Local media burnout report (page 2)

Who responded?

We surveyed 545 journalists from a sample of 4573 journalists (12% response rate) across three different media types — print newspapers, broadcast (TV and radio) and digital media.

Respondents were allowed to select multiple responses for the type of outlet where they work. 84% of respondents said their outlet was digital, 50% print newspaper, 22% television, 16% radio, 7% print magazine and 3% other.

Respondents were asked what beat they report on: Arts and Entertainment, Business (Includes Real Estate and Finance), Crime and Justice, Education, Energy, Environment, Food and Dining, Health, Military, Opinion and Editorial, Politics, Religion, Science, Sports, Technology, Transportation, Weather and Other.

Due to the large number of respondents who chose a beat that was “Other”, respondents’ beats were grouped into categories for analysis. The most common category was General Assignment/Breaking News/Multiple Beats (20%), followed by Politics (19%), Crime and Justice (12%), Business/Transportation (8%), Education (8%), Other (6%), Science/Health/Technology (6%), Energy/Environment/Climate (4%), Life/Culture (4%), Sports (3%), Management (2%) and Opinion and Editorial (1%).

Respondents were also asked for their job category, using categories from CISLM’s diversity audit. Most respondents (80%) were in news creation, followed by news production (13%) and other (6%). Less than 1% of respondents worked in engagement, similarly with those who worked in news product and strategy.

The average respondent was 37 years old, had worked in journalism for 14 years, including experience in student media, and worked at their current organization for 5.5 years.

Nearly six-in-ten respondents (59%) identified as women, 38% identified as men, 3% identified as non-binary or selected “other”. Due to the small size of respondents who identified as non-binary or other, we combined nonbinary respondents with those identifying as women for a joint category of “women and non-binary” for purposes of analysis.

Respondents were asked to indicate their race based on the categories used by the U.S. Census Bureau and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission: Black or African American, Asian American, Pacific Islander, Native American, white or more than one race.

The majority of respondents were white (81%), followed by respondents of more than one race (6%), Black/African American respondents (5%), Asian American respondents (3%), respondents of another race (2%), Pacific Islander respondents (2%) and Native American respondents (less than 1%). 10% of respondents identified as Hispanic or Latino. Due to the low group size of racial groups other than white, we created a “BIPOC” group that contains all respondents who identified as non-white for purposes of analysis.

It is difficult to understand how these demographics measure up to industry diversity statistics, since the News Leaders Association has not released data from its diversity survey since 2019 due to low response rates. However, the 2019 survey indicated that people of color made up about 22% of print and digital staff. The 2022 Radio Television Digital News Association survey found that people of color made up approximately 26% of TV staff and 18% of radio staff.

The lack of diversity among survey respondents is a limitation of this study. Burnout among journalists of color is an understudied but vital topic for further research, since those journalists must also navigate predominantly white newsroom structures and colleagues in addition to their jobs. Previous studies of burnout in journalism have attracted a less diverse group of respondents, in which 91% of respondents were Caucasian.

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"Local media burnout report" table of contents

  1. Local media burnout report
  2. Who responded?
  3. Burnout in U.S. local journalists
  4. Burnout demographics
  5. Changes and leaving journalism
  6. Conclusion
  7. Appendix: Method