Journalists will be kinder to each other — and to themselves

“What we’re experiencing isn’t sustainable, and we have an opportunity to take what we’ve learned and push for permanent, constructive changes.”

After a relentless news cycle during the Trump presidency and a truly brutal year that laid bare America’s structural problems, journalists have to do more for one another during the rest of the pandemic and beyond. What we’re experiencing isn’t sustainable, and we have an opportunity to take what we’ve learned and push for permanent, constructive changes.

Employers will do more to create healthy work cultures, and make sure that employees lead by example. They will support employees who are parents and caregivers, and institute policies to give them more flexibility. They’ll improve their vacation, sick time, and leave policies and their benefits offerings. Large newsrooms will expand more remote work roles, allowing them to tap into talent across the country and giving journalists more freedom about where to live.

News leaders will do more to create equitable, safe workplaces. White journalists will do more to support their BIPOC colleagues, and will hold employers accountable to diversify newsrooms and provide career paths to journalists of color. Employers will do a better job to hold employees responsible for racist, discriminatory, and abusive behavior and to reward and promote employees who prioritize diversity and make newsroom cultures healthier.

Managers will make mental health a priority, ensuring employees get the time off they need and regularly checking in with employees about their well-being. Journalists will be encouraged and empowered to take better care of themselves so that fewer burn out and more stay in the industry.

Finally, newsrooms will work together to collaborate on reporting, publishing, and skill-sharing as news organizations have proven it’s possible to successfully share informational and even financial resources. Journalists will continue to choose collaboration over competition to figure out innovative ways to produce reporting that serves communities large and small and to make our industry more sustainable.

I realize this sounds like wishful thinking, and I know it will be an uphill battle. But as we face a new normal, it’s our responsibility to do whatever’s in our power to do better.

Rachel Glickhouse manages partnerships at ProPublica.

After a relentless news cycle during the Trump presidency and a truly brutal year that laid bare America’s structural problems, journalists have to do more for one another during the rest of the pandemic and beyond. What we’re experiencing isn’t sustainable, and we have an opportunity to take what we’ve learned and push for permanent, constructive changes.

Employers will do more to create healthy work cultures, and make sure that employees lead by example. They will support employees who are parents and caregivers, and institute policies to give them more flexibility. They’ll improve their vacation, sick time, and leave policies and their benefits offerings. Large newsrooms will expand more remote work roles, allowing them to tap into talent across the country and giving journalists more freedom about where to live.

News leaders will do more to create equitable, safe workplaces. White journalists will do more to support their BIPOC colleagues, and will hold employers accountable to diversify newsrooms and provide career paths to journalists of color. Employers will do a better job to hold employees responsible for racist, discriminatory, and abusive behavior and to reward and promote employees who prioritize diversity and make newsroom cultures healthier.

Managers will make mental health a priority, ensuring employees get the time off they need and regularly checking in with employees about their well-being. Journalists will be encouraged and empowered to take better care of themselves so that fewer burn out and more stay in the industry.

Finally, newsrooms will work together to collaborate on reporting, publishing, and skill-sharing as news organizations have proven it’s possible to successfully share informational and even financial resources. Journalists will continue to choose collaboration over competition to figure out innovative ways to produce reporting that serves communities large and small and to make our industry more sustainable.

I realize this sounds like wishful thinking, and I know it will be an uphill battle. But as we face a new normal, it’s our responsibility to do whatever’s in our power to do better.

Rachel Glickhouse manages partnerships at ProPublica.

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