Media professionals struggle amidst COVID-19

From the WRBL Internship Assignment Desk

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

Valerie working on the development process of Clayton County rebrand logo reveal. (Photo from Valerie Fuller)

CLAYTON COUNTY, Ga. (WRBL) – Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, professionals in every region have been forced to change the way their jobs are typically done in response to additional challenges and safety protocol.

Valerie Fuller, Communications Administrator for Clayton County Board Commissioners says, “Having to operate as a government entity in a pandemic with no cure and new data daily related to the virus has been difficult.”

Fuller’s job entails overseeing county-wide communications and print services for more than 20 departments. The fire department, police department, and office of youth services are just few of many.

“People are not understanding what others are going through during this pandemic and how much it affects communities, Fuller said. “Internal and external communication is needed.”

Fuller is an Alabama A&M graduate with more than 25 years in the media industry. Radio, television, and experience in PR have led her to fulfill many management and marketing positions that are now changing due to additional challenges brought by COVID-19.

“It is important that we understand data as we receive it, what it means, how it is affecting us, Fuller said. “We need to be safe while considering what services to provide to citizens and how to safeguard employees and citizens.”

The board’s typical workday includes turning communication and information around to the community, Commissioner’s reveals, project events, and community meetings that engage citizens and employees. Due to the pandemic, Fuller and her colleagues were ordered to work from home starting on March 16.

Working from home while being under a state of emergency and continuity of government plan meant the chairman and CEO of the county holding Zoom call meetings with the leadership team and using Microsoft teams for team meetings about what is best and how to operate with a convenient workflow.

“My first challenge was that we’ve never worked through a pandemic that affects the US and government sectors,” Fuller said.

There are different chains of command including, governors, mayors, CEO of the county, and overseers learning what to do and how fast based on disease control.

There were conversations for weeks to make sure different government agencies understood the governor’s orders.  Fuller made sure to emphasize knowing what the cases were in order to provide accurate information to employees and the public.

Fuller returned to work May 11 in her suite office.

“I have a suite so while I can telework, I still come in because I’m locked away and safe, but everyone isn’t fortunate because of the nature of their work,” Fuller said.

Board members that work with the public are still working remotely as much as possible to follow health and safety guidelines.

Fuller says COVID-19 has had a big impact on her professional life.

“You truly have to be ready for anything, Fuller said. “There’s always challenges, but how you handle challenges while going through process matters. It should be team effort and the overall well- being of the community and world has to be the focus and not individual agendas.”

Now, Fuller is a part of a new branding initiative in Clayton County where more than 92 percent of the busiest airports in the world exist. Fuller will be working safely on a logo and marketing tagline campaign. The Final board resolution will be July 7.

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