Two new studies confirm what nearly every TV news journalist has known for a while. Burnout is exceptionally high.
The hope is corporate broadcasting leaders will read the study headlines and let this concept truly absorb: Newsroom structure must change.
This year the RTDNA/Newhouse School at Syracuse University Survey included a section on comments from news directors, listing the complaints and solutions they are trying. Good perspective.
The Center for Innovation and Sustainability in Local Media at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill’s Hussman School of Journalism and Media also studied journalists’ work lives, focusing heavily on burnout. It is important to note the burnout rate is even higher under age 45 in this study. Not a good sign for the future of journalism.
I could list the high statistics from journalists stating burnout in these studies. The numbers are very high and going up. Let’s focus on sustainability.
It starts with this simple concept: The news cycle has changed with digital’s easy accessibility.
Newsrooms’ standard factory worker-type shift design is losing effectiveness. Ask a journalist how often they have to work from home to prepare for their shift, have a scheduled nine or ten-hour shift, then work from home after their shift. Journalists would benefit from approaching work to find stories like attorneys or doctors do. This means more flexible scheduling to accommodate sources and when stories happen.
I get that journalists are scheduled like shift workers due to newscast air times. But some journalists could have more flexible hours. They can still add to newscasts without working nearly every waking moment.
Top News Talent has smart, practical ways to help your newsroom work smarter, not harder. We also do not implement a one size fits all concept. We will look at your newsroom and help you work with the journalists you have. We simplify workloads, improve communication, figure out better scheduling, and help newsrooms with targeted training to build up staff to make their jobs more manageable.
The current TV newsroom structure must change. That’s a simple, profound truth. Ratings and community impact will not increase if journalists are continually burning out and quitting. Let’s focus on working smarter, not harder.