Photo by Julia Wick.
Luis Gomez
Aug 1 · 3 min read

Through a survey, 160 former journalists told me their reasons why they left the news industry. The answers below are anecdotal but they reveal a trend that is often too relatable for those who remain in the news business. This is one of three parts of a story on why journalists leave news.


“Think about why you’re leaving, and what it is you want to do instead. Don’t leave just to leave — you might end up in another unsatisfying or stressful job. Have a plan, and start networking in the field you’re looking to get into.”

— Gail Waterhouse, public policy professional


“There are endless opportunities to tell a story that serves the greater good, not confined to a formula within a box that fits within a package, a TRT or a segment. If you’re passionate about being an information provider, look horizontally to the various existing platforms to contribute to or create.”

— Lilian Peña, sales and marketing professional


“As much as we love it, journalism won’t love you back. If you want to leave, do it. I loved most of my 21 years. Made great friends. Wrote amazing things. Saw wondrous events. It hurt to leave. If you can say ‘I’m done,’ you are. Leave.”

— Randy Jones, public information professional


“Think about what you loved about journalism and how those skills might translate into a more marketable and enjoyable career path with a future. For example, I liked working with words and with people and ideas related to social issues. Those interests and abilities translated to better employment opportunities as an online college professor of writing and interdisciplinary liberal arts. I did have to go back to graduate school to be qualified to make that change.”

— Debi Martin, B.J., M.A., online college professor


“You can do it. Take the leap. My biggest piece of advice is to round out your skillset. I took web developer classes and that gave me a huge edge in finding work. I also developed my visual art and graphic design skills beyond what I learned at the paper. Being a good writer is not enough. You need to develop an arsenal of technical skills to complement your storytelling. Displaying to employers that you are somebody who is scrappy and willing to continue learning is vital in a job search.”

— Sue Kidd, marketing and communications professional


“There is dignity in leaving an employer and profession that no longer values you or the work you do. Be brave, and be confident knowing that the skills you obtained in journalism will make you highly valued and sought-after in many other professions by employers and industries with a future. Those skills? The ability to communicate effectively, the ability to work well under pressure, and the ability to become an instant expert on almost anything.”

— David Wert, public information officer


“It’s okay. Take care of yourself. Reach out for help. You are more than your career. Take heart in that. Journalism will always be there for those who care about it — readers and journalists alike.”

— Michael Mott, communications & content marketing


Click here to read the first part of this report. Click here to read what10 former journalists said about their reason(s) for leaving news.

Follow me on Twitter for updates and support this series and the CA//MEDIA//JOBS Newsletter (via PayPal or Venmo).

Luis Gomez

Written by

Digital journalist // bilingüe 🇲🇽 // Sign up to get California-based journalism jobs in your inbox every Friday: (link: http://bit.ly/journalism-jobs)

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