WIUM Tristates Public Radio

Loyalty in the Newsroom

Jul 25, 2017

The Peoria Journal Star recently ran an article about changes in local TV newsrooms.  The piece quoted a member of management at one station who took young journalists to task.

“A lot of the turnover is due to the new, young workforce coming out of college without the same commitment and loyalty to companies as previous generations have had,” said Mark DeSantis, General Manager of WEEK-TV.

The Shop Talk panelists disagree with that comment.

Jasmine Crighton said it’s not just young journalists who quickly move on from local TV stations – she said there is a high turnover rate in all tiers of local TV news departments.  And she pointed out WEEK recently replaced a news director who had been there for just a couple years.

Crighton said reporters who are just starting out usually don’t make much money, which is one reason why reporters leave for another station or leave the field.

Rich Egger said loyalty is a two-way street. He said management needs to show its loyalty and commitment to young journalists by paying decent wages and adequately staffing newsrooms.  He said too many newsrooms have adopted the motto of “doing more with less.”  He would like to see them do away with that way of thinking.

Will Buss found DeSantis’ comments unusual.  He said newsrooms in smaller markets generally expect reporters to put in their time for a few years before leaving for a larger market or another profession.

Buss said he demonstrated loyalty when he reported for smaller newspapers by showing up every day and putting in the time and effort to get the job done.

Jasmine Crighton is News Director of NEWS3 at Western Illinois University and Will Buss is the Director of Student Publications at WIU.