Staying Sharp in a 24/7 World: Time Management for Busy Broadcast Journalists
OTA Talent Web Team - May 1, 20244:30 PM
A Broadcast Journalist Types with a Wristwatch-bearing Hand

A Broadcast Journalist Types with a Wristwatch-bearing Hand

Life in broadcast journalism never gets boring. Deadlines loom, breaking news erupts, and the pressure to stay informed is constant.

In this ever-churning environment, time management is what helps some TV news presenters stand apart from their colleagues. It’s the skill that separates those who thrive from those who simply survive.

So, how do you conquer the clock and stay sharp in a 24/7 news cycle without succumbing to burnout?

Here are some essential strategies for broadcast journalists.

Triage Like a Pro

Not all tasks are created equal. Before starting the daily chaos, take 15 minutes to list everything on your plate.

Now, ruthlessly prioritize.

What stories are the hottest?

Which interviews are essential?

Use a system like the Eisenhower Matrix, categorizing tasks by urgency and importance. Tackle urgent and important ones first, delegate or reschedule less critical tasks, and eliminate anything non-essential.

Avoid Digital Distractions

Our digital world offers a treasure trove of information, but it’s also a major distraction vortex. Silence notifications on your phone and consider using website blockers during focused work periods.

Use tools that streamline your workflow. News aggregators can help you scan headlines quickly, while dictation software can free you from the keyboard for faster note-taking.

Learn to Say “No”

Saying “no” is a must-have skill for busy journalists. While you might want to tackle every story, spreading yourself too thin dilutes the quality of your work.

Be honest with editors about your capacity and suggest alternative colleagues when appropriate.

Remember, a well-executed story on a focused topic is far more valuable than a rushed piece on multiple issues.

Batch Similar Tasks

Industry-leading journalists know multitasking is a myth—it just adds to the stress. Instead, group similar tasks together.

Dedicate blocks of time for:

  • Research
  • Interview prep
  • Writing or editing.

Batching emails, phone calls, and social media engagement are also time management strategies you might want to consider if you want to save precious minutes throughout the day.

Plan Your Days

A TV News Presenter’s Planner Open to Two Mostly Unfilled Pages

Don’t wait for the breaking news to dictate your schedule. Plan your days in advance, allocating specific times for research, writing, interviews, etc. This helps you stay focused and avoid scrambling at the last minute.

Use a calendar app to schedule deadlines, block out time for specific tasks, and set realistic goals for what you can achieve in a day.

Take Frequent Breaks

The unpredictability of broadcast journalism is as exhausting, if not more so, than the daily grind of a regular desk job. A burnt-out journalist is not a good journalist.

Schedule short breaks throughout the day to clear your head and recharge. Get some fresh air, do some stretches, or listen to calming music. A refreshed broadcast journalist will approach tasks with more focus and produce better results.

Sharpen Your Skills, Not Just Your Deadlines

Being a journalist is a constant learning process. Learning time management means taking time out of your hectic day to hone your skills.

Dedicate time each day or week to do the following:

  • Attend workshops
  • Read industry publications
  • Taking online courses.

Keeping your skills sharp will not only lead to better time management skills but also make you a more valuable asset in the fast-paced world of broadcasting.

While mastering this skill is an ongoing battle for busy journalists, you don’t have to fight it alone. OTA Talent, with its proven track record in journalist placement and talent management services, can be your partner in success for training and representation.