Not on air, but Online: The Labor Conditions of the Digital Journalist in U.S. Local Television Newsrooms

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


As American news preferences shift from broadcast to digital platforms, corporate-owned local television stations have hired digital teams to keep a growing array of mobile, social, web, and over-the-top platforms updated with revenue-generating and audience-friendly information. Yet, these workers are currently missing from the labor literature. Therefore, this exploratory study uses a political economy framework with a labor focus to begin to understand the day-to-day working conditions of these employees. Interviews outline workload issues including long hours of multitasking and nearly-constant connectivity even when off the clock, sped-up production expectations with a commodified information focus, and limited worker protections. The findings here aim to provide a starting point for digital journalism labor studies moving forward.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)95-108
Number of pages14
JournalElectronic News
Issue number3-4
StatePublished - Dec 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The author would like to thank the journalists who spoke so candidly about their experiences in their newsrooms for this project. Thank you, also, to the anonymous reviewers who gave their time and expertise to make this a better paper. The author(s) received no financial support for the research, authorship and/or publication of this article.

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2021.


  • Digital journalism
  • labor
  • local television news
  • multiplatform
  • political economy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Information Systems
  • Communication


Dive into the research topics of 'Not on air, but Online: The Labor Conditions of the Digital Journalist in U.S. Local Television Newsrooms'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this