Producers are burning out! Alert the media!

Wow, the tidbits you can find on the internet.
I ran across a research article about producrs a few days ago in Shoptalk. The research is Angele Anderfuren from the Schieffer School of Journalism at Texas Christian University.
The research says one in five news producers surveyed in Texas at network affiliates is at risk of burnout or is experiencing burnout. It went on to say that almost half of those surveyed scored high on exhaustion and almost two thirds of the participating producers scored high on cynicism with both factors indicating potential burnout problems.
The study found producers who reported feelings of burnout also reported unsatisfactory resources to adequately do their jobs, heavy workloads and a desire to leave their jobs or professions. Women producers (60-percent) were found to be feeling more burned out then male producers.
Younger producers were at higher risk of feeling burnout than older ones. No paticipating producers age 40 or over scored burnout or at risk of burnout. Seventy percent of those in the burned out, at high risk or at some risk categories were in the 20-29 age group. Thirty percent were in the 30-39 age range.
Producers who scored high on “job-engaged, the opposite of burned out, had several common characteristics. All of them said they loved their jobs. They all reported to be at least satisfied with their station’s ethical standards. Eighty percent said they just re-signed their contracts and 60-percent said they produced their station’s late shows (9pm or 10pm newscasts).
The study went on to say stations can manage burnout or burnout risks by offering educational and training opportunties, having satisfactory daily schedules and offering enough vacation time. producers can help manage burnout by seeking additional education and training on their own, as well as paying adequate attention to their life outside of work.

I find that research interesting on a couple of points. It says the older producers are happier but it doesn’t say how many of them there are. I would estimate that their numbers are few. I generally find that news producers in the markets I’ve worked in (Memphis is the largest market) skew toward the 20 to 35 year old range which would also mean they are in the higher burnout category.
It says burnout can be prevented with additional training and education opportunities but again in the markets I’ve worked, most producers rarely leave their desks except for a smoke break or a restroom break. They eat at their desks. I don’t know that they have time for educational or training opportunities.
Besides, there are plenty of people who want to be in the glamorous and high paying world of TV news. If you don’t want to do your job, they’ve got twenty people fresh out of school or in some small market ready to take your place and they don’t have to pay them as much.
Now, stop reading this stupid blog and get back to producing your two shows. Who knows, somebody else may call in sick and you’ll have to help on that show too.

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5 Comments on “Producers are burning out! Alert the media!”

  1. Anonymous Says:

    I wonder if the age bracket simply reflects the lifestyle that is common for that group. Most young professionals at that age tend to live at a break-neck pace anyway–not just at work. Many of the ones I know fill their off hours with dating, volunteering, partying, sports, etc. Once they are older and settle down with a mortgage, spouse and kids, their off-work lifestyles seem to calm down. I would expect that if you’re running non-stop outside work, you’ll be running on empty at work. Couple that with the inevitable pressures of producing a newscast, and you’re undoubtedly headed for exhaustion. I doubt training and educational opportunities would do much to change that. It would be one more thing to fit into your schedule.

  2. Anonymous Says:

    Take it from a producer who has been around the block a few times. These younger producer types are pretty high strung and get stressed out easily. I remember the good ole days when producing was ripping wire copy from the machine and reworking it on a type writer. These folks just don’t know how much easier computers have made producing.

  3. Anonymous Says:

    If those producers quit surfing the internet to read entertainment gossip, joke, etc., shop on the internet, read and respond their hotmail accounts, and have countless smoke breaks, those at the station by the river would not stress out and can easily leave the building and have their half hour lunch break at a restaurant. And they still would actually have plenty of time to do their one-half hour show. They also would give their show editors more time to edit, instead of the editors rushing because the producers only give them 2 1/2 hours or less to edit.

  4. Joan Carr Says:

    You guys are all wrong, but it’s just not worth the time or the effort to set you straight. And I’m out of the business now anyway, so what do I care what you think of producers?

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