There is something that needs to be said. It’s there in every newsroom from New York to Yuma. It’s not a new problem for sure but let’s call it a new challenge. It can be fixed. But first, it needs to be recognized.
We are asking our broadcast and digital journalists to do something that is killing them from the inside out. We are asking young producers and reporters and photographers and writers and digital storytellers to innovate and fill a bigger news basket and take on more responsibility and do more with less but we are not giving them the professional or emotional tools to help them do it.
For some, it’s their first job. They don’t know how to “live” with their co-workers. They don’t know how to have a professional conversation with their boss. They don’t know how to set boundaries for their work life and professional life. They don’t know how to tell their boss they are exhausted or sick or just confused. They don’t know how to and when to take a risk professionally. They don’t know when to be honest and when to lie. Do any of these questions ring true with you?
If the leaders of news organizations want to find a way to “relate” to the new workers. If they really want to keep good producers and MMJ’s, they need to find a way to answer these questions and give their employees the “feeling” they care. Bosses, or newsroom leaders, are not parents or friends. However, they need to be listeners and “understanders” and “feelers”. They need to recognize when a good producer is ready to burn out and walk out. They need to give their “team” a way to get better and feel better. They need to stoke the passion that is being doused by low pay and long hours and rude demands for more.
The solution is somewhere. Many people are searching for it every day. One station even cancelled its’ newscasts for one day to give employees some “therapy”. What do we need to do to change the way we work and interact and lead so we can minimize the stress and maximize the positive passion for our jobs. Do you just need more money? How about more days off? Would it help if you had some personal coaching or training to help you attack your job and make you stronger?
It’s the “elephant” in our newsrooms. It’s driving good people out of TV and digital journalism. Let’s start listening and we will if you start talking. Answer this question: What would make your happier or more satisfied professionally and personally?