This Newsroom Job Opening
Reaches A New Low
This Newsroom Job Opening Reaches A New Low
Written by Lois Lane
🕒 March 30, 2022
Newsrooms have long been understaffed, and the cuts keep coming.
But somebody hold the phone… here comes a new low. In an industry that’s practically begging people to apply at this point, a new job opening at a station in North Carolina is almost comical.
The job listing in question is hiring for a receptionist and digital content producer. Said employee will not only be creating “memes, videos and graphics” for social media, but answering the phone, greeting visitors, and “daily program log reconciliation.”
Apparently this station, which belongs to one of the big parent companies, thinks your journalism degree makes you a great fit for “preparing overnight packages as needed” for FedEx. That’s not the kind of package we thought we were signing up for.
Stop me if I’m wrong, but if this perspective isn’t right on the money, then here’s the alternative: This station manager thinks anyone qualified for reception work is also capable of creating compelling, journalistic content.
TV journalism was once viewed as an art.
But this new listing makes it sound as though anyone with a working computer, and opposable thumbs, can churn out newsworthy content.
Egos aside, the big issue here is the incredible scaling back of news staff and resources. The listing for this job doesn’t disclose the salary, but it wouldn’t be shocking to hear it pays $13-15 an hour.
So why underfund your main revenue generator? It’s hard to say… but one thought that comes to mind is that many of these parent companies have investors, and they need to show their stockholders they’re making more and more money each year. The fastest way to do that, one might argue, is to cut corners and trim the fat. Except now, they’re cutting into the muscle—personnel.
It’s such a conundrum. While staff are being asked to do more for no extra money, the news world is experiencing a big staffing shortage. Qualified journalists are exiting the industry in mass, due to a number of reasons, not the least of which is income.
Scripps is actually paying a signing bonus to producers in some markets just to get applicants. But what the industry really needs isn’t a one time, heavily taxed sign-on bonus. Fair wages and realistic expectations could go a long way for stations desperate for employees.