Loyal Leader. Passionate Journalist.
For Monica Richardson, senior managing editor of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, managing her team remotely and her “co-worker” at home amidst the coronavirus has impacted the way she works. “I’m a single mom, so coming up with a new routine has been challenging and insightful. I’m managing teaching my daughter and phone calls and projects for work. It’s changed my perspective of work-life balance and how it relates to family life.”
She continues, “It’s also given me an even greater appreciation for my work and for my team. Personally, I’ve gone from having my laptop on my desk at work to my standing desk at home with my daughter’s desk right in front of me to keep an eye on her. Others from the newsroom have had to continue to leave their homes to get their work done. I have 10 times more appreciation for the people I work with.”
Monica says the newsroom teams are in a state of constant change, having to be flexible by reporting from home and living rooms, adjusting work schedules and finding new ways of communication.
“We put effort into every story. We have to serve our audience. It shows that we have the resources and relationships with colleagues and sources in the community to sustain our in-depth reporting during this time. We’ve bent over backwards to answer questions we know people have, because we have those questions ourselves. Our staff is doing everything it can do to serve, inform and connect with our community in very different ways. There’s the newspaper, digital, podcasts, even a diary from the perspective of a 7-year-old about what she has experienced. It’s all about new thinking and being open to giving people a voice who normally wouldn’t have one. It’s exciting to watch and a challenge to come up with new ideas to make sure readers know all of this is available.”
Because of this pandemic, Monica’s role as a manager has grown by not only elevating the work her team is doing, but also being there for her people and caring for their wellbeing. “This pandemic is being played out and coming to light in a way that no one imagined. Being a manager, it’s all about our people – making sure they’re taking care of their mental and emotional health.” She continues, “People shouldn’t be surprised to hear from me, and I shouldn’t be so caught up in my own stuff that I forget to show concern for those on the front lines. It’s a constant balance of elevating and supporting work, while elevating and supporting people.”
Monica is just is just one of the many AJC journalists who have been flexing their communication muscles and keeping Atlanta and the entire state of Georgia informed during the COVID-19 crisis. They are providing an important public service to all members of our community – informing readers, holding public officials accountable, and providing in-depth coverage and resources to keep us safe.
Monica credits the AJC for creating a work environment that puts value on people. She says, “It feels odd being highlighted, and I want it to be known that it’s not about me. It’s about the people I work with and the communities we serve.”
“We’ve been through so much change as an industry and it feels like we’re really part of a family. It’s not about me, it’s about the staff. I’m grateful to be in an industry that’s needed and fulfills a mission.”
She’s also thinking about the future of the business. “At some point this will end, and the question becomes, ‘How do we keep our work sustainable afterward?’ ‘How do we push our digital delivery further to continue to reach new audiences?’ These are all conversations we have to have now. We have to think about the moments ahead.”
Above all, Monica’s passion for her managerial role and role as a member of the AJC and Cox family is what keeps her going during this time of uncertainty.
“If journalism didn’t exist, people would not get the information needed right now. People are getting important information and are connecting in a way they would never be able to do without the AJC. I feel very blessed to work for a family-owned newspaper that a community depends on. Some people believe that this industry is dying, but it’s actually thriving, and in some ways, changing and saving lives.”
About The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
The AJC is part of the Cox family of businesses, which are working to build a better future across the five continents where we operate. By informing and empowering readers with credible, in-depth journalism, the AJC is helping to uncover and solve pressing challenges in our home state of Georgia. The newspaper is just one example of how, through our businesses, we’re making a positive difference and lasting impact in the communities we serve.