“Each day in the newsroom was soul-destroying”

A senior producer has written anonymously about bullying in the newsroom of a current television network, ultimately driving her to resign.

The 45 year old, who has worked as reporter, newsreader, senior reporter, morning news anchor wrote on the 9Honey site that she was hired 6 months ago for her experience in a newsroom full of “twenty-somethings.”

But while some proved helpful, others were as cold as ice.

She wrote, “I very soon realised the ‘pecking order’ among the women of the newsroom. There seemed to be an all-round attitude of arrogance, unfriendliness and curtness. I wondered if one person had set the tone and the others had decided to follow suit. Nonetheless, I was determined to remain friendly, after all, I was the newest, the most technically inept and I was lucky to be there, right?

“In my mind, I knew I was an excellent journalist. I’d covered every possible type of story and event, from civil war to murder and celebrity, I’d interviewed presidents, princes, and pop stars. I’d worked in three countries in TV, radio and print – and I was sure I’d make a great contribution to this new role.

“Yet within three weeks, my place in the organisation had been set. I was a junior in the eyes of the juniors. I had made great strides from a technical proficiency point of view, and was getting through the work at a good pace, but I’d also presented the twenty-somethings with a dilemma. I suspect they didn’t know where to place me. There I was, older than all of them and far more experienced, but brand new in this organisation and on a massively steep learning curve.

“They could have embraced me, but instead they chose the opposite. On a daily basis I was either completely ignored, or spoken to like I was an incompetent idiot. I was sent to get coffee, tissues and even brownies for the ‘hosts’ and only spoken to in order to be criticised, reprimanded, or ridiculed for my lack of technical expertise.

“I began to dread going into work. Nothing affected me more than walking in at 3am every day, greeting everyone and not getting some much as a “hi” in response. I began to feel anxious every night before bed and from the minute I woke `in the morning. As I walked into the newsroom, a sick feeling would sweep over me. I’d put my head down, get on with the work and keep myself to myself, always dreading the minute someone mentioned my name, knowing it would only be to criticise.”

After just 6 weeks she had enough.

“Finally, I couldn’t take it anymore. I thought about using my sick leave for some mental health leave, but even then, I knew they’d got the better of me. I felt broken. Each day in the newsroom was soul-destroying. So, I quit.”

You can read the full story at 9Honey.

9 Comments:

  1. I can totally relate to the authors experience. I’m not sure what show this was on, but it sounds awfully close to the culture I experienced on a particular morning news show. Like the author I would feel sick walking in the door in the morning knowing how I was going to be treated. I’ve been around for a very long time and worked on pretty much every type of TV show there is. I’m extremely thick skinned and don’t take things personally but it got to the point where I asked to not be rostered to this show any more. I regularly hear other people have the same experience working on it. The bullying has been brought to managements attention many many times and nothing is ever done about it. It’s got to the point now where they are finding it very difficult to get staff to work on it. The staff they do manage to keep are very inexperienced and think the bullying is the norm which is…

  2. i work in a newsroom where this goes on… the producer and journos are all 20 something, and apparently know everything, and wont listen to experience. So iam just here for the pay day each week. Poor things, fighting over each other to get on camera. Sigh, its no wonder that streaming services are taking over the world… lets all move to America.

  3. This is a sad and unfortunately common story. 2 of the commercial  networks are worse than the other one. They are full of Inexperienced people that don’t know how they used to be run. Just look at the flash frames in news bulletins and 5 different car commercials in one break.

  4. thedirtydigger

    I take it the newsroom referred to is not Channel Nine, considering where this article was published ?
    A colleague of mine, a very successful journalist over 50 , had a similar experience at a morning TV show that prides itself on being one big happy family.
    More like the Addams Family – behind the scenes was a cat fight where anyone over 40 was made to feel like an idiot with no idea, and subjected to very public humiliation because they committed the terrible sin of just being older ( and actually wiser ) than the know-all smug 20 – somethings in charge of the place.

  5. Kinda defines so many of the the millennial so-called “journalists” – lazy, ignorant and arrogant. Sadly it shows in what they write and present, but they’re too stupid to notice and think they’re god’s gift to journalism. Maybe they’ll grow up one day (or maybe not!). But nobody’s allowed to complain. Why? Here’s a quote from Paul Barry of ABC’s Media Watch that explains: “Journalists as a bunch tend to be pretty thin-skinned. They dish it out to other people but they hate having anyone come after them. Rarely does anybody take it well or with good humour.”

  6. I wonder if the network the journalist is referring to is the same network where I and many others were treated in a similar way. I wasn’t working in a newsroom, but found the whole place to be so toxic and full of nasty factions. The talent were generally the kindest people at the station.

  7. It starts subtly then has a bandwagon effect among the other staff. In my case it began with dirty looks and snide comments, then it escalated to formal complaints and being left out of staff social gatherings and things like the lunchtime run to McDonalds. Other things like disparaging graffiti on the toilet doors and being called names like Rastus and Massah didn’t help.

    I’m not exaggerating about the bandwagon effect. For 20 years I couldn’t read my diaries or any documents about that period, but I finally requested my files and was staggered to see that three formal complaints about me were submitted *after* I left. Nowadays I suffer PTSD and am unable to work because of the bullying and harassment I suffered there.

  8. It happens in all industries & to men as well. I once went for an interview for a position in a new department being set up in a bank. The 20 something girl interviewing me asked what I (I assume as a 40 something) could bring to the company. When I pointed out that I had previously worked for the bank ( she obviously hadn’t read my CV) she shut down completely & the interview was over. I feel for this woman. It is hard now for older people in the workplace. I can picture all these young girls (where are the young guys) pushing each other out of the way to get on camera.

  9. Unfortunately this doesn’t surprise me! When networks embrace reality with bullying as drama it is inevitable that the culture could infiltrate.
    Having had a similar experience in my career, I too walked out. The bullying and culture needs to be nipped in the bud by management (this didn’t happen at n my case so I left). Am hoping the journalist is feeling better now she has left.

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