5 Simple Ways Newsroom Leaders Can Help Reduce Burn Out

5 Simple Ways Newsroom Leaders Can Help Reduce Burn Out

Written by News Gal
🕒 January 20, 2019

My coworker is very good at his job. He’s a reporter, with nearly a decade of news experience, from TV stations throughout the country.

He breaks stories. He does solid live shots. He always shows up with story pitches. He asks the tough questions. And he just quit.

After less than a year at our station, he’s hanging up his reporter hat.

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When I asked him why he decided to leave, he was very honest.
He hated working at our station.

He couldn’t stand that management didn’t air some of his stories because they thought the reports would make certain people mad. He was furious that he was holding the powerful accountable, but management would choose not to air the facts.

He was frustrated that he was promised a lot during his interview, and most of those promises were lies. He was sick of the drama in the newsroom. He can’t work in news for a year now, but that might be for the best.

He’s ready to move on, and take time to figure out what he wants and needs to be happy. To put it simply, he’s burned out.

It’s not that he doesn’t like news anymore, it’s that he doesn’t like the way he has to do it at our station.

He isn’t the only one in the newsroom that feels this way, he’s just the only one with the guts to do something about it.

I asked some of my colleagues, and friends at other stations, what news managers can do to help reduce burn out, and here are the top 5 answers:

1. Stop making us do more with less.

This was a common complaint from reporters and photographers. Stations are cutting back on staff, but expecting to have the same amount of content. That’s not possible.

Stop telling reporters they have plenty of time to do three different packages and be live and write web stories. It’s not possible to be in two places at once.

Reporters and photographers need time between stories, and they need a certain amount of time to put stories together. Making us run around collecting as much content as possible stresses us out, and ultimately the final product suffers.

2. Give constructive criticism, but let us know when we do something well, too.

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There’s nothing worse than only hearing about the mistakes you make. Sure, we need to know when we screw up, but it is nice to hear when we do a good job, too.

If managers would take the time to point out some of the positives, morale would improve. There’s not much that can burn you out faster than always hearing how much you suck.

3. Say thank you

This might sound stupid, but those two words can go a long way. If an employee stays late, works on a special project, or helps a teammate, say thank you.

You might be amazed at how that simple gesture can help make employees feel appreciated.

4. Let people take a chance every now and then.

If a reporter has a story they feel passionate about, let them do it. It’s so frustrating to pitch ideas that constantly get turned down.

Just because a manager doesn’t like the story, doesn’t mean that story shouldn’t be told.

Give reporters a chance to work on something they care about. It’s amazing how much passion can elevate a final product.

5. Be human

If an employee seems stressed and worn out, ask them if they’re OK. You can tell when someone is upset or not feeling his or her best.

Instead of continuing to pile on the stress, talk with them, see what’s going on, and figure out of there is a way you can help.

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