January 31st, 2016
(written by lawrence krubner, however indented passages are often quotes). You can contact lawrence at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Jim Tankersley is economic policy correspondent for The Washington Post. In an interview with Quartz, Tankersley notes that while reporting has always been demanding, the current environment has created problems far beyond the bounds of workplace exhaustion.
“What strikes me lately [. . .] is how relentless the demands are on all of my reporter friends, no matter where they work or what they write about,” Tankersley says. “Everyone is juggling. If you want to do big, important, time-consuming pieces, the ones that really serve your audience and your community the most, you almost have to be able to turn out quick-hitting stories at the same time.”
Young people in the media frequently complain about all of the extra skills young journalists now need to get hired and create compelling content. We worry about how hard it can be to get a job. We spill a lot of ink whining about the decline of quality content and reporting, and the rise of so-called click-bait. We bemoan the difficulty of making money while producing good journalism, and we try to fix the problem through technological innovations, subscription services and partial paywalls.
While Tankerlsey says those who are able to pull off this type of multitasking should be applauded, he’s worried that the younger reporters especially “are often running perilously close to burnout. We should all worry about reporters running out of time or energy for more ambitious work,” he says.
The constant pressure of deadlines and the realities of the journalism economy can lead to feelings of disempowerment. And when journalists feel disempowered, they not only lose their ability to do their jobs well–they also stop caring about whether they do a good job.