A project of Democracy Fund

April 26, 2021

Local Fix: “We can’t make burnout optional to solve”


Welcome to the Local Fix. Each week we look at key questions in journalism sustainability and community engagement through the lens of local news. But first, we always begin with one good idea…

One Good Idea: Take a Meeting Break
We had one of those “oh I am totally stealing this idea” moments this week thanks to LION Publishers Deputy Director Anika Anand. Anand took a two-week hiatus from emails and meetings to focus on deep dive projects, including setting up an email auto-responder and, importantly, sticking to the two-week break. It wasn’t the same as time away from work, but it was still mentally re-energizing, Anand shared. Check out more of her tips and the discussion it started. And don’t be surprised if you get that auto-responder from one of us sometime soon.

“We Need to Talk About Burnout”

In 2015, we headlined an edition of the Local Fix “We Need to Talk About Burnout in Local Newsrooms.” At the time it felt like those discussions were not as welcomed or happened behind closed doors. That has changed — though unfortunately in part because burnout is felt so viscerally by so many right now. Over the past few weeks, we’ve seen many people sharing tips and articles on the subject. Most importantly: people are pointing out that this isn’t an individual issue but a structural one. “Burnout is an ambiguous topic with different meanings,” ONA CEO Irving Washington tweeted. “As much as we are experimenting with business models in journalism, we need experimentation in models for leadership. We can’t make burnout optional to solve by delegating responsibility to individuals.” Inspired by this thread and in recognition of the leaders who have been talking about this topic for years, we dug into our archives to re-share some helpful links and thoughts on burnout, self-care, and structural change:

Have a good weekend,
Teresa, Christine, and Areeba
@gteresa, @heres_christine, @areebashah_


The Local Fix is a project of the Democracy Fund’s Public Square Program, which supports promising new experiments redefining the public square in ways that make it more digital, participatory, and inclusive. The Fix was started by Josh Stearns and Molly de Aguiar. Disclosure: Some projects mentioned in this newsletter may be funded by Democracy Fund. You can find a full list of the organizations here. Follow us on Twitter at @TheLocalNewsLab.