A rush from one breaking news bulletin to the next, staying on top of the news agenda and being constantly switched on – that’s just a glimpse of a day in the life of a journalist.
The news cycle is a relentless, never-ending cycle. The adrenaline rush keeps us moving when we are caught in the moment.
However, the past 17 months or so have highlighted the importance for us of hitting the PAUSE button and taking a step back. As journalists, we’ve been at the centre of the Covid-19 pandemic and reporting on the ever-evolving virus that has claimed the lives of millions of people around the world. It’s been tough and depressing. Most among us have experienced heightened anxiety, stress, depression and burnout.
It’s for this reason that it has become so important for newsrooms to prioritise the mental health of their editorial staff. We need a newsroom culture where people are free to speak out about their experiences, without fearing that it will affect their careers. While there’s a glimpse of hope, with various newsrooms implementing different programmes for their staff, there’s room for more to be done. After all, we need journalists who are mentally healthy and fully supported.
It’s also upon us to exercise self-care. The demands of the job are plenty, and it almost seems impossible to switch off. But we are of no use to anyone if we don’t put ourselves and our mental well-being first.
~ Nosipho Mtshaulana is news editor at Newzroom Afrika.
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