September 2, 2016

Being a journalist is tough. Some days, the breaking news and tragic stories never seem to stop. It’s no fun landing on the worst jobs list year after year. Newsrooms are operating with fewer resources than ever before. And there’s tremendous uncertainty about the future of the news industry.

Some of these issues are a reality of the profession. Others will take an industry-wide shift to solve. But there are smaller problems within newsrooms that are fixable.

My co-conspirator Ren LaForme and I believe tackling those problems will better position journalists and newsroom leaders to address the bigger, more important issues.

From Sept. 19-23, we’re offering a special week of free training here on that’s focused on improving journalists’ work lives and fixing broken newsrooms. We’re calling the crowdfunded project 40 Better Hours — our call to improve the time you’re supposed to spend at work every week.

40 Better Hours is all about improving journalists’ work lives in small but meaningful ways. By fixing things like workflow and communication, providing skills to manage stress and monitor mental health, addressing ways to effectively lead through transitions, and giving workers skills to combat information overload, we can help create newsrooms that are better equipped to innovate and respond to industry changes.

And the lessons are applicable outside of journalism, too. Anyone working in an office environment can benefit from the week’s takeaways.

Ready? Here’s how it will work:

  • We’ll kick off each day with a short, inspirational newsletter packed with tips and a personal challenge.
  • That email will point you to a video and takeaways published here on the site.
  • And later in the day, we’ll offer up an opportunity to interact on Facebook with the experts featured in each video.

Here are the topics and speakers:

  • Monday, Sept. 19: Combating information overload, with WNYC’s Manoush Zomorodi
  • Tuesday, Sept. 20: Conquering email and rescuing meetings, featuring me
  • Wednesday, Sept. 21: Leading through change, with ESPN’s Rob King
  • Thursday, Sept. 22: Making collaboration happen, with Carla Zanoni and Jennifer Hicks of The Wall Street Journal
  • Friday, Sept. 23: Managing stress and burnout, with The Carter Center’s Rebecca Palpant

And here’s how you can make the most of the week:

  • Sign up for the newsletter: The 40 Better Hours pop-up newsletter will include a preview of each day’s video, related resources and a daily challenge. Subscribe here.
  • Block off time: Go ahead and claim time on your calendar! The videos will run 10 minutes or less, plus you’ll want to save some time for checking out our related resources. Our live expert Q&As will last from 1-2 p.m. each day — that’s a big time commitment, we know, so prioritize the topics that are most important to you.
  • Start your day off right: Just like exercise, meditation or eating a healthy breakfast, doing something that’s good for you early in the day will help you get on the right track. We’ll release newsletters and videos at 6 a.m. ET each day to help you rise and shine.
  • Spread the word: We encourage teams to watch the videos together and share thoughts. Or you can get faraway friends on board. The more the merrier!

Get ready for Sept. 19 — we’re excited to start releasing the videos. Here at Poynter, we keep reciting pieces of advice from the various people featured and have already put some of their ideas into practice. We can’t wait for you to benefit from them, too.

Special thanks to Ruth Ann Harnisch and dozens of other supporters for making 40 Better Hours free and available to everyone.

Support high-integrity, independent journalism that serves democracy. Make a gift to Poynter today. The Poynter Institute is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization, and your gift helps us make good journalism better.
Katie Hawkins-Gaar was Poynter's digital innovation faculty member. She ran the Leadership Academy for Women in Digital Media and was one half of the duo…
Katie Hawkins-Gaar

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