Happy to serve : the role of audience engagement in journalism job satisfaction
Journalism jobs have experienced significant changes in recent years. From adding multimedia skills in expectations during the era of convergence, to the current demand for audience engagement skills, practitioners have seen the demands on their work grow exponentially as resources are being dramatically reduced. While this has been shown to be a recipe for burnout, this study seeks to understand the motivational properties of new skillsets and tasks. Through the job characteristics model, used in previous eras to study "job enlargement," where workers are assigned multiple tasks as a way to improve productivity and satisfaction, the value of audience engagement as a tool to provide enhanced feedback and perceived significance is explored. Social capital theory helps explain how a news worker who employs more audience engagement in their work may experience better job outcomes compared to one who does not. A relationship is indeed found through a survey of news workers (N=110) across the industry, demonstrating that audience engagement contributes positively to the job characteristics model for some journalists. These findings have implications for newsroom managers, who may be able to apply the job characteristics model to further enhance work outcomes and job satisfaction through intelligent job enlargement.