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Anchor/MMJ/Etc. Contracts


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It seems the contracts are getting shorter and shorter.  Turnover is constant, and jobs in smaller markets are either stepping stones for larger markets or only stops for the journalists who take them.

 

The recruiters are on colleges trying to snatch up any recent graduates (or even students) to fill the voids created by all of the turnover.

 

In a way, this may create a future void, as current long-haul journalists and TV people leave the industry for a better life (and salary) because of their experience.  When the experience goes away, these other jobs may suffer unless the schools teach for this kind of experience.

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On 12/20/2023 at 9:54 PM, Howard Beale said:

I’d hate to be a TV news director these days.  Imagine how stressful it must be to try to recruit people!  I see recruiters from Gray and Scripps, among others, who post the same open jobs on LinkedIn almost every day.  I’m also aware of some jobs that have been open for months.

 

I’m no longer in the business, so does anyone here have first-hand knowledge of the recruiting crisis in TV news?

 

22 hours ago, tyrannical bastard said:

It seems the contracts are getting shorter and shorter.  Turnover is constant, and jobs in smaller markets are either stepping stones for larger markets or only stops for the journalists who take them.

 

The recruiters are on colleges trying to snatch up any recent graduates (or even students) to fill the voids created by all of the turnover.

 

In a way, this may create a future void, as current long-haul journalists and TV people leave the industry for a better life (and salary) because of their experience.  When the experience goes away, these other jobs may suffer unless the schools teach for this kind of experience.

The contracts should be shorter. Being locked into a $16 to $20 an hour job for 2 to 3 years is insane. Call me an extremist but contracts should be abolished for all low wage employees making perhaps less than $100K/yr. 

 

What the news industry seems to not care about is that their toxic work environments, unrealistic timing expectations, the expansion of the MMJ role and low salaries have all contributed to mass turnovers and low recruitment. 

 

Many of these conditions were in place before the digital age so we cannot blame loss of viewing habits for the current generation's disillusionment with the profession.

 

This is the "I quit" generation. Millennials and Gen Z are not as loyal to their jobs and not willing to tolerate crap from their bosses so they will walk away faster than  previous generations.

Edited by MediaZone4K
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This is an area where it's endemic to society as a whole. I don't know you could say it's disillusionment with journalism more or less than all kinds of fields. Even if someone feels a calling or a passion, reality sets in no matter the field (teaching, journalism, first responder, etc) and the bills are sometimes going to win out over the "calling." 

 

Wages for most sectors haven't kept up with inflation and haven't for decades for rank-and-file type roles. Contracts and non-competes are dreadful at lower salaries, and thankfully at least one of those is seeing some action. 

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The real toxic part of contracts many station groups are making people sign are financial penalties if you resign even if you are leaving the business. Thousands of dollars. A one-sided agreement like that should scare away any reasonable person. 
 

Stations will argue it is the cost of the training they gave you and recruiting/hiring your replacement. And you can maybe justify some of that cost on a first contract, but in a second employment agreement the training cost isn’t there. 

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2 hours ago, Recovering Producer said:

The real toxic part of contracts many station groups are making people sign are financial penalties if you resign even if you are leaving the business. Thousands of dollars. A one-sided agreement like that should scare away any reasonable person. 
 

Stations will argue it is the cost of the training they gave you and recruiting/hiring your replacement. And you can maybe justify some of that cost on a first contract, but in a second employment agreement the training cost isn’t there. 

More proof that the station groups are totally out of it when it comes to their practices.  It may have made sense 20-30 years ago when they were riding high and salaries were above board. But now, there are more lucrative "at-will" jobs and careers where the relationship between employee and employer can be terminated at any time by either party, with adequate notice to condition any guarantee of earned benefits. 

 

That does pose the risk that the employer may exercise this option.  Contracted employees are paid for the duration of the contract unless there is a breach that nullifies it.  In some cases, an employee may be released and still paid for the duration of the contract.

Edited by tyrannical bastard
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9 hours ago, Recovering Producer said:

The real toxic part of contracts many station groups are making people sign are financial penalties if you resign even if you are leaving the business. Thousands of dollars. A one-sided agreement like that should scare away any reasonable person. 
 

Stations will argue it is the cost of the training they gave you and recruiting/hiring your replacement. And you can maybe justify some of that cost on a first contract, but in a second employment agreement the training cost isn’t there. 

— Except small to mid-market stations do little by way of training employees anymore. In my old mid-market newsroom, there was no formal training for reporters, just learning as you go along. There was no hair, makeup, work phones, or any perks attached for reporters. So their argument that investment in employees justifies post-employment non-compete clauses or contract breach fees is null and void. 

 

And so what if they did invest in employees? Why do employers feel the need to exercise control over what someone does when they leave your company? Fear of losing viewers?  As Katie Couric leaving Today for the CBS Evening News displayed, talent switching channels doesn't mean the viewers will leave in droves as the CBS EN remained #3 and Today remained #1 in their respective slots. Nonetheless, I doubt audiences will abandon a station because a reporter (a more interchangeable face than an anchor) has switched channels. 

 

If it's fear of spreading company intellectual property — cameramen and digital writers who weren't under contract were privy to just as much information as reporters and producers who were contracted. So that policy of subjecting one to contract not the other was inconsistent to me. 

 

 

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7 hours ago, MediaZone4K said:

— Except small to mid-market stations do little by way of training employees anymore. In my old mid-market newsroom, there was no formal training for reporters, just learning as you go along. There was no hair, makeup, work phones, or any perks attached for reporters. So their argument that investment in employees justifies post-employment non-compete clauses or contract breach fees is null and void. 

 

And so what if they did invest in employees? Why do employers feel the need to exercise control over what someone does when they leave your company? Fear of losing viewers?  As Katie Couric leaving Today for the CBS Evening News displayed, talent switching channels doesn't mean the viewers will leave in droves as the CBS EN remained #3 and Today remained #1 in their respective slots. Nonetheless, I doubt audiences will abandon a station because a reporter (a more interchangeable face than an anchor) has switched channels. 

 

If it's fear of spreading company intellectual property — cameramen and digital writers who weren't under contract were privy to just as much information as reporters and producers who were contracted. So that policy of subjecting one to contract not the other was inconsistent to me. 

 

 

When it comes to recouping their investment in employees, a lot of the so-called "training" is the corporate brainwashing that these companies pile on them. And therein lies the "trade secrets" these companies are trying to protect through non-competes and enforcing contracts.

 

Just another example of top-down management trickling down to the average employee...

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19 hours ago, MediaZone4K said:

And so what if they did invest in employees? Why do employers feel the need to exercise control over what someone does when they leave your company? Fear of losing viewers?  As Katie Couric leaving Today for the CBS Evening News displayed, talent switching channels doesn't mean the viewers will leave in droves as the CBS EN remained #3 and Today remained #1 in their respective slots. Nonetheless, I doubt audiences will abandon a station because a reporter (a more interchangeable face than an anchor) has switched channels. 

 

I used to think that's how it worked in bigger markets journalists from competing stations being lured from a competing stations to a lower-rated station in the hope of improving their ratings by crossing over to the competition, WCBS did that with Ernie Anastos and Roz Abrams both from competing stations they were great but didn't work out ratings-wise. I thought pulling talent from competing stations in town helped the ratings for the station they're going to. WBMA-LD in Alabama when they launched in 1995, most of the talent was from other Birmingham stations Pam Huff, James Spann, etc it obviously worked for them (though it may have been that Allbritton just did a good job launching them), as most startup news departments birthed from 94-1995 television realignment have since shut down their news departments or are in last place ratings wise. So I thought if it worked in Birmingham it could work at other markets. I guess I was wrong.

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There can be too many variables to say "it works" or "it doesn't." Who's determining success, how long a window, how is the quality of the operation to which someone goes? How about the impact of the network on local programming? How strong is the station someone is leaving? Are viewers more invested in the brand or the people?  

 

Probably many more variables, but just looking at those, you're going to find not only are any given scenarios demonstrably not the same, but that subjectivity can determine what's a success and what's not. 

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On 6/12/2024 at 1:36 PM, HanSolo said:

There can be too many variables to say "it works" or "it doesn't." Who's determining success, how long a window, how is the quality of the operation to which someone goes? How about the impact of the network on local programming? How strong is the station someone is leaving? Are viewers more invested in the brand or the people?  

 

Probably many more variables, but just looking at those, you're going to find not only are any given scenarios demonstrably not the same, but that subjectivity can determine what's a success and what's not. 

Fair points. All in all a job should have no say on when and where you seek employment after you leave said job.

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