The most obvious takeaway is while it can be hard to wrap your head around how, if you take the plunge and hire remotely, the level of experienced journalists you get access to is remarkable. Think of experienced journalists, who you usually never would be able to attract to work in your newsroom, lining up to work for you because they can have more flexibility in their schedule.
The producers feel less stressed because they can work at their own pace. They don’t have to deal with distractions. So it is easier to bond with each other and work together. There isn’t an innate sense of competition because you share a producer pod and must compete to get noticed.
Meetings can be way more productive. It feels safer bringing up a new idea from the sanctity of your own home office. That physical separation can lead to more collaboration. Especially if it is fostered in meetings and the managers follow up with those ideas. Managers have more time to do this since they don’t have to babysit the pod. Instead, they can call and talk one-on-one more often with the producers. They have to keep up with what’s happening by directly interacting, leading to more high-quality conversations instead of suggestions in passing.
TNT has some content producers who left TV news to try other careers. They missed journalism. So they come in, eager to work hard and make a difference. They also are more willing to brainstorm. So many suggestions on types of stories, ways to share information, and less news speak. The stories are more authentic.
The most important takeaway for the industry is this: Remote producing has kept some strong journalists in the field. The ability to separate from the constant stress of being in the pressure cooker of a newsroom is often all these journalists need to shine. Newsrooms are challenging to work in. The noise, side conversations, internal politics, bright lights, and, yes, often chilling cold temperatures can impact productivity in some people. Why lose strong journalists over such a simple fix? The remote producers we have placed talk about how refreshing it is to focus on the work, take their time, and concentrate. Even if you are not a fan of remote producing, consider that. Then look at all the openings in the industry right now for producers and managers. Something has to give. The newsroom environment is a crucial place to start. Our remote producing program has shown us this most of all.