Local media burnout report (page 4)

Burnout demographics

Burnout by Age

Younger local journalists were more likely to suffer from higher burnout across all subscales. This trend has been found in previous research on burnout in journalism.

Journalists under the age of 45 reported higher levels of personal and work-related burnout than journalists 45 and older. Sixty-two percent of journalists 45 and over experienced personal burnout, compared to 77% of those under 25, 79% of those 25 to 34, and 74% of those 35 to 44. Similarly, 57% of journalists 45 and older experienced work-related burnout, compared to 77% of those under 25, 78% of those 25 to 34, and 72% of those 35 to 44.

Journalists in all age groups reported lower levels of source-related burnout than personal or work-related burnout. However, those 45 and older still experienced lower levels of source-related burnout than their younger counterparts. About a quarter (23%) of journalists 45 and older experienced source-related burnout while about a third of those under 25 (36%), 25 to 34 (35%), and 35 to 44 (33%) experienced source-related burnout.

Previous research has hypothesized that older journalists may experience lower levels of burnout due to a number of factors — including that they may have better coping skills as they age or that peers who were more susceptible to burnout left the industry. A 2022 survey by Pew Research Center found that about half of journalists under 30 said their job had a negative effect on their emotional well-being.

Burnout by Gender

A vast majority (82%) of journalists identifying as women or non-binary experienced personal burnout compared to 58% of journalists identifying as men. Similarly, 78% of women and non-binary respondents experienced work-related burnout, compared to 59% of men. Similar numbers of women and non-binary journalists (33%) as men (29%) experienced source-related burnout.

Previous studies on burnout in journalism have found mixed results on the effects of gender on the experience of burnout.

A 2023 study of European graduate students also found a significant difference in burnout by sex, indicating that the difference in burnout by gender may not be limited to the profession of journalism.

Burnout by Race

While race is not a significant predictor of burnout in this report, this is a topic that merits further research as race plays a role in who leaves journalism. A 2020 survey of former journalists of color from OpenNews found that the typical “leaver” from the journalism industry was an African American or Black woman aged 27-44.

Next chapter

"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