The Real Reason I'm Leaving TV News

by - 7:51:00 PM

This is my last week working for the place that's been my second home for the entirety of my adult (re: post-college) life. I've done some pretty cool things working in television news, and the people who've been with me on this journey for the duration have become like family. So when Friday rolls around, there will likely be some tears shed for the life I'm leaving behind, but make no mistake - they'll be happy tears. My decision to pursue another career path may be bittersweet but it's so necessary and here's why.

When I started working in television, the relationship between news and social media was still new and barely existent. Myspace was still a thing and poke wars were still raging on Facebook. I hadn't even heard of Twitter yet. Viewers actually commented on web articles instead of just reading a headline on social media and jumping to conclusions in the post comments. Viewers were content waiting until the evening news to learn what happened that day. In other words, the local news cycle wasn't 24/7. That was 2009.

Fast forward to 2018 and everything I just wrote is no longer relevant. Viewers no longer differentiate between national and local media. They expect their local news sources to follow the same 24/7 news cycle of CNN. They want their news as it happens, and local news has been adapting to that demand.

At first the bigger time commitment was no big deal, but then I got married and had a baby. More and more I felt like I was having to choose between news or spending time with the most important people in my life. Even worse, it began to feel as if I was expected to put my family aside time and time again for the sake of news. That demand on my time had even crept into my weekends, stealing the two of the four whole days I had with my husband and daughter every month.


I will be the first to tell you: news is not for the faint of heart or for the person who can't commit. But I never imagined my job as a producer, or even as executive producer, would turn into a 24/7 commitment in which I was expected to constantly be on. The constant battle of feeling like I was letting down coworkers or bosses by making my family my top priority became my biggest stressor.

As I said in my post about leaving TV news, I wasn't looking for a new job, but when I accepted that I no longer wanted to pursue this path and that a new opportunity was possible, it was as if a giant weight lifted from my shoulders. When the job offer came I felt more joy and excitement than I've felt over employment in a long time. And that was when I knew my course with TV news was drawing to a close.

This will be the first time in my life that I've taken a risk this big - leaving a sure thing for something that may fail. But you know what they say: you miss 100 percent of the shots you don't take.

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2 comments

  1. Hi, Ashton!

    You and I have known each other practically the entire duration of your television career. The pictures you shared in part 1 of this farewell announcement brought back memories for me as well as for you. Like your coworkers I was shocked to learn that you are exiting TV news. It seemed you never would. It seemed like news was in your blood, that you were ideally suited for your roles as producer and executive producer. However it is easy for me to understands your rationale for leaving. Even in the horse and buggy days of local TV news, the start of the 70s to the mid 80s, the span of years during which I practiced the same craft, the job could consume you if you let it. I saw many around me who were married to their jobs more so than to their spouses. I felt guilty and ashamed leaving the building at the end of the shift and going home while others lingered to talk shop and lay plans for the next day's coverage. Some were willing to give their all to the job. I was never willing to do that. I wanted balance. I wanted a life. In the mid 80s when I was given the opportunity to make a switch from TV news to entertainment I jumped. Your new career sounds interesting, challenging and exciting, Asthon. I am very happy for you. Your husband and little girl will surely benefit from the change you are making. You are wise and principled and I applaud you for having the courage to doing the right thing at the right time for the sake of your family and your own well being. I wish you great happiness and success and hope you will continue to blog and continue to stay connected with me.

    Take care, dear friend Ashton!

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    1. Thank you, Shady! I'll be able to talk more about what I'll actually be doing next week, but one of the best parts about this new job is the schedule. So I definitely will not be absent from blogging. Instead, I hope to be able to post more regularly!

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