Mixon sharing how media professionals have rolled with the changes brought on by the pandemic.

The biggest change for the sports reporter is keeping his spirits high while reporting on tragic times. When the workday is over Mixon takes time to relax whether its walking his dog, Fin, maintaining his aquariums, or going on run.

“I’ve made it a point to try my best to completely unplug myself when my workday ends and try to partake in activities that clear my mind,” said Mixon explaining how he decompresses after work.

Looking five years ahead, Mixon is hopeful that COVID-19 will no longer be a concern.

As a sports reporter, he is curious to see how press will continue.

“I do wonder what some college press boxes and postgame locker room availability will look like, since those are often the most crowded areas you find yourself working,” said Mixon.

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