CISLM, NC Local News Workshop collaborating on education series focused on ‘Building Better Newsrooms’

Workplace Resilience: Building Better Newsrooms

The COVID-19 pandemic and the Great Resignation made clearer what many people knew all along: Newsrooms aren’t providing sustainable and positive work experiences for reporters or editors, especially those who belong to marginalized communities.

And while corporate-owned and legacy outlets take the brunt of criticism after 15 years of “do more with less” mentalities, smaller shops and startups also struggle with providing basic HR services, effective professional development opportunities or adequate compensation to employees.

The UNC Center for Innovation and Sustainability in Local News has identified workplace resilience as a key component in building a more equitable and sustainable future for local news, and has teamed with the NC Local News Workshop at Elon University to create and sponsor a series of workshops, conversations and events throughout 2022 titled “Workplace Resilience: Building Better Newsrooms.”

The series will identify ways to improve newsroom jobs and work through implementing improved systems, processes and smart investments in people. It won’t be about self-care or individual approaches to soothing burnout.

The first panel in the series was held at the NC Local News Summit in March. Titled “The Care and Feeding of Early-Career Journalists,” moderated by CISLM Director Erica Beshears Perel, the panel featured early-career reporter Hannah McClellan and her first boss, Chatham News + Record Publisher Bill Horner III, along with Rhema Thompson Bland, director of the Ida B. Wells Society for Investigative Reporting.

Future sessions will include topics such as pay and benefits in local newsrooms; the rise of labor unions; better work design; combating online harassment; and more equitable practices for freelance/contract work. Some will be self-hosted; others will be pitched to existing conferences.

The collaborators welcome feedback, ideas and invitations through this form.

ABOUT the UNC Center for Innovation and Sustainability in Local Media: The UNC Center for Innovation and Sustainability in Local Media combines research, education and outreach to help build a more equitable and sustainable future for local news organizations, the communities they serve and the journalists who work for them. The Center, funded by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and the UNC Office of the Provost, runs the UNC-Knight Table Stakes program for news transformation. Contact Erica Beshears Perel, CISLM director: [email protected]

ABOUT the NC Local News Workshop:  The NC Local News Workshop was established in summer 2020 as a response to the local news crisis in North Carolina. The Workshop has a three-part mission: connecting people across our local news ecosystem; convening people to solve challenges across our ecosystem; and building capacity through resources, coaching and other assistance. The Workshop is working to drive a shared vision for North Carolina’s news and information ecosystem by prioritizing inclusive, community-focused programs. Contact Shannan Bowen, NC Local News Workshop executive director: [email protected]