ArticlePDF Available

Newspaper journalism in crisis: Burnout on the rise, eroding young journalists’ career commitment



The three-component Maslach Burnout Inventory-General Survey was implemented to examine burnout among newspaper journalists (N = 770). With a moderate rate of exhaustion, a high rate of cynicism and a moderate rate of professional efficacy, journalists demonstrate higher rates of burnout than presented in previous work. Additionally, journalists expressing intentions to leave the profession (n = 173) demonstrated high rates of exhaustion and cynicism, and moderate rates of professional efficacy, making them ‘at-risk’ for burnout. Also, 74.5 percent of journalists 34 and younger (n = 223) either expressed intentions to leave newspaper journalism or answered ‘don’t know’. The most ‘at-risk’ to burnout appear to be young copy editors or page designers working at small newspapers.
The online version of this article can be found at:
DOI: 10.1177/1464884910385188
2011 12: 33Journalism
Scott Reinardy
journalists' career commitment
Newspaper journalism in crisis: Burnout on the rise, eroding young
Published by:
can be found at:JournalismAdditional services and information for Alerts:
What is This?
- Jan 25, 2011Version of Record >>
at University of Kansas Libraries on March 10, 2014jou.sagepub.comDownloaded from at University of Kansas Libraries on March 10, 2014jou.sagepub.comDownloaded from
Corresponding author:
Scott Reinardy, University of Kansas, William Allen White School of Journalism & Mass Communications, 205A
Stauffer-Flint Hall, Lawrence, KS 66045 USA.
Newspaper journalism in crisis:
Burnout on the rise, eroding
young journalists’ career
Scott Reinardy
University of Kansas, USA
The three-component Maslach Burnout Inventory-General Survey was implemented
to examine burnout among newspaper journalists (N = 770). With a moderate rate of
exhaustion, a high rate of cynicism and a moderate rate of professional efficacy, journalists
demonstrate higher rates of burnout than presented in previous work. Additionally,
journalists expressing intentions to leave the profession (n = 173) demonstrated high
rates of exhaustion and cynicism, and moderate rates of professional efficacy, making
them ‘at-risk’ for burnout. Also, 74.5 percent of journalists 34 and younger (n = 223)
either expressed intentions to leave newspaper journalism or answered ‘don’t know’.
The most ‘at-risk to burnout appear to be young copy editors or page designers
working at small newspapers.
burnout, MBI-GS, newspaper journalists
Newspaper journalism is in a state of crisis (Alterman, 2006; Edmonds, 2009; Picard,
2006). Plummeting circulation, declining revenues, new technology, convergence, con-
glomerate ownership, and layoffs paint a bleak picture for anyone pursuing a career in
newspapers. And, along with the quagmire of issues, the readers, the investors, the pub-
lishers and the editors want more – more information, more revenue and more forums to
present the news.
According to the State of the News Media 2009 report (Edmonds, 2009), from 2005
to 2007, newspaper stocks lost 42 percent of their value. In 2008, the scenario grew much
worse as newspapers dropped 83 percent of their remaining value (Edmonds, 2009).
Also in 2008, 5,000 full-time journalism jobs were lost, advertising revenue continued
12(1) 33–50
© The Author(s) 2011
Reprints and permission: sagepub.
at University of Kansas Libraries on March 10, 2014jou.sagepub.comDownloaded from
34 Journalism 12(1)
its decline (down 23% since 2006) as did circulation (down 4.6% in 2008) (Edmonds,
2009). Compounding the issue is the ongoing struggle to transition from a paper product
to an electronic one without the business model to fully support either.
The transitional burden falls to those working in the trenches who are asked to generate
not just a daily product but a 24/7 information flow that accommodates a no-size-fits-all
audience. Economic issues have compounded the old journalism stresses of deadlines,
competition and work overload. With newsroom cutbacks, the approximately 47,000
remaining full-time daily newspaper newsroom employees (Edmonds, 2009) are being
asked to do more in a variety of ways. For instance, at Gannett the USAs largest
newspaper chain with 85 newspapers newsrooms are now ‘information centers that
merge the online and print operations. Information is presented in a variety of ways,
including paper, web and mobile devices (Ahrens, 2006).
For those in the newsroom, or information center, ignoring the economic impact on
journalism is no longer an option (Alterman, 2006). Along with the traditional journalistic
stresses of deadline and competition, news workers must now manage an evolving media
and the intangibles that follow.
Journalists are highly committed to their profession and define such commitment as
loyalty, pride in their work, getting facts correct, providing multiple sides of a story and
playing the role of governmental watchdog (Becker et al., 1979; Gardner et al., 2001;
Pew Research Center, 1999). Even though more than 90 percent of journalists are proud
to say they are journalists (Pew Research Center, 1999), their commitment has its limits.
Surveys indicate that among recent journalism and mass communication graduates only
about 20 percent expect to retire in their profession (Becker et al., 2006). So at what point
do dedication and commitment succumb to overwhelming burden?
At the turn of the 20th century, ‘to burn oneself out’ was English slang meaning ‘to
work too hard and die early (Partridge, 1950: 111). One of the first modern-day references
to burnout is Graham Greene’s 1961 best-selling novel A Burnt-out Case about a world
famous New York architect named Querry. Querry wrote to a physician:
I haven’t enough feeling left for human beings to do anything for them out of pity A vocation
is an act of love: it is not a professional career. When desire is dead one cannot continue to make
love. I’ve come to the end of desire and to the end of a vocation. (Greene, 1961: 57)
Although in 2005 the Center for Disease Control (CDC) reported that among the top
10 most stressful jobs, journalists are listed seventh, only a few stress and burnout stud-
ies have been conducted involving journalists (CDC, 2005). In self-reported surveys,
journalists have said they have suffered from some stress-related health problems
(Gloede, 1983), described their jobs as ‘highly stressful’ (Fitzgerald, 1995: 11), and
said that journalists are susceptible to burnout (Kalter, 1999). Some of the contributing
factors to stress and burnout in those studies included meeting newspaper deadlines,
pressure to produce good work, low pay, media competition, long hours, implementing
new technology, and conflict between work and family (Fitzgerald, 1995; Gloede,
1983; Kalter, 1999; Reinardy, 2008).
Studies have demonstrated that burnout can affect job performance (Cropanzano
et al., 2003; Keijsers et al., 1995; Parker and Kulik, 1995;Wright and Bonett, 1997;
at University of Kansas Libraries on March 10, 2014jou.sagepub.comDownloaded from
Reinardy 35
Wright and Cropanzano, 1998), job satisfaction (Baruch-Feldman et al., 2002) and work
and family relationships (Netemeyer et al., 1996), which in turn can lead to diminished
productivity and employee turnover (Eby et al., 2005; Huang et al., 2004; Kossek and
Ozeki, 1998; Netemeyer et al., 1996, 2004; Simon et al., 2004).
The three-component Maslach Burnout Inventory-General Survey (MBI-GS) was
developed to measure the rate of burnout among professionals not working in human
services (Maslach et al., 1996). Modifying the Maslach Burnout Inventory (MBI), which
was established in 1981, the MBI-GS examines workers who do not have direct personal
contact with service recipients. Unlike the MBI, the MBI-GS does not emphasize the
relationships with clients but instead focuses on work performance in general. The
MBI-GS includes the subscales exhaustion, cynicism and professional efficacy, and
signs of burnout are evident if exhaustion and cynicism rate high and professional effi-
cacy rates low (Maslach et al., 1996).
However, burnout does not develop in a vacuum. Stressors that cause stress can lead
to burnout, and studies have shown that stress and burnout lead to job turnover. In their
2002 study, Weaver et al. (2007) reported that stress and burnout were among the top
reasons journalists expressed intentions to leave their jobs. Dissatisfaction with pay, job
security, and an unfavorable work environment, such as deadlines and hours, were some
other reasons.
Researching job satisfaction among journalists is nothing new. In their landmark
study, Johnstone et al. (1976) examined correlations between job satisfaction and jour-
nalistic standards. At that time, satisfaction was high (more than 87% of more than 5,000
respondents said they were ‘very satisfied’ or ‘fairly satisfied’) and about 85 percent (of
that, 8.2% undecided) expected to be working in news media within five years. However,
younger journalists (under 25, 25–29, and 30–34) demonstrated lower levels of job satis-
faction and higher intentions to work outside of journalism within five years than other
groups. At 12.9 percent, journalists 25–29 recorded the highest percentage expected to
‘work outside news media’ within five years. Also, 15.4 percent of journalists 30–34 said
they were undecided about their work in journalism; the highest among those in the study.
Weaver and Wilhoit have spent nearly three decades examining news workers. In their
most recent work (Weaver et al., 2007), about one-third of more than 1100 journalists
(daily newspapers, weekly newspapers, news magazines, radio, TV, and news service)
indicated they were ‘very satisfied with their work. Also, about 83 percent of daily news-
paper journalists said they were very or fairly satisfied. Weaver et al. (2007) also reported
that nearly 20 percent of journalists, and 19 percent of those working at daily newspapers,
expressed intentions to leave journalism within five years or were not sure (2.4%).
Dating to Johnstone et al. (1976) and throughout the Weaver et al. studies (Weaver and
Wilhoit, 1986, Weaver and Wilhoit, 1996, Weaver et al., 2007) there appears to be a steady
decline in job satisfaction among newspaper journalists and an increase in intentions to
leave the profession. This study examines specific issues that could be contributing to the
declining satisfaction rate and intentions to leave, and builds on the previous work.
Using the MBI-GS, the purpose of this study is to determine the rate of burnout among
newspaper employees, which includes reporters, copy editors, page designers, news
editors, photographers and executive/managing editors. This study also examines the
relationship between burnout and journalists’ intentions to leave newspaper journalism.
at University of Kansas Libraries on March 10, 2014jou.sagepub.comDownloaded from
36 Journalism 12(1)
Previous studies have shown that burnout can lead to a reduction in work quality and
quantity, employee turnover and conflict at home and at work. Identifying the rate of
burnout among newsroom employees provides an opportunity to minimize or prevent the
potential repercussions.
Literature review
The first recognized scholar to study burnout was Herbert Freudenberger when he
published his 1974 article ‘Staff burn-out’ in the Journal of Social Issues. Freudenbergers
article was initiated by his own feelings of exhaustion, fatigue, frequent headaches,
sleeplessness, gastrointestinal problems, shortness of breath and lingering illnesses such
as a cold or flu. ‘The burn-out candidate finds it just too difficult to hold in feelings. He
cries too easily, the slightest pressure makes him feel overburdened and he yells and
screams’ (Freudenberger, 1974: 160).
Freudenberger (1974) said long workdays, pressure to perform the job, monotony of
the job, lack of organizational goals, and minimal social and organizational support can
cause burnout. Schaufeli and Enzmann (1998) described Freudenberger’s work as a
spark that ignited an interest in burnout research and launched its popularity.
Almost simultaneously to Freudenbergers studies, Maslach and Jackson (1981) con-
structed three aspects of the burnout syndrome: burnout is an increased feeling of emo-
tional exhaustion; it is the development of negative, cynical attitudes and feelings toward
one’s clients (depersonalization); and it is the tendency to negatively evaluate oneself
(personal accomplishment) workers are unhappy with themselves and dissatisfied
with their job accomplishments. Maslach and Jackson described burnout as a ‘syndrome
of emotional exhaustion and cynicism that occurs frequently among individuals who do
“people-work” of some kind’ (1981: 99). Using the Maslach Burnout Inventory, higher
scores on emotional exhaustion and depersonalization coupled with lower scores on
personal accomplishment would indicate burnout (Maslach and Jackson, 1981).
Initially, burnout research was regarded as ‘pop psychology’ by some academics and
professionals, and ignored outright (Maslach and Jackson, 1984: 139). When Maslach
and Jackson attempted to publish their manuscript that outlined the MBI scales, they were
met with resistance. That has since changed. Between 1976 and 1996, 93 percent of 498
journal articles examining burnout referred to the MBI (Schaufeli and Enzmann, 1998).
In 1996, Maslach, Jackson and Leiter developed the MBI-General Survey to measure
burnout in other occupational groups not working in health care. ‘The MBI-GS defines
burnout as a crisis in one’s relationship with work, not necessarily as a crisis in one’s
relationships with people at work’ (Maslach et al., 1996: 20). Unlike the MBI, the
MBI-GS does not emphasize the relationships with clients but instead focuses on work
performance in general.
With the MBI-GS, exhaustion examines fatigue, cynicism examines ‘indifference or
a distant attitude toward work’, and professional efficacy measures expectations and
accomplishments (Maslach et al., 1996: 21). In their 2001 retrospective, Maslach,
Schaufeli and Leiter wrote that while exhaustion is reflective of the stress aspect of
burnout it does not examine the relationship workers have with their work. The authors
contend that people experiencing exhaustion create distance by becoming indifferent or
at University of Kansas Libraries on March 10, 2014jou.sagepub.comDownloaded from
Reinardy 37
cynical. The link to efficacy isn’t as clear. Byrne (1994) and Lee and Ashforth (1996)
determined that inefficacy was a product of either exhaustion or cynicism or a combina-
tion of the two elements. Maslach et al. (2001) argue that a lack of efficacy develops in
correlation with exhaustion and cynicism.
However, burnout does not occur without warning. An increase in stressors creates
stress, and stress paves the path to burnout. In citing data reported in three studies, the
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) wrote that 40 percent of
workers reported that their jobs are ‘very or extremely stressful’, 26 percent of workers
are ‘often or very often burned out or stressed by their work’, and 29 percent felt ‘quite
a bit or extremely stressed at work’ (1999: 4). NIOSH defined job stress as ‘the harmful
physical and emotional responses that occur when the requirements of the job do not
match the capabilities, resources, or needs of the worker (1999: 6).
Emotional and mental stressors are not only associated with unpleasant experiences.
Accepting a new job or promotion can be just as stressful as being laid off. Emotional and
mental stressors in the workplace include fear (of sanctions), joy (of promotion), anger
(over injustice), challenge (of a new position), shock (after sexual harassment or racial
taunt), competition (with colleagues), conflicts (with subordinates or managers), contra-
dictory instructions, negative thoughts, time pressure, structural changes, monotonous
tasks, night shifts and overtime (Von Onciul, 1996).
Experiences, values, and adaptability largely determine how an individual reacts as
stressors accumulate. If a familiar support system falters, a solitary stressor can become
exacerbated – for instance, a person rushing to a meeting gets stuck in traffic because of
an accident (Von Onciul, 1996). Similarly, a reporters stress is compounded when he or
she is hurrying to post a story on the web and the computer crashes.
Stressors create stress but defining stress has been a challenge. In his book, The Stress
of Life, Hans Selye (1956), considered by many to be the father of modern stress research,
defined stress as:
the rate of wear and tear on the body. Anyone who feels that whatever he is doing or
whatever is being done to him is strenuous and wearing, knows vaguely what we mean by
stress. The feelings of just being tired, jittery, or ill are subjective sensations of stress. But
stress does not necessarily imply a morbid change: normal life also causes some wear and tear
in the machinery of the body. Indeed, stress can even have curative value, as in shock therapy,
bloodletting, and sports. (Selye, 1956: 3)
Selye said stress is a necessary part of our lives, and not all stress is bad. He writes: ‘…
it is the spice of life, for any emotion, any activity causes stress. But, of course, your
system must be prepared to take it. The same stress which makes one person sick can be
an invigorating experience for another (1956: vii).
Others contend that stress increases when job responsibilities exceed a person’s
ability to adapt (Lazarus and Launier, 1978), which results in unhappiness, decreased
performance and physical ailments (Brill, 1984). While a person suffering high degrees
of stress might stabilize and actually improve (Brill, 1984), burnout victims generally
cannot (Maslach et al., 2001). Stress-related illnesses take their toll on individuals and
organizations. Webster and Bergman (1999) reported that occupational stress sufferers
at University of Kansas Libraries on March 10, 2014jou.sagepub.comDownloaded from
38 Journalism 12(1)
miss on average 23 workdays a year. Additionally, accidents, absenteeism, turnover,
reduced productivity, medical and insurance costs, and workers’ compensation caused
by job stress cost US businesses between $200 and $300 billion each year (American
Institute of Stress, 2006).
In two separate Associated Press Managing Editor surveys, 39 percent of editors said
they suffer from stress-related health problems (Gloede, 1983) and 47 percent described
their jobs as ‘highly stressful’ (Fitzgerald, 1995: 11). In the 1995 study, nearly 67 percent
said their stress levels increased with the implementation of a new pagination system.
Although Maslach and Jackson take minimal steps in defining stress, they recognized
its impact on burnout, writing, ‘chronic stress can be emotionally draining and poses a risk
of “burnout”’ (1981: 99). Two stress-related theories emerged in the early years of MBI
development (Maslach et al., 2001): one, people who are incredibly dedicated to their work
exceed their limit when pursuing their ideals; and two, burnout occurs during extended
exposure to job stressors, which would result in burnout occurring later in people’s careers.
More than 25 years of burnout research has established a direct link from exhaustion
to cynicism. ‘Burnout scores are fairly stable over time, which supports the notion that
burnout is a prolonged response to chronic job stressors’ (Maslach et al., 2001: 405).
In newspaper journalism, stress is an acceptable by-product when pursuing deadlines,
scoops, and the demands of editors and readers. Stressors are compounded when working
long hours, when the job conflicts with family and with the increased pressure to produce
not only on a daily basis but perhaps on an hourly basis. Reinardy writes: ‘The emotional
stressors provide an additional element of fear (of getting scooped), joy (of getting the
scoop), anger (of being ignored by sources), competition (with other reporters and other
media) and conflicts (when chasing a controversial story)’ (2006: 400).
The MBI-GS has been utilized in a multitude of studies, including the examination
of managers, clerks, foremen, technicians and blue-collar workers in multinational
companies (Schutte et al., 2000); police officers, air traffic controllers, construction
managers and journalists (Richardsen and Martinussen, 2005); industrial white-collar
and blue-collar employees (Toppinen-Tanner et al., 2002); workers who use technology
in their jobs (Salanova et al., 2002); information and communication technology pro-
fessionals (Kouvonen, 2005); a general population of Finnish employees (Ahola et al.,
2006); and a general population of Swedish workers (Lindblom et al., 2006).
Only a few studies have utilized the MBI or MBI-GS to examine burnout among
journalists. Cook and Banks (1993) used the MBI to determine burnout among 117 full-
time reporters and 43 copy editors from five different daily newspapers with circula-
tions ranging from about 23,000 to about 250,000. Cook and Banks determined that the
journalist most ‘at-risk’ for burnout is a young, entry-level copy editor working at a
small newspaper. He or she makes less than the average salary, ‘expresses intentions to
leave the field, has found journalism to be much different from what was expected and
demonstrates a low overall level of job satisfaction’ (1993: 116).
Among 120 reporters and copy editors, Cook et al. (1993) also reported that young
copy editors demonstrated higher rates of burnout compared to older journalists and
reporters. However, journalists at larger newspapers reported lower levels of personal
accomplishment than those at smaller papers. Additionally, reporters were more satisfied
in their jobs than copy editors. Craig (1999) also found high levels of emotional exhaustion
and depersonalization among copy editors at the Daily Oklahoman.
at University of Kansas Libraries on March 10, 2014jou.sagepub.comDownloaded from
Reinardy 39
In comparing human service workers, social work administrators and journalists,
Peckham (1983) reported that journalists were less burned out than the service workers
and ‘slightly more’ than the social work administrators.
Reinardy (2006) examined the rate of burnout among sports writers, sports desk
personnel (copy editors/page designers) and sports editors. He reported that while all
sports journalists score high in personal accomplishment, they rate in the moderate
range of emotional exhaustion and depersonalization on the MBI. Desk personnel had
a lower level of emotional exhaustion than either sports writers or editors but sports
writers had the lowest level of depersonalization among the groups. Sports editors
clearly suffered from a higher rate of emotional exhaustion and depersonalization and a
lower rate of personal accomplishment than the other groups. Also, similar to previous
work, younger sports journalists suffered a higher rate of emotional exhaustion than
their older colleagues.
In a follow-up study using the MBI-GS, Reinardy (2008) reported that sports editors
(n = 184) demonstrated a moderate rate of emotional exhaustion and cynicism, but have
a high level of professional efficacy. Richardsen and Martinussen (2005) reported similar
results among 93 journalists.
Previous studies have demonstrated that young journalists appear to be more sus-
ceptible to burnout than their older counterparts. Because there is no cure for burnout
(Maslach et al., 2001), the only option for those experiencing high levels of exhaus-
tion and cynicism, coupled with low professional efficacy, is to leave the job. Although
this study does not specifically examine job satisfaction, it certainly is a tangential
issue, particularly among young journalists who may be working their first full-time
newspaper job. Johnstone et al. (1976) reported that young journalists are not very
satisfied in their professions but the level of satisfaction increases as the journalists
become established. In the Johnstone et al. study, 48.5 percent of journalists said they
were very satisfied’ with their jobs, but of those 25 and younger, only about 35 percent
said they were ‘very satisfied’. The study also reported that while 14.8 percent of
journalists either intended to be out of news media work within five years or were
undecided, 15.7 percent of those 25 and younger expected to leave the industry
or were undecided. For those aged 25–29, 23.9 percent said they intended to leave or
were undecided, and in the 30–34 category, 21.2 percent said they intended to leave
or were undecided (Johnstone et al., 1976). Johnstone et al. concluded that between
20 and 25 percent of young journalists question their professional commitment. They
wrote: Moreover, dissatisfaction within this group does not seem to stem from eco-
nomic opportunities, but job dissatisfaction for many young newsmen has to do more
with professional considerations – discrepancies between journalistic ideals and day-
to-day practices’ (1976: 154).
During the past three decades, the Weaver and Wilhoit studies have examined job
satisfaction and intentions to leave journalism. For job satisfaction, those who answered
‘very satisfied’ continued to drop from 40 percent in 1982–3 to 27 percent in 1992, but
increased to 33.3 percent in 2002 (Weaver et al., 2007). Only about 25 percent of those
34 and younger said they were ‘very satisfied’ with their jobs.
By 1992, there was a dramatic shift in attitudes. The number of journalists with
intentions to leave the industry within five years increased to 21 percent overall double
the 1982–3 study (Weaver and Wilhoit, 1996). Weaver and Wilhoit wrote:
at University of Kansas Libraries on March 10, 2014jou.sagepub.comDownloaded from
40 Journalism 12(1)
They were less willing to suffer the dislocation and unpredictable schedules that were accepted
by an earlier generation, especially in a competitive environment in which newsrooms were
expected to do much more with fewer resources, and where there was little hope of professional
advancement in an era of stalled growth. (1996: 118–19).
By 2002 the outlook improved slightly as Weaver et al. reported that 19 percent of
daily newspaper journalists intended to be working outside of media within five
years. Additionally, 24 percent of journalists with four years or fewer of journalism
intended to be working outside of media within five years. For those dissatisfied with
their jobs, 59 percent expected to be working outside of media within five years
(Weaver et al., 2007).
During this transitional time in media, this study examines burnout among journalists,
and their intentions to leave the profession. The dynamics of journalism are changing
with the demands of a 24/7 news cycle and perhaps creating a more stressful environ-
ment for the news worker. That stress could be leading to burnout and creating the inten-
tion to leave journalism, particularly among those new to the profession. This study is an
attempt to provide more context to the work of Johnstone et al. and Weaver et al. While
the previous work has established patterns to job satisfaction and intention to leave
issues, this study reaches deeper into the causes that may be creating job dissatisfaction
and exodus.
Research questions/hypotheses
This study builds on previous research involving journalism burnout and examines the
following research questions and hypotheses:
RQ1: Overall, how do daily newspaper journalists rate on the three-subscales of the
MBI-GS (exhaustion, cynicism and professional efficacy)?
RQ2: Does job title (reporter, copy editor/page designer, news editor, executive/
managing editor or photographer) affect burnout among journalists?
H1: Journalists at smaller circulation newspapers will report significantly higher rates
of exhaustion and cynicism than journalists at larger circulation newspapers.
H2: Younger journalists will report significantly higher rates of burnout than older
H3: Journalists who express intentions to leave newspaper journalism will report
significantly higher rates of burnout than those who are not intending to leave.
The Editor and Publisher International Yearbook (2006) was used to extract email
contacts at 1,452 US daily newspapers. Most of the contacts were managing editors.
An email was then sent to the managing editors in January 2007, explaining the study
and requesting the staff email lists of their full-time newspaper employees. If email
addresses of managing editors were not available, the recruitment email was sent to a
general news mailbox.
at University of Kansas Libraries on March 10, 2014jou.sagepub.comDownloaded from
Reinardy 41
Of the 1,452 emails, 338 were dead accounts. Of the remaining 1,114, 74 newspaper
representatives responded and provided access to their staffs’ email lists. From that list, a
database of 2791 journalists was established, which included newspapers from 28 different
states, 44 different ownership groups and circulation ranging from 1,000 daily to 2 million.
The 34-question survey consisted of two sections, including job relationship and
background. The ‘job relationship’ section included the 16-question MBI-GS, which
uses a Likert-type scale (0 = never to 6 = every day). In the ‘background’ section, demo-
graphic questions such as experience, age, gender, race, job title, newspaper circulation
size, salary, marital status, parental responsibilities, intention to leave journalism and
work hours per week were included. The section also included questions regarding news-
room staff reductions, online responsibilities and intentions to leave journalism.
An explanatory email was sent to 2,791 full-time newsroom staffers in February
2007. The email included a web link to a survey. The survey was
voluntary and anonymous. Of the 2,791 staffers, 120 were dead accounts, leaving 2,671.
A reminder email was sent in March 2007.
Of the 2,671, 770 respondents completed the survey, providing a response rate of 29
percent, which is similar to web survey response rates in other studies (Asch, as cited in
Schonlau et al., 2002; Everingham, as cited in Schonlau, et al., 2002; Jones and Pitt,
1999; Reinardy, 2006).
To replace missing values in the data set of 770 respondents, mean substitution was
implemented but no more than 1 percent of any variable was replaced during this process.
Descriptive statistics determined that the average age of the 770 respondents was 41.6
years with an average of 17.8 years of journalism experience. The average salary was
$48,493 and the average circulation size of their newspapers was 183,500. A large major-
ity of the respondents were Caucasian (90.9%), 57.6 percent were male, 59 percent were
married, 49.7 percent had children and on average they worked 45.7 hours per week.
While some demographics were consistent with previous studies (age, race, years of
journalism experience), others were not. In the Weaver et al. (2007) study, 33 percent of
the participants were women, and the average salary was about $43,500.
Of the respondents in this study, 648 provided their job title. To better establish overall
trends, job titles were collapsed into larger categories. For instance, a business reporter
was not distinguished from a general assignment reporter. Reporters (44.8%) made up a
majority of the respondents, followed by news editors (23.5%), copy editors/page design-
ers (13.6%), executive/managing editors (9%) and photographers (6.6%).
To answer RQ1 (see Table 1), descriptive statistics were used to analyze the MBI-GS
data to determine the rate of burnout among journalists. According to the MBI-GS, a mean
score greater than 3.2 indicates high levels of exhaustion, a mean score greater than 2.2
indicates high levels of cynicism, and a mean score less than 4 indicates low levels of
professional efficacy (Maslach et al., 1996). Journalists in this study indicate moderate
rates of exhaustion (2.92) and professional efficacy (4.90), but high rates of cynicism
(2.63). To summarize, journalists are suffering from moderate rates of exhaustion but high
rates of cynicism. Efficacy, which is linked to job satisfaction, is also at a moderate rate.
at University of Kansas Libraries on March 10, 2014jou.sagepub.comDownloaded from
42 Journalism 12(1)
To examine RQ2 (see Table 2), which inquires about differences in job title and
burnout, an analysis of variance (ANOVA) was used. Journalists were divided into five
groups reporters (290), news editors (152), executive/managing editors (58), copy
editors/designers (88) and photographers (43). Because of the homogeneity of variance
assumption violation (i.e. unequal group sizes), comparison of means was performed
using the Games-Howell approach, which is a liberal post hoc test that allows for differ-
ences between groups to be significant more easily than other post hoc tests. The results
indicate significance between the groups on two of the three MBI-GS subscales
cynicism and professional efficacy. For cynicism, there were significant differences
between copy editors/page designers and executive/managing editors, F (4, 643) = 3.26,
p <0.05. The results indicate that copy editors/page designers report higher rates of
cynicism than executive/managing editors. As for professional efficacy, there were sig-
nificant differences between reporters and news editors, F (4, 643) = 4.29, p <0.05, and
reporters and executive/managing editors, F (4, 643) = 4.29, p <0.01. Results indicate
that news editors and executive/managing editors report higher levels of efficacy than
reporters. Using a t-test to examine manager (news editors/managing editors/executive
editors) versus non-manager burnout, the results indicate that non-managers report sig-
nificantly higher levels of cynicism (2.73 vs. 2.34) and lower levels of efficacy (4.81 vs.
5.06). There were no differences in exhaustion. To summarize, journalists in non-man-
agement positions are experiencing significantly higher levels of cynicism and lower
levels of professional efficacy than managers, but the real differences lies in efficacy.
While both groups are experiencing high levels of cynicism, non-managers report only
moderate rates of efficacy compared to managers’ high rates of efficacy.
In determining if journalists at lower circulation newspapers reported higher rates of
burnout than those at larger circulation newspapers, an ANOVA was used to examine H1.
The newspapers were divided by circulation into three relatively equal groups: small
(38,000 and below), medium (38,001–190,000), and large (190,001 and above). Results
indicate that there are significant differences on the exhaustion subscale among the three
groups, F (2, 612) = 4.79, p <0.01. Journalists in the small circulation group reported
higher levels of exhaustion than those in the largest group. However, there were no sig-
nificant differences between the groups and the subscales cynicism and professional
efficacy. Therefore, H1 was partially supported.
In examining H2 (see Table 3), which states that younger journalists will report higher
levels of burnout than older journalists, an ANOVA was implemented. The journalists
were divided into three relatively equal groups: 34 and younger, 35–48, and 49 and older.
Results indicate that there were significant differences between the groups on the
Table 1. Classification of MBI-GS scores among journalists (N = 770)
Exhaustion Cynicism Professional efficacy
Mean 2.93 2.63 4.90
SD 1.47 1.63 0.84
Notes: Exhaustion: 3.2 and above = high; 2.01-3.19= average; 2.00 and less = low.
Cynicism: 2.20 and above = high; 1.01-2.19 = average; 1 and less = low.
Professional efficacy: 5 and above = low; 4.01-4.99 = average; 4 and less = high burnout levels.
at University of Kansas Libraries on March 10, 2014jou.sagepub.comDownloaded from
Reinardy 43
subscale exhaustion, F (2, 676) = 9.80, p <.001. The journalists in the 34 and younger,
and 35–49 age groups rate significantly higher on exhaustion than those in the 49 and
older group. There were no differences between the groups in the other areas, thus H2
was partially supported.
A post hoc analysis indicates that more older journalists in this study are in man-
agement positions (news editor/ managing editors/ executive editors) than younger
journalists, which may influence the level of burnout. When examining managers vs.
non-managers and age, young managers (34 and younger) were experiencing signifi-
cantly more exhaustion (3.59, high) than young non-managers (3.06, moderate), and
older non-managers (49 and older) reported significantly more cynicism (2.72, high
vs. 1.96, moderate) and less efficacy (4.81, moderate vs. 5.18, high) than older man-
agers. Additionally, within the groups of manager and non-manager, there were sig-
nificant differences between ages. Further analysis indicates that younger managers
(34 and younger; 35 to 48; n = 118) reported significantly higher rates of exhaustion
Table 2. Mean MBI-GS scores comparing job titles of journalists
Exhaustion Cynicism Professional
Reporters (n = 290) Mean 2.98 2.74 4.75
SD 1.45 1.59 0.85
News editors (n = 152) Mean 2.90 2.42 5.01
SD 1.40 1.60 0.80
Executive and managing editors (n = 58) Mean
Copy editors and page designers (n = 88) Mean
Photographers (n = 43) Mean 2.70 2.52 4.96
SD 1.25 1.53 0.70
Notes: Exhaustion: 3.2 and above = high; 2.01–3.19= average; 2.00 and less = low.
Cynicism: 2.20 and above = high; 1.01–2.19 = average; 1 and less = low.
Professional efficacy: 5 and above = low; 4.01–4.99 = average; 4 and less = high burnout levels.
Table 3. Mean MBI-GS scores comparing ages of journalists
Exhaustion Cynicism Professional
34 years old and younger (n = 228)) Mean
35 to 48 years old (n = 215) Mean
49 years old and older (n = 236) Mean
Notes: Exhaustion: 3.2 and above = high; 2.01–3.19= average; 2.00 and less = low.
Cynicism: 2.20 and above = high; 1.01–2.19 = average; 1 and less = low.
Professional efficacy: 5 and above = low; 4.01–4.99 = average; 4 and less = high burnout levels.
at University of Kansas Libraries on March 10, 2014jou.sagepub.comDownloaded from
44 Journalism 12(1)
and cynicism than older managers (49 and older; n = 92). In fact, the level of exhaustion
(3.25) and cynicism (2.63) for the younger managers was in the high range but for the
older managers exhaustion (2.43) and cynicism (1.96) were only moderate. But among
non-managers there were no significant differences between the younger and older jour-
nalists on any of the MBI-GS subscales. To summarize, younger managers appear to
experience higher levels of burnout than other journalists, but older managers report less
burnout than all other journalists.
An ANOVA was used to examine H3, which states that journalists who express
intentions to leave newspaper journalism will have higher rates of burnout than those
who are not intending to leave. When the journalists were asked if they had intentions
to leave newspaper journalism, 25.7 percent answered ‘yes’ and 36.2 percent answered
‘don’t know’. Journalists who expressed intentions to leave the profession had sig-
nificantly higher rates of exhaustion than those who did not intend to leave, F (2, 671) =
67.81, p <0.001. Those intending to leave also had significantly higher rates of cynicism,
F (2, 671) = 66.35, p <0.001, and lower rates of professional efficacy, F (2, 671) =
19.28, p <0.001. Therefore, H3 was supported.
Further examination reveals that 31 percent of young journalists (34 and younger)
expressed intentions to leave the profession, and 43.5 percent answered ‘don’t know’.
Additionally, 25.9 percent of those between 35 and 48 years old said they intend to leave
journalism and 42.9 percent answered ‘don’t know’.
For those who expressed interest in leaving newspaper journalism, a follow-up question
asked: ‘If you are intending to leave newspaper journalism, what would be the reason(s)
for leaving?’ Of the 223 journalists 34 and younger who said they intended to leave or
answered ‘don’t know’, 36 percent said money or salary was the reason, 27 percent said
hours or schedule and 19 percent said stress or burnout. Also, a reference to family life was
mentioned in 13 percent of the responses.
Many of the responses listed several reasons for possibly leaving the profession. A
30-year-old man said, ‘To find a better paying job or a less stressful job that allows
more time for my personal life, even if it pays less money.’ A 26-year-old woman said,
‘It’s too stressful, doesn’t pay enough and isn’t satisfying.’ Another 26-year-old woman
said, ‘The loooow pay, late hours and lack of perks, few awards, no cash bonuses, work
through blizzards when any other city worker stay home really gets to you after awhile.’
And a 25-year-old man said, ‘Tired of the hours, lack of pay, work overload.’
Some journalists said there were several stresses contributing to their displeasure with
the profession. A 26-year-old woman wrote, ‘I mostly have only a professional life, and
I work in a bureau with very few people. Plus, it’s incredibly stressful trying to write well
all the time.’ A 30-year-old man wrote, ‘Stress, not having adequate human and techno-
logical resources for work demanded of me, tired of being stuck indoors all day, tired of
deadlines, tired of tired news.’ A 27-year-old man said:
The majority of mainstream coverage is frivolous and mind-numbing. It seems we’re
intentionally trying to dumb down the public, rarely tackle real issues that make a difference or
expose deceits of authorities … I feel my soul being drained every day … And as soon as the
right opportunity presents itself, I’m outta here!
at University of Kansas Libraries on March 10, 2014jou.sagepub.comDownloaded from
Reinardy 45
A 27-year-old woman wrote, ‘It’s an environment where everyone is under constant
stress and I think it’s very unhealthy for me both mentally and physically.’ A 30-year-old
woman wrote, ‘If I were to leave, I think it would likely be due to continuing pressures
to produce more with less resources and less support.’ A 27-year man wrote, ‘My family
life has suffered tremendously. I have almost no free time outside work.’ A 33-year-old
man wrote:
Poor quality of assignments, lack of planning ahead on management decisions, poor hours, no
investment in technology, no recognition from upper management combined with no information
provided to employees, lack of job security … no vision on the future of newspapers.
And a 26-year-old female wrote:
Bad pay; bad hours; not enough co-workers on the copy desk, city desk or sports desks to help
read and design; favoritism; bad software; not enough reporters to cover events; no bonuses;
bad attitudes due to stress; people with less experience can be promoted; people who are strong
and outspoken are treated differently and badly; people who ‘kiss ass’ are treated with respect
and work is never distributed equally.
In previous burnout studies journalists have demonstrated moderate rates of exhaustion
and cynicism but high levels of professional efficacy (Reinardy, 2006, 2008; Richardsen
and Martinussen, 2005). It has been argued that efficacy in a job acts as a counterbalance
to exhaustion and cynicism. That does not seem to be the case in this study.
One of the most compelling aspects of this study is that it diverts from previous
results. While reporting moderate rates of exhaustion, the journalists in this study dem-
onstrated high levels of cynicism and moderate rates of efficacy. And although the
journalists reported ‘moderate’ rates of exhaustion, the rate in this study (2.93) was
higher than previous work conducted by Reinardy (2.45) (2008), and Richardsen and
Martinussen (2.62) (2005).
In essence, with high levels of cynicism and climbing rates of exhaustion, journalists
are moving closer to reaching burnout as defined by the MBI-GS. And the protective
buffer efficacy a feeling of accomplishment continues to dissipate. Maslach et al.
(2001) have theorized that burnout is sequential from exhaustion to cynicism, and inef-
ficacy develops in concert with the other two aspects of burnout. That does not appear to
be the case here where cynicism is developing first.
The most ‘at-risk’ to burn out appear to be young copy editors or page designers at
small newspapers, which replicates previous results (Cook and Banks, 1993; Cook et al.,
1993). Interestingly, younger journalists in this study not only reported higher rates of
burnout than their colleagues, but are most likely to express intentions to leave the
profession. Among journalists 34 and younger, 74.5 percent either answered ‘yes’ or
‘don’t know’ when asked about leaving newspaper journalism. For young journalists,
there clearly appears to be a distinct connection between burnout and career change. The
at University of Kansas Libraries on March 10, 2014jou.sagepub.comDownloaded from
46 Journalism 12(1)
open-ended responses indicate that dissatisfaction with pay, job demands and high levels
of stress are whittling away at the commitment of young journalists. And because there
is no clear resolution in reversing burnout (Maslach et al., 2001), leaving journalism
might be the only alternative.
What Johnstone et al. (1976) identified in their seminal study, and what Weaver and
colleagues (1986, 1996, 2007) have continued to track for nearly three decades appears to
hold true here. Younger journalists are more dissatisfied than older journalists, and indi-
cate intentions to leave. What is startling about this study’s results is the high percentage
of those intending to leave. During nearly three decades, the previous results have gener-
ally shown a steady increase in those intending to leave the profession. In 2007 Weaver
et al. reported that 17.2 percent intended to quit. This study shows a dramatically different
result with 25.7 percent saying they had intentions to leave journalism within five years.
An additional 36.2 answered ‘don’t know’ when asked if they intended to leave.
The statistics for younger journalists were even more startling. While previous work
has reported lower satisfaction among young journalists, and a higher intention to leave
than their older colleagues (Johnstone et al., 1976; Weaver et al., 2007), the results in this
study are far more dramatic. In 2007, Weaver et al. reported that 24 percent of journalists
with four or fewer years of experience expect to be working outside of media within five
years, which was up from 19 percent in 1992. In this study, 31 percent of those 34 and
younger said they expected to work outside of media within five years.
The comments lend some insight into the reasons journalists expect to leave the
profession. There appears to be a pessimism about the future of journalism, which some-
what replicates the findings of The State of the News Media (2009). It reported that 54
percent of journalists and senior executives think journalism is headed in the wrong
direction (Edmonds, 2009). In a profession that is viewed by many as a vocation and not
just a job, compromising the quality of journalism can be devastating. In previous studies
(Johnstone et al., 1971; Weaver and Wilhoit, 1986), 61 percent of people said ‘helping
people’ was ‘very important’ in terms of job satisfaction. By 2002, Weaver et al. (2007)
reported an increase in job satisfaction, with autonomy to select story assignments and
choose what to emphasize in those stories closely associated with job satisfaction.
Perhaps with the additional responsibilities and reduced staff size for those in this study,
autonomy is being sacrificed, causing a decline in satisfaction.
This study has several limitations, including the sample. Because managing editors
were asked to provide staff email lists, the sample was by no means random. Also, only 5
percent of US daily newspapers were represented, but that included 74 newspapers
from 28 different states. Although it was not a random sample, the 770 respondents rep-
resented a cross-section of ages, job titles, gender, and size of newspapers. It certainly can
be argued that only disgruntled employees would complete a survey emphasizing burn-
out, but the number of respondents (770) indicates high interest and involvement among
all journalists. While it can also be argued that the results cannot be generalized to all
journalists, this study certainly raises some serious issues that require further research.
Practical implications
In this study, journalists reported high rates of cynicism but only moderate rates of
exhaustion. Cynicism ‘reflects indifference or a distant attitude towards work’ (Maslach
at University of Kansas Libraries on March 10, 2014jou.sagepub.comDownloaded from
Reinardy 47
et al., 1996: 21). So it does not appear that journalists are exhausted in doing their
jobs although they might be heading that way – but perhaps are exasperated with the
work. Meanwhile, accomplishment or efficacy continues to decline. Has the mounting
journalism crisis declining circulation and revenues, new technology, convergence,
conglomerate ownership, and layoffs diminished the commitment that has defined
previous generations of journalists? That certainly could be a topic of future research.
Journalists are a committed lot and expect the quality of their work to be appreciated.
Traditionally, journalism has been a ‘calling’ for those inclined to do newspaper work. In
their book, Good Work, Gardner et al. write, ‘In a field where good work is frequently
marginalized and trashy work is frequently rewarded, it is not easy to sustain a mission
that reflects the domain’s best traditions’ (2001: 170). Some participants in this study
who expressed intentions to leave journalism have identified the journalistic shortfalls of
their newspapers and are prepared to abandon the mission. Here, it’s difficult to speculate
as to the correlation between journalistic quality and burnout which comes first, the
burnout and then poor quality, or poor-quality and then burnout but it certainly could
be a topic of future research.
As newspapers attempt to raise revenues, maintain circulation and provide readers
with more information in more ways, another crisis might be upon us. Perhaps lost in this
evolutionary period of newspaper journalism is the news worker. When he or she is no
longer able, or no longer willing, to provide quality journalism, the journalism of crisis
won’t be found on Wall Street or in the circulation data. It’ll be found in the newsroom.
Ahola K, Honkonen T, Isometsa E et al. (2006) Burnout in the general population: Results from
the Finnish Health 2000 Study. Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology 41(1): 11–17.
Ahrens F (2006) Gannett to change its papers’ approach. Washington Post, 7 November, p. D1.
Alterman E (2006) The end of Times? The Nation, 13 November, p. 10.
American Institute of Stress (2006) Job Stress. Available at:
Baruch-Feldman C, Brondolo E, Ben-Dayan D and Schwartz J (2002) Sources of social support
and burnout, job satisfaction, and productivity. Journal of Occupational Health Psychology
7(1): 84–93.
Becker LB, Sobowale IA and Cobbey RE (1979) Reporters and their professional and organizational
commitment. Journalism Quarterly 56(4): 753–63, 770.
Becker LB, Vlad T, Tucker M and Pelton R (2006) 2005 Annual Survey of Journalism and Mass
Communication Graduates. Available at:
Brill PL (1984) The need for an operational definition of burnout. Family and Community Health
6(4): 12–24.
Byrne BM (1994) Burnout: Testing for the validity, replication, and invariance of causal structure
across elementary, intermediate, and secondary teachers. American Educational Research
Journal 31(3): 645–73.
Center for Disease Control (2006) Have a Stressful Job? You Must Have an Ulcer...Right? Avail-
able at:
Cook BB and Banks SR (1993) Predictors of job burnout in reporters and copy editors. Journalism
Quarterly 70(1): 108–17.
Cook BB, Banks SR and Turner RJ (1993) The effects of environment on burnout in the newsroom.
Newspaper Research Journal 14(3–4): 123–36.
at University of Kansas Libraries on March 10, 2014jou.sagepub.comDownloaded from
48 Journalism 12(1)
Craig DA (1999) Influences on editing quality at the Daily Oklahoman. Newspaper Research
Journal 20(3): 58.
Cropanzano R, Rupp DE and Byrne ZS (2003) The relationship of emotional exhaustion to work
attitudes, job performance, and organizational citizenship behaviors. Journal of Applied
Psychology 88(1): 160–9.
Eby LT, Casper WJ, Lockwood A, Bordeaux C and Brinley A (2005) Work and family research
in IO/OB: Content analysis and review of the literature (1980–2002). Journal of Vocational
Behavior 66: 124–97.
Editor and Publisher (2006) International Yearbook: An Encyclopedia of the Newspaper Industry,
86th edn, New York: Editor and Publisher.
Edmonds R (2009) The State of the News Media 2009: An Annual Report on American Journalism.
Pew Project for Excellence in Journalism. Available at: http://www.stateofthenewsmedia.
Fitzgerald M (1995) Editors under siege. Editor and Publisher 128(48): 11.
Freudenberger HJ (1974) Staff burn-out. Journal of Social Issues 30(1): 159–65.
Gardner H, Csikszentmihalyi M and Damon W (2001) Good Work: When Excellence and Ethics
Meet. New York: Basic Books.
Gloede B (1983) Stress has a significant presence in newsrooms. Editor and Publisher 116(46):
Greene G (1961) A Burnt-out Case. New York: Viking Press.
Huang YH, Hammer LB and Perrin NA (2004) The relationship between work-to-family conflict
and family-to-work conflict: A longitudinal study. Journal of Family and Economic Issues
25(1): 79–100.
Johnstone JWC, Slawski EJ and Bowman WW (1976) The News People: A Sociological Portrait
of American Journalists and their Work. Chicago: University of Illinois Press.
Jones R and Pitt N (1999) Health surveys in the workplace: Comparison of postal, email and World
Wide Web methods. Occupational Medicine 49(8): 556–8.
Kalter J (1999) Burnout. Columbia Journalism Review 38(2): 30.
Keijsers GJ, Schaufeli WB, Le Blanc PM, Zwerts C and Miranda DR (1995) Performance and
burnout in intensive care units. Work and Stress 9: 513–27.
Kossek EE and Ozeki C (1998) Work-family conflict, policies, and the job-life satisfaction rela-
tionship: A review and directions for organizational behavior-human resources research.
Journal of Applied Psychology 83(2): 139–49.
Kouvonen A (2005) Job characteristics and burnout among aging professionals in information and
communications technology. Psychological Reports 97: 505–14.
Lazarus RS and Launier R (1978) Stress-related transactions between person and environment.
In: Pervis A and Lewis M (eds) Perspectives in Interactional Psychology. New York: Plenum
Press, 287–323.
Lee RT and Ashforth BE (1996) A meta-analytic examination of the correlates of the three dimen-
sions of job burnout. Journal of Applied Psychology 81: 123–33.
Lindblom KM, Linton SJ, Fedeli C and Bryngelsson IL (2006) Burnout in the working population:
Relations to psychosocial work factors. International Journal of Behavioral Medicine 13(1):
Maslach C and Jackson SE (1981) The measurement of experienced burnout. Journal of Occupa-
tional Behaviour 2(99): 99–113.
at University of Kansas Libraries on March 10, 2014jou.sagepub.comDownloaded from
Reinardy 49
Maslach C and Jackson SE (1984) Burnout in organizational settings. In: Oskamp S (ed.) Applied
Social Psychology Annual, vol. 5. Beverly Hills, CA: SAGE, 133–53.
Maslach C, Jackson SE and Leiter MP (1996) Maslach Burnout Inventory Manual, 3rd edn,
Mountain View, CA: CPP.
Maslach C, Schaufeli WB and Leiter MP (2001) Job burnout. Annual Review of Psychology
52: 397–422.
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (2007) Stress … at Work. Center for Disease
Control. Available at:
Netemeyer RG, Boles JS and McMurrian R (1996) Development and validation of work-family
conflict and family-work conflict scales. Journal of Applied Psychology 81(4): 400–10.
Netemeyer RG, Brashear-Alejandro T and Boles JS (2004) A cross-national model of job-related
outcomes of work roles and family role variables: A retail sales context. Academy of Marketing
Science 32(1): 49–60.
Parker PA and Kulik JA (1995) Burnout, self- and supervisor-rater job performance and absenteeism
among nurses. Journal of Behavioral Medicine 18(6): 581–99.
Partridge E (1950) A Dictionary of Slang and Unconventional English, 3rd edn. New York: Macmillan.
Peckham D (1983) Burnout in newspeople. Unpublished thesis, University of Missouri, Columbia.
Pew Research Center for the People and the Press (1999) Striking the Balance: Audience Inter-
ests, Business Pressures and the Press. Available at:
Picard RG (2006) Capital crisis in the profitable newspaper industry. Nieman Reports 60(4): 10–12.
Reinardy S (2006) It’s gametime: The Maslach Burnout Inventory measures burnout of sports
journalists. Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly 83(2): 397–412.
Reinardy S (2008) Survey measures burnout in newspaper sports editors. Newspaper Research
Journal 29(2): 40–54.
Richardsen AM and Martinussen M (2005) Factorial validity and consistency of the MBI-GS
across occupational groups in Norway. International Journal of Stress Management 12(3):
Salanova M, Peiro JM and Schaufeli WB (2002) Self-efficacy specificity and burnout among
information technology workers: An extension of the job demand-control model. European
Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology 11(1): 1–25.
Schaufeli W and Enzmann D (1998) The Burnout Companion to Study and Practice: A Critical
Analysis. London: Taylor and Francis.
Schonlau M, Fricker RD Jr and Elliott MN (2002) Conducting Research Survey Via E-mail and the
Web. Santa Monica, CA: Rand.
Schutte N, Toppinen S, Kalimo R and Schaufeli WB (2000) The factorial validity of the Maslach
Burnout Inventory-General Survey (MBI-GS) across occupational groups and nations. Journal
of Occupational and Organizational Psychology 73(1): 53–66.
Selye H (1956) The Stress of Life. New York: McGraw-Hill.
Simon M, Kummerling A and Hasselhorn HM (2004) Work-home conflict in the European
nursing profession. International Journal of Occupational and Environmental Health
10(4): 384–91.
Toppinen-Tanner S, Kalimo R and Mutanen P (2002) The process of burnout in white-collar and
blue-collar jobs: Eight-year prospective study of exhaustion. Journal of Organizational Behavior
23: 555–70.
at University of Kansas Libraries on March 10, 2014jou.sagepub.comDownloaded from
50 Journalism 12(1)
Von Onciul J (1996) ABC of work related disorders: Stress at work. BMJ 313: 745–8.
Weaver DH and Wilhoit GC (1986) The American Journalist: A Portrait of U.S. News People and
their Work. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.
Weaver DH and Wilhoit GC (1996) The American Journalist in the 1990s: U.S. News People at the
End of an Era. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.
Weaver D, Beam R, Brownless B, Voakes P and Wilhoit GC (2007) The American Journalists in
the 21st century: U.S. News People at the Dawn of a New Millennium. Knight Foundation.
Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.
Webster T and Bergman B (1999) Occupational stress: Counts and rates. Compensation and Working
Conditions Fall: 38–41.
Wright TA and Bonett DG (1997) The contribution of burnout to work performance. Journal of
Organizational Behavior 18: 491–9.
Wright TA and Cropanzano R (1998) Emotional exhaustion as a predictor of job performance and
voluntary turnover. Journal of Applied Psychology 83(3): 486–93.
Biographical notes
Scott Reinardy PhD is an assistant professor in the William Allen White School of Journalism and
Mass Communications at the University of Kansas. He was a reporter and editor for 18 years at
five different daily newspapers. Reinardy has published widely on stress and burnout of newspaper
newsroom journalists, and organizational change in newspaper newsrooms. He has also conducted
research on newsroom layoff survivors, ethical development of journalists, and experiential education
of young journalists.
at University of Kansas Libraries on March 10, 2014jou.sagepub.comDownloaded from
... A essa desigualdade junta-se, também, a perda de autonomia dos profissionais no quadro das instituições jornalísticas. Tal decorre de alterações no quadro económico e laboral, tanto específico do setor massmediático como das relações laborais em geral (Oliveira, 2017;Deuze e Witschge, 2018;Hartmann, 2009;Cohen, 2015;Compton e Benedetti, 2010;Fast et al., 2016;Von Rimscha, 2015;Reinardy, 2011). ...
Full-text available
Este é um livro dedicado à interpretação e descodificação do que é a comunicação da comunicação. De como a nossa forma de comunicar está a moldar as nossas instituições, como a mediação moldou a nossa comunicação e a rede transformou a comunicação de massas numa comunicação em rede e a cultura de massas numa cultura mediatizada. Criando, nesse processo, um novo sistema dos media e um novo paradigma comunicacional. Este é um livro sobre a necessidade de uma sociologia da mediação algorítmica que explique porque é que numa cultura mediatizada, gerada por uma comunicação em rede, as pessoas são a mensagem e porque o seu traço mais distintivo reside na comunicação da comunicação.
... Or, à partir des années 2010 et plus particulièrement des années 2020, au concept de précarité s'est ajouté celui de santé mentale. Des psychologues, peu cités auparavant, étaient alors mobilisés pour expliquer comment le déclin des ressources médiatiques avait fragilisé la santé psychologique des journalistes, notamment en créant un décalage entre le grand effort au travail (longues heures, accumulation des contrats, heures supplémentaires, connexion permanente) et le salaire de plus en plus dérisoire (Charon et Pigéolat, 2021 ;Brédart, 2017 ;Reinardy, 2011). Certains rapports de recherche importants, dont The Looking Glass (2020) en Angleterre, ou encore Prenez soin de vous (2022) au Canada, mirent le doigt sur cette réalité qui poussaient de plus en plus de journalistes vers une sortie précoce du métier, et particulièrement les jeunes femmes ou encore les minorités ethnoculturelles qui étaient plus susceptibles de vivre des périodes d'isolement ou de harcèlement. ...
Full-text available
Cet article propose une analyse comparative de la souffrance au travail se produisant chez deux des plus grandes institutions médiatiques du Canada : le service public Radio-Canada et le conglomérat médiatique privé Québecor. Chez Radio-Canada, la souffrance au travail est étroitement associée à la montée de la gestion néolibérale, cette dernière accentuant le fossé entre le travail prescrit et le travail réel. Chez Québecor, la souffrance au travail est plutôt associée à la division extrême du travail mise en scène par le processus de convergence. Dans les deux cas, le collectif de travail est fragmenté en une lutte individuelle des journalistes entre eux, ce qui provoque une diminution du pouvoir d'agir. Abstract This article offers a comparative analysis of workplace suffering occurring in two of Canada's largest media institutions: the public service Radio-Canada (CBC) and the private media conglo-merate Québecor. At Radio-Canada, work suffering is closely associated with the rise of neoli-beral management, the latter accentuating the gap between prescribed work and real work. At Québecor, work suffering is rather associated with the extreme division of labor brought about by the convergence process. In both cases, the work collective is fragmented into an individual struggle between journalists, which causes a reduction of the empowerment.
... Journalists in normal reporting conditions find the expectations for emotional and mental labor difficult to manage. Nick Matthews and his team argue that "the lack of institutional support on work-life balance and mental health paired with the institutional demands to be 'all in' and always on, and the consequential lack of professional-personal life balance, led journalists to have a sense of disconnection from both their personal and professional lives" (Mathews, Bélair-Gagnon, & Carlson, 2021, p. 12; see also Bossio and Holton, 2019;Reinardy, 2011). How much more so is the expectation that on top of the digital labor of journalism to enter into hostile work situations and bear the brunt of harassment? ...
Digital Journalism and the Facilitation of Hate explores the process by which digital journalists manage the coverage of hate speech and "hate groups," and considers how digital journalists can best avoid having their work used to lend legitimacy to hate. Leaning on more than 200 interviews with digital journalists over the past three years, this book first lays the foundation by discussing the essential values held by digital journalists, including how they define journalism; what values they consider essential to the field; and how they practice their trade. Perreault considers the problem of defining "hate" and "hate groups" by the media, acknowledging journalism’s role in perpetuating hate through its continued ideological coverage of marginalized groups. Case studies, including the January 6 U.S. Capitol siege, the GamerGate controversy, and the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, help to elaborate on this problem and illustrate potential solutions. Digital Journalism and the Facilitation of Hate draws attention to the tactics of white nationalists in leveraging digital journalism and suggests ways in which digital journalists can more effectively manage their reporting on hate. Offering a valuable, empirical insight into the relationship between digital journalism and hate, this book will be of interest to students, scholars, and professionals of social and digital media, sociology, and journalism.
... Journalists in normal reporting conditions find the expectations for emotional and mental labor difficult to manage. Nick Matthews and his team argue that "the lack of institutional support on work-life balance and mental health paired with the institutional demands to be 'all in' and always on, and the consequential lack of professional-personal life balance, led journalists to have a sense of disconnection from both their personal and professional lives" (Mathews, Bélair-Gagnon, & Carlson, 2021, p. 12; see also Bossio and Holton, 2019;Reinardy, 2011). How much more so is the expectation that on top of the digital labor of journalism to enter into hostile work situations and bear the brunt of harassment? ...
This chapter argues that the solution to the problem of covering hate in digital journalism resides in tactics that have been key to legacy journalism’s normative success: slow, painstakingly careful reporting, comprehensive interviewing and adherence to Associated Press style guidelines. These keys to legacy journalism’s past success have been in many ways the antithesis of what has been successful in digital journalism and, hence, this chapter argues the solution to the problem that hate groups pose does not lie in “digitization” but in “journalism.” This proposal is not meant to ask digital journalism to shed its digital practices in all situations—indeed it would be financially dangerous and technologically counter-intuitive to do so—but rather to treat reporting related to hate groups as operating in a different category entirely; a category that demands the best of digital journalism’s normative legacy.
Research demonstrates that most professional journalists will experience trauma in their work. Yet almost no research has focused on college students’ coverage of a traumatic event. Narrative analysis explores the experiences of 12 university students who reported and produced execution coverage for their college newscast. The data reveal that the students struggled with feelings of detachment, uncertainty, and dread before, during, and after the coverage. The research also explored the students’ reaction to counseling sessions scheduled by faculty to mitigate the trauma. Findings illuminate a path for student media programs to follow to help students prepare for potentially troubling content.
Over the past decades, research on emotion in journalism has been under-researched since it was seen in opposition to objectivity and legacy journalism. While some studies have identified the dynamic role of emotion in mediating relationships among news content, audience, and reporter, the existing literature paid less attention to journalists’ emotional experience at work and its impact. Drawing on Grandey’s model of emotional management at work, this study is conceived to examine the emotions of Chinese frontline reporters experienced in daily work and its effects on their job burnout. The survey with 276 Chinese reporters reveals the effect of the demand on emotions at work, and reporters’ experience of engaging in emotional labor magnify their job burnout levels. Meanwhile, the use of problem-focused coping strategies can help reporters reduce job burnout caused by emotional labor engagement. Findings in this study fill the gap in understanding the mechanism of reporters’ emotional labor engagement, its impacts on job burnout, and possible coping strategies. The theoretical implications are addressed, and the practical implications for journalists are discussed.
Television news corporations changed their work roles from a tradition of team production to a ‘one-man-band’ method of production. Many veteran reporters are hesitant to accept the new methodology. This study intended to examine how television news reporters adjusted to more work demands and new technologies. A questionnaire was combined with participant observation for analysis. The participants included 289 television journalists, selected from local affiliates throughout the United States. The results indicate that there is preference for younger workers and burnout occurring to all age groups. This study explores the commodification of the profession in terms of labour value.
Social media platforms have become an integral part of journalistic work. These tools allow journalists to pursue stronger, more intimate connections with their audiences, to cultivate their own professional identities or “brands,” and to advocate for improved working conditions within their organizations. Yet, social media platforms have also created new risks and challenges for journalists, most notably in the form of dark participation, which refers to negative, selfish or even deeply sinister forms of online audience engagement. Although scholars have devoted considerable effort to exploring how this harassment unfolds and how it impacts journalists who face it, there is less research investigating the implications of this harassment for the future of journalism and its relationship with the public. To address this, this research uses interviews with a diverse group of 37 US journalists to propose larger structural changes to newsroom leadership and social media policy creation. The interview data suggest that newsroom leadership must become more diverse so that newsroom policy is assembled by a group of people that is representative of its staff—as well as the public at large. The authors conclude by observing that “dark participation” is not unique to journalism alone, and by discussing the implications of our findings for communication stakeholders invested in overcoming the current, global climate of populism that frequently results in hate, harassment, and hostility within social media.
The expansion of hostility against journalists and the mainstreaming of white nationalist ideologies globally necessitate a much-needed elaboration of the problem of hate. In particular, this chapter aims to expose a vulnerability in the production of digital journalism. Journalists are not just bystanders in the problem of hate, but in some ways are unintentionally culpable for the rising visibility of hate. This chapter overviews the text and additionally considers how journalists conceptualize the problem of hate.
This study aims to identify the challenges of women journalists in Afghanistan and their impact on the intention to leave the job. To achieve the objectives of this study, a mixed-method (qualitative and quantitative) has been used. In the qualitative section, 15 in-depth interviews were conducted with female journalists in Afghanistan using purposive sampling. The interview data were analyzed using “NVivo 12.” In the quantitative section, Maslach’s burnout theory was integrated with job demands, family job conflict, organizational support, and society job conflict scales as influential factors on the intention to leave the job. Quota sampling was used to send an online questionnaire to 350 female journalists in Afghanistan. As a result, 183 questionnaires were obtained, of which 157 were completed. Pearson correlation coefficients and multilinear regression tests with 95% confidence level (P < 0.05) were used to analyze the data using “SPSS 25.” Emotional exhaustion, depersonalization, family job conflict, society job conflict, and intention to leave the job are all found to have a positive and significant relationship in this study. In contrast, this study found a significant negative relationship between the perception of organizational support and the intention to leave the job.
Interviews with editors over 25 days find no dominant problem. Both human and technological factors cause lesser problems.
Resistance to job burnout requires a sense of involvement in ones work, a high degree of peer cohesion and supervisor support, a strong sense of personal autonomy and a sense of physical comfort. But in this study, copy editors were found to be significantly less satisfied with their work environment and to feel less involved, less encouraged to make their own on-the-job decisions, and less physically comfortable than were reporters.
An authoritative and detailed illustration of the state of journalistic practice in the United States today, The American Journalist in the 21st Century sheds light on the demographic and educational backgrounds, working conditions, and professional and ethical values of print, broadcast, and Internet journalists at the beginning of the 21st century. Providing results from telephone surveys of nearly 1,500 U.S. journalists working in a variety of media outlets, this volume updates the findings published in the earlier report, The American Journalist in the 1990s, and reflects the continued evolution of journalistic practice and professionalism. The scope of material included here is extensive and inclusive, representing numerous facets of journalistic practice and professionalism, and featuring separate analyses for women, minority, and online journalists. Many findings are set in context and compared with previous major studies of U.S. journalists conducted in the 1970s, 80s, and 90s. Serving as a detailed snapshot of current journalistic practice, The American Journalist in the 21st Century offers an intriguing and enlightening profile of professional journalists today, and it will be of great interest and value to working journalists, journalism educators, media managers, journalism students, and others seeking insights into the current state of the journalism profession. © 2007 by Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc. All rights reserved.