ONA Weekly #386: How To Provide Flexibility To Caregivers In The Newsroom

By on November 17, 2021

How to provide flexibility to caregivers in the newsroom  

What would you do if your newsroom employee suddenly told you they must go offline for the next few hours to handle a personal emergency — in the middle of a work day? It is likely that if you manage a team of employees who are also caregivers, you have already encountered this scenario. 

Caregiving is personal to the individual receiving care; therefore, the demands and tasks caregivers perform look very different. Newsroom employees look to supervisors to provide a flexible work culture that allows them to make contributions to the newsroom on top of managing caregiving responsibilities. As a first step, here are four questions you and your team can ask to create a work culture that supports everyone including caregivers:

  • Are we able to turn key takeaways from this meeting into a document?  
  • Is this a conversation we can have on Slack or email?
  • Which process or workflow are we able to capture in a handover document? 
  • What type of accommodations (i.e., scheduling, restructuring tasks, etc.) am I, and the team, willing to make with my employee to ensure that our project doesn’t conflict with their caregiving duties?
Documenting topics shared during meetings or conversations on Slack or email helps keep employees not present informed. Keeping a database of handover documents or creating a backup plan saves time and energy. Encouraging open dialogue about ongoing caregiving duties helps everyone on your team decide how they might best contribute to projects. In this writeup for OpenNews, Co-executive Director Sisi Wei tells us why asynchronous collaboration leads to better team outcomes. She also offers ways to redesign meeting materials to optimize participation from people who did not attend.

If you’re an employee looking for extra support with your caregiving duties, here are additional resources:     

We’re always on the lookout for helpful resources and tips. If you have other examples to share, please reply directly to this email.


Ignite change: Apply for O’Brien Fellowship

With nine months, $70,000, funds for travel and a team of student journalists the O’Brien Fellowship gives you the possibility to expose injustice and make real-world change. Applications for the O’Brien Fellowship open December 1, 2021. Learn more

Get clear about your vision to build your career  

Our third and final conversation from the Women’s Leadership Accelerator speaker series this Thursday, Nov. 18, 12 p.m. EST (17:00 UTC) will focus on Building the Career you Want. Speakers Millie Tran, Vice President of Content Strategy and Growth at Condé Nast; Versha Sharma, Editor-in-Chief at Teen Vogue; Rubina Madan Fillion, Director of Strategy for The New York Times Opinion and Kim Fox, Vice President of Product Strategy at CalMatters will share the challenges they faced during their career and how to transform misconceptions about women in powerful positions. This learning session provides you with strategies to help you get clear on your vision and navigate opportunities to build a meaningful career. Name your price to register and invite a friend or colleague.

Build powerful connections with the ONA community 

Join us for the Women in Leadership Community Meetup hosted by incoming board member Angela Pacienza on Zoom this Friday, Nov. 19 at 12 p.m. EST (17:00 UTC). This 60-minute facilitated networking event invites women in leadership and their allies to connect on ideas around setting goals, work-life balance and addressing systemic inequities among peers, mentors and colleagues. The meetup begins with a check-in followed by smaller breakout sessions and wraps up with a group reflection. This event is free and open to everyone thanks to the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. Register now.

Boston College’s Emma Healy receives honorary mention at OJAs

Judges at this year’s Online Journalism Awards recognized Emma Healy’s drive to record some of the biggest athletic stories on and off the Boston College campus in the Student Journalism Award category. As the current Sports Editor for The Heights, an independent student newspaper, Emma’s portfolio in the Student Journalism Awards category features in-depth profile stories of influential people in her college community such as Jon Sciambi, an alumnus who now works as a sportscaster and play-by-play radio announcer for Chicago Cubs, and Jocelyn Gates, a graduate of Howard University who became BC’s highest-ranking woman and person of color athletics administrator. Other notable portfolio pieces highlight the story of BC’s women’s lacrosse team which recently won its first national championship in program history. 

Two weeks left to apply for WLA

We invite women who are passionate about driving change in newsrooms and the journalism industry to apply for the 2022 Women’s Leadership Accelerator. During the year-long program, the cohort will participate in virtual and in-person workshops tailored to the groups’ needs, receive one-on-one mentoring from industry experts and connect with a larger, global community of inspiring women leaders for career-long support. Learn more about the application requirements and apply by Nov. 30.

U.S. journalists: Tell RCFP about your legal needs

As part of efforts to scale the Protecting Journalists Pro Bono Program, the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press is conducting research to better understand the legal needs of journalists and news organizations in the U.S. If that’s you, take this short survey to help RCFP support more journalists that otherwise cannot afford legal services.

Important dates

Career opportunities

ONA’s Career Center is an excellent resource for jobs, fellowships and internships in digital journalism. Recent postings include:

On our radar

The radar is now open for suggestions. Have you written or read a piece lately that would benefit others in journalism? We’re interested in sharing insights on trends, how-to guides, lessons from a project and other inspiration for innovation in digital journalism.

P.S. from the ONA team

ONA Executive Director/CEO Irving Washington shares what major business theme will dominate global media’s attention in 2022 for McKinsey Global Publishing.
Join as an ONA member or make a donation to help sustain ONA’s mission to inspire and support innovation in digital journalism. If you’re looking to promote an event, product, job opening or other opportunity, explore options to reach the ONA community.

We also rely on philanthropic and corporate support. Contact Chief Strategic Partnerships Officer Jessica Strelitz at jessica@journalists.org to learn about the many ways to invest in our mission.