Arika Herron is an education reporter at The Indianapolis Star and a member of the Indianapolis Newspaper Guild. She’ll hit her one-year anniversary at The Star on May 15.
1) Why are you in the union?
This is my first union experience. I didn’t join right away, but when I saw everything the union did for the newsroom — like advocating for better working conditions and hosting fun events to boost morale — I joined to support those important efforts.
2) What could newsroom management do to be more friendly to journalists?
I know that many newsroom managers don’t have power to do the big stuff — better pay, benefits, hiring more people (which is all super important and would be great but is often out of the hands of editors) — but I actually think little stuff, like regularly recognizing employees for their hard work for a job well done, can go a long way. It takes little time and effort, but is always so appreciated.
3) What should they stop doing?
Newsrooms should stop abusing the mission-driven nature of its reporters, photographers, etc. Most people are in this business because they feel dedicated to the mission of journalism and it’s really easy to take advantage of that by not paying them what they deserve or encouraging them to work crazy hours without proper compensation for that time. That needs to stop.
4) Name one journalist who inspires you to do your job every day.
5) What is one piece of career advice you’d give to a young journalist just starting out?
Be honest, unmerciful and don’t work for free.