Wick Communications

Coping with stress

In journalism on 22 Sep 2016 at 3:34 pm
From Career Cast

From Career Cast

Hey, are you feeling a little stressed out? Come on, everybody, let’s stretch and sing a little song to get the cobwebs out!

Now that you have cussed me under your breath and thrown something at your computer screen, I’d like to introduce you to Katie Hawkins-Gaar. She is on the Poynter Institute faculty and writes and speaks regularly about digital innovation. She is also half of he brains behind the #happynewsroom, which is an effort to inject some fun into our lives  — an effort that somehow apparently rubbed some people the wrong way. (Because some people refuse to be happy, damn it.)

She was questioned by a colleague this week in the wake of another poll showing that journalists have stressful careers. (Duh.)

There is a feeling that our jobs are more stressful than ever. Perhaps that is so. I didn’t work as a journalist during the typewriter era (OK, I came in right at the end of it), but I can imagine that was pretty stressful too. Urgency, the need to be right all the time, uncompromising bosses and readers … the tools have changed but I’m not sure the business is “harder” than it was in 1960.

Anyway, Hawkins-Gaar has some ideas that are both obvious and unusual for dealing with that stress. My favorite? Getting together with your team and listing all the individual mundane tasks that make up a week and brainstorming ways to streamline or even eliminate some. We will be doing that at the Half Moon Bay Review. …

There is no question this is a stressful profession. Hawkins-Gaar herself listed many of the reasons:

We work long, sometimes unpredictable hours. We cover stories and topics that can take a mental toll and are hard to leave behind at the office. We are expected to do more with fewer resources. On top of it all, our industry is in a state of uncertainty, which means that job security and workplace morale aren’t so great.

Stipulate. But we got into this business because we like that challenge. We get off on the adrenaline created by breaking news. We want to be among our society’s best-informed people. We like access to power and interesting people. We are communicators, innovators, writers and thinkers. If stress is making you forget all that, you need to do something to address that. Hawkins-Gaar has ideas, and I do too. Call me if the need arises.



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