Stacy Owen, president and general manager of San Jose-based NBC Bay Area (KNTV) and Telemundo 48 (KSTS ), is a “silver lining kind of person.”

That explains how she’s able to maintain an upbeat attitude during this ultra-challenging year. On the plus side, the local television market experienced a 75 percent increase in evening-newscast viewership as the coronavirus crisis took hold.

But the pandemic also brought on economic hardships for many of the businesses who fuel local television with advertising dollars. And it forced the postponement of the Summer Olympics — traditionally a blockbuster promotional platform for NBC and its local stations.

Still, Owen insists, “I’m not focused on what we don’t have right now. … I try to find the positives.”

Owen honed that approach during what she calls an “Odysseus-like journey” that took her from her native Los Angeles to UC Berkeley and various stations around the country. Before landing her current position in 2017, she did a three-year stint as the news director at KRON (Channel 4) and then returned to L.A., where she spent five years as the assistant news director at KNBC.

Q: Like many business, you’ve had to change your approach during the pandemic. What was your mindset as the crisis began?

A: Having a background in news helped. In March we kind of went into a breaking-news mode. That basically meant doing three things: Devise a plan. Execute the plan. Play to everyone’s strengths. And then we went about leveraging the skills of 250 employees spread out over two buildings.

Q: And it all came together pretty quickly?

A: We didn’t wait until the county-wide shutdown began. We started talking at the end of February about what we wanted to do, and we sent people home on March 12. Our mandate was that we wanted 100 percent of our workforce to be able to work from home — not that they would all be working from home, but had the ability to. And then we put everyone on one- and two-week rotations. So if an outbreak happened in the building, we could flip it.

Q: So your place is now a ghost town?

A: I wouldn’t call it a ghost town, but it’s sparsely populated. … We’ve got a small, but mighty crew.

Q: You like to emphasize the positive. What’s a positive that has come out of this?

A: Well, one is that we’ve found new ways of communicating with each other, including the Zoom chats … . I really do think people are connecting with each other in more meaningful ways.

Q: During the pandemic, your socially distanced newscasts have taken on a new look. You have some people delivering reports from home. Explain your approach.

A: For Telemundo, our set is big enough to keep two anchors on the set. For NBC Bay Area, we always have one anchor on the set and one reporting from the newsroom. And, yes, we have people reporting from their homes, which has been interesting. … (Chief meteorologist) Jeff Ranieri likes to change up the art in his background, and he has his dog, Lucy, drop in on Wednesdays. … (Weeknight anchor) Raj Mathai has had his (11-year-old) son Maxx on occasionally, and refers to him as his “technical support.”

Q: Sounds fun, but isn’t it also logistically challenging?

A: Sure, but I think the shows have a different level of intimacy. Viewers are getting to know our people personally … (Weekend anchor) Kris Sanchez  has actually had her husband run through the shot. … Honestly, these moments connect us to our audience. It has given them a window into our lives. So it’s not a cliche: We’re literally all in this together.

Q: How would you sum up this extraordinary year so far? Not only is your team working through a global pandemic, it is scrambling to cover huge news stories, including a summer of racial reckoning, horrendous wildfires and an impending presidential election.

A: It’s a year that certainly tests people’s mettle. But it also fuels our obligation to rise to the challenge and give viewers the critical information they need. (On the advertising side), it has us looking at how can we help our business partners who had to close their doors because of COVID. … How can we help them rebuild? How can we help them with their messaging? Our role is to connect these businesses with the public and vice versa.

Q: NBC Bay Area also facilitated a telethon back in April to benefit the Silicon Valley Strong financial assistance fund.

A: That’s something I’m really proud of — stepping up early to raise money for the most vulnerable who were not eligible for unemployment benefits.

Q: How much did it hurt losing the Olympics this summer?

A: I don’t look at anything as woe-is-me. I try to see an opportunity. Yes, the Olympics were postponed. But we took what was an opportunity and turned it into a different opportunity. Now, we’ll have the Olympics in 2021 (scheduled to begin July 23 in Tokyo) and during the period from July through the following February, we’ll have three of the biggest sports events there are, including the 2022 Super Bowl and the Winter Olympics (starting Feb. 4 in Beijing). … I’m also excited that the next two Olympics are in Asia. We have so many ties to Asia here in the Bay Area. We’re just reimagining what we can do.

Q: What’s the best thing about the job? And the most frustrating?

A: The best is the spirit of innovation and the teamwork. You have a lot of different people from different backgrounds and departments collaborating toward one goal. And they see it as working for the public good. That sounds like a really noble goal, and it is. But what’s interesting is that it spurs a drive to innovate. You think “OK, we need to help people. Now how do we reach them? What’s the best way to do that?”

The most frustrating? There aren’t enough hours in the day. There are so many great ideas out there, but only so much time. So a big focus has to be prioritizing. … Also, you don’t want to burn people out. During a year like this, everyone is raising their hands to do more. Everyone is working their tails off.

Q: Even before COVID, it was a challenging time for the television business, where audiences are more fragmented and viewership is rapidly shifting from linear to nonlinear. Why do you remain so upbeat?

A: As tough as 2020 has been, I’m incredibly optimistic about local TV and multimedia. During COVID, people found us again. They wanted — and needed — to know what’s happening right in my city, my county. I expect that the election will be the same way. …Viewers turn to the local news to see people who are looking out for them.

Stacy Owen

Organization: KNTV NBC Bay Area & KSTS Telemundo 48

Title: President & General Manager

Birthplace: Los Angeles

Residence: Los Gatos

Education: Wesleyan University, UC Berkeley

Family: Husband and son

5 things about Stacy Owen

1. Bay Area proud. She’s “a Southern Californian by birth, a Bay Area resident by choice.” Her son was born in San Francisco and her first house was in Oakland.

2. She once ran the newsroom at a Cincinnati station and now advises young journalists to spend at least two years in the middle of the country “to broaden their perspective.”

3. She’s drawn to journalism because of “the power of stories to inspire action.”

4. Owen loves adventure travel. Highlights include a solo trek to Ecuador and summiting Mount Shasta.

5. At 23, she was producing, reporting and anchoring in a seven-person newsroom in El Centro when the Loma Prieta earthquake hit.