Last fall, the Impact PR & Communications team had the pleasure of meeting Nikita Ramos, multimedia journalist at News 12 Westchester, when she covered the Eleanor Roosevelt Center at Val-Kill Medal Ceremony in Hyde Park, New York. We recently caught up with Nikita, virtually of course, and learned more about her experience reporting during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Thanks for being our guest, Nikita. Can you tell us a little bit more about yourself and how you got into broadcast journalism?
The pleasure is mine! So, when I was in grade school, I would use my mother’s flip phone and record myself reading off news headlines from an index card. It’s kind of like what I do now… except that flip phone is a nicer camera with a talented photographer operating it. I studied broadcast journalism at SUNY Oswego for two years and completed my degree at Stony Brook University. After reporting for a year at WETM in Elmira, N.Y. I came to News 12 Westchester and the Hudson Valley. I’ve always been fascinated by people’s stories. It puts life into perspective to know we all have different walks of life.
What has it been like covering Covid-19?
It has been different to say the least. Like many others, we’re working remotely. That means interviews are done over the phone or video chat. Having filed reports from testing sites and hot spots up and down the Hudson Valley and Westchester, I’m not going to hide the fact that I’ve had my fair share of anxiety-driven nights. While we are provided with protective equipment like masks and gloves, it really boils down to practicing our own personal hygiene to ensure we don’t contract the virus. Knowing viewers are depending on the truthful information we provide keeps me going every single day.
Which stories have been most compelling for you to write since the start of the pandemic?
An international story landed at our doorstep when the outbreak first started in New Rochelle. This is when we realized how rapid the Coronavirus was spreading. The events that unfolded in New Rochelle, up to the containment zone, set the path for the rest of New York
State in terms of closing nonessential businesses and social distancing. But through this, the stories that strike me are the ones about the community coming together to help the less fortunate. I’ve seen the best of humanity through this crisis.
Check out this clip, an example of Nikita’s ongoing Covid-19 coverage via News 12.
How have you been practicing self-care throughout this?
When I’m not working, I’m reading more books to give myself a break and writing so much in my journal these days.
For organizations sharing news during this time – what is the best way to grab a reporter’s attention? What aspects of a story pitch are most helpful to you?
This can be tricky because it also depends on how busy the newsroom is that day. We always tentatively set up stories pending breaking news. However, some of the best ways to pitch a good story is to think of how it would be told on television. It’s a totally different medium than print because we rely on video. Having
people who are willing to talk on camera about the story is vital. I personally look for the human-interest angle: How is this person’s life benefiting from this fundraiser? How is the shutdown impacting the owner of this local restaurant and her family?
What are you most excited to do or where would you like to visit when social distancing ends?
Such a good question because I have a whole “bucket list” of things to do post social distancing! Number one is traveling followed by eating at a restaurant and going to the beach with my friends again.
If someone wants to follow you and/or News 12, how can they connect with you socially?