Sully Barrett is a Media & Screen Studies student in CAMD, currently working with the Breaking News Desk and Strategic Content Teams at CNBC. In both departments, Sully has the opportunity to participate in every stage of the news cycle — from concept to creation to critique. Since going online, Sully has still been able to contribute valuable work to both departments, and stay connected every day. We caught up with him to learn more about how his dynamic role has transition to a remote position, below.
Tell us about working for both the Breaking News Desk and the Strategic Content Teams at CNBC.
The Breaking News Desk is home to some of the world’s hardest-working producers, absorbing and relaying information from all around the world. I’m there to make sure nothing falls through the cracks. With Strategic Content, I contribute to written stories for CNBC.com by diving into various issues: civil rights, food insecurity, student experiences and so on. Now more than ever, there is certainly no shortage of news.
How has your co-op changed since it’s moved online?
Like any intern, my job includes several tasks that contribute to the day-to-day wellbeing of my colleagues, without which there would be a lapse in operations. For example, I assisted in production of CNBC’s live-air shows at the New York Stock Exchange once a week. Like many other interns, I’ve watched some of these duties disappear as offices and other public spaces close.
Fortunately, I am still able to contribute value to both my teams at CNBC in a number of ways. I pitch, write and collaborate on stories for CNBC.com, interviewing sources via phone and video calls. I assist with various research projects, such as CNBC’s Disruptor 50 list of companies breaking up tradition in their respective industries.
Although I miss working with my teams face-to-face, we’re able to connect at a moment’s notice, and we keep in touch every day.
Overall, I’m very privileged to be employed in a safe environment, and I am extremely grateful to the people putting themselves at risk to support those without this privilege.
What digital tools is your co-op company using to keep everyone productive and on-the-same-page?
CNBC is home to a buzzing network of professionals who are largely used to virtual collaboration. We rely on a multitude of digital resources to ensure efficient communication and operation, including video meetings, business messaging platforms and data analytics tools.
One shift that I had not anticipated was the remote work of our television anchors, who work on shows such as Squawk Box and Mad Money. Many of them are quarantined at home, where they have set up tools enabling them to continue their roles on live-air. For viewers at home, this might give a little insight into the reality that we are all in this together.
Has there been anything unexpected for you as you transitioned your role online?
As I said, I am very fortunate and privileged to be in the position that I am: working, healthy and not required to leave home. Although I’m facing the same challenges as everyone else who is stuck at home — maintaining a positive attitude and mental health, finding ways to stay physically active, adapting to remote work — I cannot hold a candle to the struggles of many, many others during this time.
During this difficult time, how are you staying motivated and inspired?
On an individual level I’ve settled into a relatively comfortable routine, which allows me to do things like work out and enjoy the outdoors — activities which are very important to me. But in the grander scheme of this pandemic, what gives me hope is the knowledge that this chaos will pass. I see workers in every industry sacrificing their own safety to ensure that our essential services do not fall apart, for which I am very grateful. I am also confident that the future will be defined in part by our reaction to this crisis. Our future relies on an understanding and maturity that can only come from deep introspection, and…
I am motivated by knowing that we will learn and grow from this situation.
Check out Sully’s page on the CNBC website.