What I’ve learned about work-life balance

Work life balance4

By Kara Meyberg Guzman, Santa Cruz Local CEO/Co-founder – one of a four-part series to give readers an inside look at Santa Cruz Local’s newsroom.

For many of us in Santa Cruz County, 2020 was an overwhelming year. With the pandemic, the CZU Lightning Complex Fire and two huge local elections — I kept waiting for my life and the news to naturally slow down. They didn’t.

In the summer of 2021, I felt close to burnout. I worked most weekends and sometimes spent 12 hours at my desk. I was often too busy to eat lunch or exercise. Others on our team struggled, sometimes missing family dinners and working late into the night.

In the news industry, teams often feel an overwhelming pressure to constantly publish — to “feed the beast” of what feels like an unceasing demand. Unfortunately, it’s common for journalists to work past the point of what’s healthy. It can be hard to remember that it doesn’t have to be this way.

I realized that to achieve work-life balance for myself and our team, I couldn’t wait for the world to slow down. I needed to create new policies, share workloads and set goals and accountability related to mental health. We found help from our Google News Initiative Startups Lab coach to formalize these changes.

Today, Santa Cruz Local is a news industry leader for healthy workplace policies and culture.

We’re fixing what’s broken in traditional legacy newsrooms. We not only produce high caliber local journalism that’s free, nonpartisan, nonprofit and bilingual. We’re also building an ethical, caring, humane workplace where employees can have long careers. Read more.


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