He is the best-known journalist in Austria, where he presents the 10 p.m. television news from the public broadcasting group ORF. Appreciated and recognized for his interviewing skills, Armin Wolf won the European Journalist of the Year award last year. So it’s an information star who’s confined since Tuesday March 24 in a specially equipped space at ORF headquarters in Vienna, in the midst of a coronavirus epidemic.
He was not alone in this experience: around thirty collaborators were locked up with him, including three of his fellow presenters. All of them had to undergo a medical examination before to make sure that they were not carriers of the coronavirus. They will be locked up day and night for 14 days to continue producing and presenting newspapers, without risking contamination. “A corona roommate“quips Armin Wolf on his Twitter account, where he regularly posts photos of his new living space.
Und das ist für die nächsten 14 Tage mein Bett.
(Ich muss gesthen, die Bettwäsche hätte ich mir eher nicht ausgesucht, aber der ORF geht mit den GIS-Gebühren – wie es sich gehört – sparsam um.) pic.twitter.com/MzYfF870Aw
– Armin Wolf (@ArminWolf) March 24, 2020
This device was extended Wednesday to the local stations of the ORF, where, there too, spaces were specially arranged and accommodate the personnel necessary to maintain the antenna. The group’s national radio stations are also being confined. Ultimately, 180 ORF employees will be affected by such a system. Radical, but necessary measures, according to ORF director general Alexander Wrabetz: “The ORF must maintain its information service, it is just as important as energy supply or telecommunications“And he adds that this is the first time in the history of the ORF that such measures have been taken.
The ORF has recorded audience records in recent days. The most spectacular dates back to March 15, the day the government announced drastic containment measures. The news attracted nearly 2.8 million viewers that evening, a considerable score in a country of less than 9 million people.
The Austrians are massively informed in these times of crisis and this seems to have consequences since in Austria, the confinement instructions are known and respected. The Minister of the Interior himself believes that “95% of Austrians cooperate” and “Only 5% do not yet realize” of the situation.