WIUM Tristates Public Radio

Burned Out on Reporting

Apr 28, 2015

Research by a University of Kansas professor found journalism burnout is affecting women more than men.  Burnout factors include exhaustion, cynicism, and a perceived lack of support from their employer.

In a release from the university, researcher Scott Reinardy said, “It’s become far more difficult and complex to be a journalist.  And unfortunately there are a lot of people in newsrooms right now looking for other jobs.”

Shop Talk panelist Jasmine Crighton said burnout contributed to her decision to leave TV news for teaching. She worked an overnight shift and was solely responsible for preparing the morning show.

Crighton also said women are still often expected to handle much of the cooking, cleaning, and other chores at home.  She said that can be difficult to do while also working the long hours that often come with a career in journalism.

Panelist Rich Moreno said women reporters also face extra scrutiny, especially regarding their looks on television. He said it’s not uncommon for women anchors and reporters to receive nasty letters about their hairstyle or clothing.  He said that can quickly burn out someone.

In addition, Moreno pointed out the study found more than half of male reporters are also considering leaving the field because of burnout.

Panelist Rich Egger wondered whether burnout happens more among commercial broadcasters than those in public broadcasting. Commercial enterprises are profit-driven while public broadcasters are mission-driven, so reporters at commercial stations are under constant pressure to find stories that might boost ratings. Higher ratings = larger profits, and that money often ends up in management’s pockets rather than a reporter’s paycheck.