Things of life

Publish date 20-06-2020

by Matteo Spicuglia

Quarantine told by a television studio. A lesson for tomorrow ...


When everything stops, everything surfaces. Never as in these months has it been clear. An unknown virus that suddenly appears, wiping out certainties, habits, routines. A whole nation forced to shut itself in the house waiting for the worst to pass. It is precisely at that moment that we began to see more clearly. We have seen personal anxieties emerge that we did not know. But not only. We were confronted with the distortions of our way of life: the limits of our school system that were already there, the inequalities that somehow were able to blend in, the economic uncertainties often hidden like dust under the carpet, the logic singular of consumption for its own sake.


But when everything stops, the good also emerges, unimaginable resources, a sense of community that can also help us in the coming months. As for me, I caught it in a television studio. I am a Rai journalist and from the first lockdown day, every morning I was the face of our first information appointment. It was not easy. In video you have to bring your professionalism, the technique of a profession that you have cultivated over the years. But it is not enough in the face of dozens of daily deaths, thousands of infected people, families who are afraid and suffering. In such a situation, you must also bring your humanity, an idea of ​​communication that first of all decides intimately to get close.


It has been like this for over two months, between ups and downs, between the thoughts that accompany you and the function of the role you put above all else. I was alone, in a study reduced to the bone also from a technical point of view. Alone, but observed. I've never had so many messages. People who thanked, who sought a confrontation, who simply wanted to share. Forced quarantine has shown itself through hundreds of photos and videos. The serene cross-section of those who had rediscovered the slowness to devote themselves to perhaps forgotten hobbies. But also extreme fragility. The loneliness of Signor Carlo, for example. A short video shows him, very elegant, behind a cream cake with candles: his 80 years celebrated alone and the request to be able to share that goal with everyone.


Or, photos of a living room full of beds. A message that explains the drama: «I am a single woman with four children. We live in 50 square meters. Quarantine is tough. Talk about us! ». And again, the ingenuity of parents who have invented everything to make their children's days lighter. A dad who literally took his home apart to create a motor path between chairs, tables and small tables. "In this way - he wrote - my child can move."


It was nice to accompany, to give voice to the life enclosed within four walls as well as to the dozens of voluntary initiatives to help the weakest. But it was also important to share the pain, to collect the appeals of those who had relatives in a nursing home and were crushed by worry, to welcome the memory of those who left forever through the testimonies of those who remained.


These are the many nuances of life condensed in a television program broadcast in the heart of an emergency. Shades always present, yet so difficult to grasp in normal times. What will remain of all this? It will depend on each of us. The coronavirus has reminded the world of journalism of the essential value of informing and being informed, it has brought back to the bone the essentiality of this function, beyond the particularities, the desire for visibility or success, has also put a form at the center of humility of appearing. Because in the face of death, you can only enter other people's homes on tiptoe.


All this is a heritage to be forgotten or relaunched, to be archived as a limit experience or to be placed at the center of the restart. Again, it will depend on each of us. Personally, I am increasingly convinced that journalism cannot get bogged down in half measures: either it lives by proximity or it becomes nothing, or it is at the service of the community or it makes no sense, or it accepts to nourish even hope or it becomes irrelevant. Matter of choices. Nothing else…


See the focus Reflections in Time of Covid 19

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