Low pay, high cost of living forcing reporters to get second jobs after grueling news shifts.
It’s disheartening and pathetic but also, the reality for so many small market multimedia journalists.
At a time when organizations can barely find employees, we have located at least 25 journalists who can they barely pay bills, eat, live or get to work on a news paycheck. They are all supplementing their TV paychecks which is leading to massive burnout.
Newsblues has confirmed that a handful of stations, across multiple ownerships, are are having to cancel newscasts because they can’t find producers. And furthermore, reporters are leaving not staying. Retention is almost as hard as recruitment at this point.
Here are some stories from you reporters we’ve talked to. In each case, the reporter is in their first or second job. They’ve all had to side hustle to pay their bills and stay in their homes.
“Instacart was my saving grace.”
“I bartend on Saturday nights and I love it. I usually walk away with $200-$300 cash from tips.”
“If you need fast money, donate plasma.”
“I worked FedEx FullTime as a Driver.”
We, as an industry, are in a crisis. And the solution is not settling young journalists doing harrowing work to get off their shifts and delivering food.
The solution is to increase wages and provide in-house services for journalists who need mental health and professional development support.
These young people who are giving up so much to move to the middle of nowhere to take a job they want and tell stories, deserve more.
If we want to create a pipeline of talent again and keep the entire well from going dry, this needs to be done immediately.