2022-08-09 Sarah Levins on the future of journalism

Savannah Levins (@LevinsReports): Thread: I’m worried about the future of journalism.

I’m an admin of a group of 7.5k female journalists (MMJane, founded by @StorytellerSBM). An overwhelming majority of posts are people sharing that they’re overworked, underpaid, under-appreciated. >>

There are SO MANY posts asking what jobs they can do on the side. (FYI most contracts prevent us from using our skills elsewhere or having another job period). And yet hundreds of journalists are working 10+ hour days then working as bartenders, servers, etc to afford to live.

The average pay for a 1st job in TV news is around 30k, according to data we compiled. That’s usually for a 2-3 year contract. If we leave or are fired, a “non compete” clause means we cannot work in news in that same market for a certain amount of time (usually at least a year).

You want diverse, educated, responsible newsrooms? Good luck. Because frankly the only people who can afford to move up in this job are people who have the money and time to afford to. >>

Single parents? People with student loans? People who don’t have family money to fall back on, or access to mentors through expensive conferences and colleges? More often than not these passionate talented smart people will not survive the industry. They cant.

It’s hindering newsrooms’ ability to hire diverse and talented journalists. Why would someone stay at a job where they’re working under high stress, an unpredictable schedule, no holidays off, and often little appreciation just to not even be able to pay for rent?

It’s a scary reality most news consumers don’t know. Good journalism is CRUTIAL to our society. And if you’re not seeing it, this is a big reason why. I had no student loans, & I still spent 3 years living in the office of someone’s home because it’s all I could afford starting out

I just feel like this needs to be recognized, and discussed, and addressed.

Newsrooms: prioritize your people. Validation and recognition goes a long way.

Everyone else, you SHOULD demand good journalism. And you should know the reality of the people trying to provide it.

I’ve never seen such a mass exodus as what we’re seeing today. We’re losing SO MANY talented journalists to PR and other industries and I predict it will continue unless the culture changes. And journalism across the nation will suffer for it.

If you’re a journalist and you’re struggling or need a mentor, please reach out. My DMs are always open. And I encourage other experienced journalists of privilege and rank to do the same. It’s all I can think to do, in addition to advocating for my peers & being transparent.

These are just some of the posts we’ve had in the last 48 hours. Copy & pasted to protect anonymity.

This is the reality. https://twitter.com/LevinsReports/status/1556693322932097024/photo/1

Let me be clear: I’m so grateful for my journey, my job, managers & mentors. I’m able to support myself now & my station is great. But I also recognize so much of my success has come from privilege & opportunities so many don’t & won’t have.

I’m scared for the industry I love.

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