Could Newsroom Work Conditions Improve? Yes! Starting With...


Could Newsroom Work Conditions Improve?
Yes! Starting With...

Written by Soul Witness
🕒 August 13, 2019

Could work conditions in newsrooms improve?

When I was asked this question, I had the same immediate thought all of you probably had: OF COURSE THEY CAN!

Then, the…“Well they could do this or that, actually give us a lunch break, maybe some lighter gear, maybe some not-so-broken gear”…thoughts came flooding in.

Then, I realized, the ONE thing that could really improve work conditions is something that most managers won’t or can’t do: 🗣️GET RID OF TOXIC PEOPLE!!

I’ve been in a few newsrooms in my life, and some were better than others, but the ones that were “better” had a few things in common:
✅ The people who were there, genuinely cared.
✅ They were nice to each other.
✅ Everyone supported each other.
✅ They didn’t back-stab each other.
✅ They helped each other.

Now you’re probably thinking, “Well, that’s hard to find in a newsroom today, Soul Witness.”

“Does that type of environment even exist?”

Image result for question gif​I’m telling you it does, and it can, but it requires some effort from employees (there’s a list of tips below), and it requires managers who actually manage and make good decisions.

I’ve been a manger. I know it is an extremely difficult position to be in. There are HR rules and regulations, you’ve got to deal with corporate (Lord, help us all), and, in today’s world, there’s always red tape.

But, a great leader will truly care about and invest in their employees’ well-being and futures. Telling someone to “shape up or ship out” is rough. You deal with tears, tempers, and occasionally, physical and violent tantrums. But, if you want your newsroom to thrive, it has to be done. It MUST be done.

We’ve all heard the saying “one bad apple can ruin the whole bunch.” Well, one toxic person can ruin a whole newsroom.

“But.…they’re good at their job.” 🙄

Dear managers,
          So 👏🏽are 👏🏽others. You’re just not paying enough attention, or, you are but, you’re just too scared to do anything about it. You could have an entire newsroom full of flourishing employees…but that one person you keep on keeping around is hindering everyone else’s progress.

Still don’t believe me? Scroll through the Rate My Station Facebook page. Read review after review of toxic workplaces. It’s so common it’s become “the norm” for newsrooms.  Just the word “newsroom” is now more synonymous with toxicity and hostility than anything pleasant.

How many of us have told people who come in for an interview something like this… “Well, it’s not too bad of a place until (insert name) gets here. Then, just do you, mind your business, and don’t get too close to them.”

It’s a sad reality we in the news business face. We see it, and deal with it on a daily basis. We think it’s impossible for managers to NOT see it. Therefore, we believe the higher-ups are thinking: “Yeah, they’re toxic, and just a horrible person all around, but they bring in money and they bring in good ratings.”

So, what’s left for the worker bees to do? Deal with it? Complain to the boss, or HR, and risk retaliation or losing our jobs?

Image result for Brigitte Nielsen gif

Those seem like our only options. So, more often than not, we deal with it.

Dear managers,
          Now I’m asking you: You’ve got a horrible person who is good at their job, but they cause so much frustration for the dozens of others. Why are you catering to that one? Really, why? I’m genuinely curious, as are others.
You have a chance to help dozens, but one person is stopping any and all progress. So why keep them around? For you, is having to step-up and let go of one person more of a burden than the stress, manipulation, heartbreak, and pain that your other employees are feeling and going through daily? Is having a hostile work environment worth it?
Please, think about it and weigh in. These are the questions your employees are thinking…they’re just not asking.

To everyone else,
Just try to be understanding of how your managers are dealing with these people.

Their “see ya later” paperwork may be on the way, but it’s taking a while…your managers may want to, but can’t tell you that. However, dreading going to work is a feeling none of us should have. But, sometimes, major changes (like a newsroom detox) can happen slowly.

So here’s what you can do to deal with the madness until then:

          Try to bring positive energy to work. Find something good about every single day, focus on it, and maybe even share it; in a meeting or, on a corner of the whiteboard. It could inspire others to do the same.

          Lead by example. Be kind to others. Complement others. Help others. Care. You may have more of an influence than you think.

          Keep going. Stay strong. Keep working. Do your best and don’t stress about the rest.

          Leave. It’s okay to want better for yourself, to want to grow, to learn, to do something different, to be somewhere different. However, you must take this experience with you, and decide to never be or become the toxic employee.

You will get another job. You will get another chance. It gets better, friends. Keep believing. 💜

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1 Comment

  1. This is all fine and good, but what is almost all of the mangers are the toxic ones at your station? At my station in Orlando we have bosses, not leaders. They’re the ones that don’t listen to their crews concerns or ideas, they just throw others under the bus in order to make themselves look good. What can we do about that?! This place is completely toxic, and it all stems from the managers.

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