Make Slot not Art: Creativity and Burnout in U.S. Local Television Newsrooms

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Journalism is considered a creative industry, but newsroom workers can only incorporate creativity into their stories if they have the time, tools and support for such endeavors. The structural conditions of capitalism, however, often leave workers without creative opportunities as ownership focuses on increased output and income expectations over storytelling. Instead, many workers find “one more thing” continually being added to their workloads, contributing to role overload and increasing levels of burnout. Using a labor process theory lens, this study seeks to explore the role of creativity in news gathering and distribution and its relationship with burnout in local television newsrooms. Through semi-structured interviews, forty-seven large market newsroom workers in the United States share their experiences with creative support, role overload and burnout. Those with the ability to “make art” and incorporate creativity into their routines generally speak more positively about their jobs than those who simply “make slot” to get their story on air or online. In a time of increasing newsroom worker attrition, recognizing the potential positive impact of creativity in news routines can influence how newsrooms handle staffing and storytelling into the future.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournalism Practice
StateAccepted/In press - 2024

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2024 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.


  • Burnout
  • creativity
  • Journalism
  • labor
  • labor process theory
  • news work
  • television news

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication


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