Why Journalism is Not for Parents



Many journalists consider their work as a calling. They live for breaking news, scoops, deadlines, and noteworthy stories. To get hold of getting people the knowledge they have — or maybe shaping the news cycle, early mornings and late nights are a tiny low price.

But the profession doesn’t always feel compatible with having the other serious responsibilities or interests, much fewer kids who have hardcore deadlines of their own, including doctor’s appointments, daycare pickups, playtime in a Playpen Elite playpen, and seven p.m. bedtimes.

If you’re scuffling with balancing journalism and parenthood, you’re not alone. Many of your colleagues across the country are grappling with an identical dilemma.

If and the way journalists are accessing family-friendly policies like paid family leave, telecommuting and flex-scheduling are what the survey was designed to measure. We also wanted to listen to how workplace culture is shaping people’s experiences.

The results are both encouraging and disappointing. On the surface, working for companies that provide key benefits and policies are many of the journalists who took the survey. Yet they’re also overwhelmingly worried about their career prospects after becoming parents and say they need few role models in management who demonstrate what it means to possess a viable balance between work and caregiving responsibilities.


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Whether their direct supervisor understands the challenges of being both a journalist and a parent, journalists’ individual experiences are heavily reliant on, their responses also indicate.

There’s still hope if these findings confirm your worst fears. Experts who study workplace policies say that pushing media companies to embrace work-life balance is a very important business strategy for retention, loyalty, and productivity. For ensuring that newsrooms are as diverse because of the audiences they serve, that approach is essential: Female journalists won’t ever reach parity with their male colleagues if senior leadership refuses to acknowledge that journalists even have caregiving responsibilities, which still fall disproportionately to women.

Newsrooms have to envision and implement new ways of assigning and valuing add order to convey all employees — not just parents — the possibility to possess a satisfying life off the work, said Brigid Schulte, director of the higher Life Lab at New America and formerly a veteran reporter for The Washington Post.

She says, “what we’re really doing is reinforcing this culture that to be an honest journalist you just about can’t have a life outside of journalism and that we all know that’s not true when we judge you by what proportion time you’re willing to place in, what number hours you’re employed, how late you’re answering your emails.”