Donna Crocker introduced our speaker, who happens to be her son-in-law. She told us that Garvin Thomas is a reporter, anchor, and host with NBC Bay Area in the San Francisco Bay Area. Garvin has worked in television news for more than 30 years, having spent time working in Boston, Berlin, Minneapolis, Boston (again), Los Angeles, and, for the past 15 years, the Bay Area. Since 2012, Garvin has been the reporter, photographer, and editor of the Bay Area Proud series for NBC Bay Area, highlighting stories of kindness, success, and inspiration. Garvin lives near Santa Cruz with his wife, Karen, and their three children.

Garvin told us that, over the past couple of months, every way they cover and present the news has had to change quickly. He has been doing a segment called Bay Area Proud for about 8 years, reporting on people doing positive things. This required him to get up close to people in order to fully portray the story he was trying to tell. He has had to put that on hold since COVID19.

He told us about one of his favorite segments which involved Julie, a San Jo- se Rotarian who had a granddaughter with severe physical limitations. The San Jose Rotary Club was preparing to celebrate it’s 100th Anniversary and wanted to take on a huge project. Julie told the abut her granddaughter and how there were no playgrounds for children in wheelchairs. The club set about to build a handicap accessible playground. The result was a 6 million dollar Rotary Play Garden. Julie’s granddaughter got to ride on a carousel for the first time. Garvin explained that if he had not taken the close-up shot that you see here, the effect would not have been the same. It is hard to tell a feel good story over Skype.

Regular news reporting has also changed. Reporters have had to get creative when inter- viewing while practicing social distancing. There is only one anchor in the studio and many of the reports are done from home. The station has established a back-up studio to use in the event any employees test positive for the virus. The back-up studio has been professionally cleaned and sanitized and absolutely nobody is allowed to enter it. If, at some point, an employee is diagnosed with COVID19, production would immediately move to the back-up studio and the original studio would be sanitized.

Garvin did tell us that Bay Area News has been doing stories about people who have been lost to the virus. He was thanked for that. He was also asked how employment in broadcasting has been affected. He told us that, so far, there has not been the impact that you see in newspapers. However, there is no telling what the future might bring.

This was a very interesting view of the world of broadcasting. Thank you Garvin and thank you Donna for arranging this program.