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My Dad Would Come be My “Photographer” for Protection


Living and working as an multimedia journalist in her hometown, Ariana Pyper Tamayo says she was lucky to have support nearby. “My dad would come be, like, a photographer for me. And it wasn't even like he would touch the gear, like it was just for protection because they're sending me somewhere at night… I don't know if it was allowed, but I didn't care.”


Ariana has been out of the industry for just under a year, but says that she still feels the effect of trauma from the job. “I have brain fog,” she says. In reflecting on her time in the industry, Ariana still feels anger around the lack of pay and disregard by management for reporter safety. Of the news industry, Ariana says, ”They need properly staffed newsrooms… if you want your reporters to feel supported, like you just need to give them a photographer, this whole MMJ thing's a scam, in my opinion, to cut costs.”


Today, Ariana works in sales and is enjoying newlywed life. She’s researching therapy and therapists to work through the trauma and stress left from her time as a multimedia journalist, and is finally finding time to build new hobbies.


Listen to the episode here:


Transcript


Ariana Pyper Tamayo

I lived in my hometown. My dad would come be, like, a photographer for me. And it wasn't even like he would touch the gear. Like it was just for protection.


Ariana Piper reporting live on mental health.


Molly Casey

What inspired you to start a career in journalism?


Ariana

Yes. So I would say it kind of went back to high school. I was on like our morning announcements, so I really enjoyed doing that. It was like junior senior year. I would interview other students and just school in the hallways and then we'd edit like some videos and put things together. So I really got to touch into that creative side and I thought to myself, Oh, I think news might be a good way to kind of be able to do that.


Looking back now, I think although I was interested in the news, I was more interested in, like, creativity, making fun videos, things like that. But I don't think I really understood that at the time, if that makes sense. But I was still interested in news and I really wanted to be an anchor, so that was the original goal.


Then I went into college and I got - I went to Utah State and my degree was in broadcast journalism. And so I did all of those classes. There is like, I can expand on this more later. But there was this intense college class senior year that was called news casting. And so I did that class and then I graduated during the pandemic.


So that was rough, to say the least. So I didn't really know what I was going to do or where I was going to go. And so I ended up taking a news reporting job in my hometown in Boise, Idaho. Did that for two years and then got burned out. And then here I am now. So it was, you know, pretty I guess I don't know how many years that was now, but it started back in high school.


And even when I was younger, I would make little videos on my iPod Nano with my friend and I would do, like, news reporting segments or just make fun videos. I've always been interested in that… that realm for years.


Molly Casey

When you took that first job and you graduated, like you said, during the pandemic, which Oh my Lord, well, what do you wish you knew before you took that first job in news?


Ariana Pyper Tamayo

I think I wish I understood the pay a little bit more because I'm sure all of us, when we're 18 years old, we don't really understand like you really will not be paid much and it's going to be difficult. Luckily for me, I lived at home that first year. That really saved me. But a lot of people don't have that cushion or something to fall back on.


So I think I wish I really understood how you will be starting super low. Also, in my college program, I was trained to be a multimedia journalist or MJ. I think people call it different names. Like, I don't know, I think there's like multi-skilled journalists. So I was, like, aware that I would be filming everything, writing everything, editing everything, doing all of this on my own.


But my professor was like, Oh, you'll always have a photographer for live shots, because he was, I guess, a little bit old school. And so I thought, okay, well, at least I'll have some help or some interaction with my news team. But then when I started my job, I was shocked at how much I was on my own.


And it was a lot. You know, it's pretty stressful. And I - growing up, I always envisioned the whole news team pulling up in the van and you had your producer, your photographer, and I loved the team aspect and so I didn't realize how solo. I mean, it's not every - every position's different, but at least for mine, the multimedia journalist, I didn't realize how I'd be put in some uncomfortable situations by myself, some slightly dangerous situations.


So I think I wish I knew that going into it. Also, I wish I understood the kind of prepared mentally for some of the situations I'd be covering as well. I and not very good at separating myself from really sad or scary news stories. It really got to me. And so I think I wish I understood it's not going to be easy to cover a lot of the things we'd be asked to cover.


Molly Casey

You touch on. It's hard to separate and, you know, it's- it's really personal at times. The things that you cover because you do become part of the city or cities that you're in. Tell me about how your two years in news or even before that, how that wore on your mental health.


Ariana Pyper Tamayo

Yeah, I think oh, my gosh, I'm trying to remember where it started. So I would say in college, you know, you're just- you're covering just stories around campus. So it's pretty light hearted. The most stressful thing about, I think for me, what was even harder on my mental health was just the pressure and the criticism. And so in college, our professors, I learned a lot.


But we did this for our critique once a week. It was like a four hour class every day where they would pick apart every single thing we did wrong in front of our classmates. And so I think that started like that anxiety and pressure there being like, This doesn't look good. This isn't good. You won't get in a good market with this.


And I think they thought like they were helping prepare us, but it was, like, stressful. There was only ten of us in that senior class. It was really intense. So I think I went into my first job really anxious already, just like, Oh my gosh, a lot of pressure on myself. And then our newsroom, you know, it was like I said, I was pretty independent.


So I think I didn't expect to feel- I felt so alone sometimes. But beyond like a story. And I'm like, oh, my gosh, like, no one's picking up the phone. I'm out here like, I remember I just got a little bit of training on our camera in the station that had to go through a story. So I feel like it was a lot of just throwing myself out there.


And so I think that that was wearing on my mental health is just feeling not supported or feeling a lot of pressure or feeling like I wasn't doing good enough in my job. And then I think the sad stories, the depressing stories, even national stories that we weren't covering directly in so negative, like, news. Yeah, we have some feel-good stories, but it feels like the general thing with news is always almost catastrophizing everything. Or I felt like they were. Or at least my news station. We were always trying to kind of- I don't know if they did this on purpose, but it felt like we were making something's a bigger deal than they were. Right? Just like, really dig in there, make- make this a story. And in my head, I'm like, why are we digging into this or making this something that it's not? And so I think that would bother me too. It just felt like I or I didn't like the feeling of invading people's privacy or, oh, someone this person passed away, go knock on their door, get an interview. And I'm like, I don't feel comfortable. So I think little things like that build up over time to the point where I was like, Why am I doing this? I don't even feel like I am doing real journalism sometimes. It just felt like, you know, you go to each press release and you're just kind of, I don't know. There's just so I'm sure, as you know, there's so many layers to it and little things chip away at your mental health over time. And if you didn't know, I didn't know how to maintain it.


And so I think it just deteriorated or whatever that word is. But yeah, by the end of that contract, I was like, I have to take a break and I'm still recovering. It's been about six months out and I'm doing a remote sales job, which has been, like, good, but I think I'm still so burned out that I don't know where I want to go from here or what I want to do. And it's kind of scary to be so kind of numb to everything that you still are like in this limbo. So, yeah, I don't know. I kind of jumped around with that question. Hopefully it makes sense.


Molly Casey

But no, it made a ton of sense. And you talk about going numb when you come out or when you came out of the industry, did you almost feel like you lost part of your identity or lost your identity when you chose to leave?


Ariana Pyper Tamayo

Yes. Yes. That is so huge. And I'm glad I'm not the only one because I went on various Facebook groups of journalists and they're all saying the same thing because in the news, the way it's it's I don't know how we all do this, but we all kind of associate our identities with it. And same with me getting into it and being like, this is my career path since high school. This is what I'm good at. And then once I was gone, I thought, okay, what are my talents? What am I even good at? I made my career, my whole personality, that I didn't have a lot of other hobbies. And so- and I always thought, oh, I'm going to be on TV. And it made my parents so proud. And all your family and friends and everyone's always hyping you up how cool it is. And so then also you go from saying you're on TV to saying, Oh, I'm doing this remote sales job, you know, it's good. It's just such a different thing. And so I definitely struggled with the identity thing as well. And on top of that, I got married six months ago, which has been amazing. But that also kind of changes your identity too. So I think I'm in this weird, like, where do I fit? I'm a wife now, but I have no- I need to figure out my career too. I'm still young and so I think yeah, that… that's been I'm still struggling with that and I don't know if it's going to take years or how long it's going to take, but definitely still struggling with that sense of self.


Molly Casey

I started in, like, news in high school as well. I was our- our weekly news anchor, so I- it was like a 20 minute long show. So I was kind of proud of myself when I look back and I'm like, I produced.


Ariana Pyper Tamayo

In high school. That's amazing.


Molly Casey

Yeah, I know. I didn't know what I was doing at the time. I didn't, like, I didn't put together like how producing in high school or, you know, compared to like an actual, like news show. And then now looking back, I'm like, oh, I actually produced an entire show. Yeah, but you, you talk about how you're kind of looking for kind of your sense of self and trying to put back the pieces of maybe your mental health or trying to heal your mental health while you were in your newsroom or newsrooms. Was mental health ever discussed? Hmm.


Ariana Pyper Tamayo

I would say it was, but it was one of those things where it felt like, yeah, take care of your mental health. But there wasn't really steps or examples of how to do. So… I will say my news director is really good about giving people time off because I know some newsrooms, it's like people would have someone pass away and they were like, You can't go to the funeral. Like we never had any of that. So I will applaud him in that way where he would- I took a lot of vacations. I actually felt like I got to go on more vacations when I worked in news than I do now in my current job. So I will say he was really good about that. And that helped me when I would have family time or have vacations to look forward to because my last year news was the year getting married. So I had the bachelorette party, the honeymoon, the wedding, and they were really, really nice about that. So that made a huge difference. But I think, you know, they had good intentions, but just like every a lot of newsrooms in America right now, they're understaffed, they're underfunded. And ever since I've been there, we've been understaffed. I think the two years that I was there, we lost like over 20 employees and didn't fully replenish it like we would maybe I- maybe replenish like half of it. But if you think about it, that's like a lot of people missing. And so for me, I ended up doing a lot of jobs. So, I was the multimedia journalist Monday through Wednesday. I had Thursday, Friday off and then I worked weekends for two years straight. And that's also hard too. And on the weekends I was the- I started out as the digital web producer site, which I actually really enjoyed. So I would do our station's website and social media. So I really enjoyed that aspect. But then this opportunity came up to also become like the weekend anchor. And I also did weather, so I did all of these jobs. But of course there wasn't a raise with it. It was the same. No, it was the same pay. And they always kind of frame it as, Oh, it's an opportunity, like take this opportunity. So I did and I enjoyed it, but at the same time it was like so much work, right? Like I was like, I'm kind of doing a lot here and so I think, yeah, they would discuss mental health, but then, you know, your schedules are being thrown around so much, you're working weekends and you're kind of like and I remember I asked for a raise the first year and after the first year, and they're like, it's not in the budget. And I was like, okay. So I think it was- I was kind of used to feeling a little undervalued, a little overworked. And again, I don't want to, like, trash my new station. I think they did the best they could, but I think it's just in the industry. They just don't know how to, like, properly treat employees. And yeah, so I think they tried, but it just didn't fully translate, if that makes sense.


Molly Casey

It absolutely does. And I think something that's really funny is I've heard it quite a few times. They did the best that they could. But when you look, when I kind of looked back at my own career and then also as I've talked with other individuals, they kind of they maybe did. But at the same time, if you look at the budgets that new stations get and what they actually make an income every year, they have the ability to give a raise. And I remember one of the women I talked to said she was really proud when she got herself a 25 cent raise, $0.25. Oh, that's like maybe $400 if that. Yeah, maybe $200. I have two communications degrees, not math. So yeah, but it blows my mind that they tell us that or we kind of get the sense that they're doing the best that they can. But then you actually look at the revenue later on because that's something I don't think I ever thought to even look at. While I was- what revenue are they- are we bringing in? What do we earn from the advertising that we do? And when you look at it, you're like, oh, your station is making like $700,000 in revenue and that's after paying all of our employees. Oh, cool. I can't get it to dollar rates.


Ariana Pyper Tamayo

See, I never looked at it and I'm going to. I'm curious because I think, like you said, we all kind of get used to like the abuse, right? Because it's so and so I think I was accepting less than what I deserve because I didn't know any better. Right. And so I think that's something it's just like you just so I go, I guess this is what it is. And I have really good friends who are still, you know, in the news. And I just kind of see what they're going through. And it's- they just accept it, right? They’re like, oh, it's fine. But we really do In those roles, people might think, Oh, you're just on camera, but you we really do work hard and do a lot of work and do a lot of things by ourselves. It's all independent and we do deserve to be compensated properly, especially with the economy that we're in. And I don't know, it's just like they're- they're behind at the times so behind.


Molly Casey

And you mentioned that maybe mental health was brought up a little bit or you were given good vacation time, which is rare, to be honest. Yes. When you look at, you know, maybe the few discussions that were had about mental health, were your employee assistance programs ever brought up in terms of like, oh, you have five or seven, you know, paid sessions with a counselor that we choose for you. Was that ever something that was made, like blatantly aware? Or was it kind of like a hush hush, like it's stuck on the employee board in the lunchroom, good luck finding it kind of thing?


Ariana Pyper Tamayo

Yeah, they- I remember they would send out emails of like the employee assistance program, like, oh, go check it out. Like get help if you need it. But it was never like they really went deep into it. Like, here's what you can do. Here are the different options for you. It was more like, Oh, just go check it out. You know, take care of yourselves. You can talk to us. But then it felt like you can't really talk to them because I was with my management. It felt like when I would talk to them, it felt like they were just kind of like, Oh, okay, I don't know how to say this because it's- I'm sure you run into this when interviewing people. They don't want to sound bad. They're trying to be like, oh, I'm trying to be professional about it. But I just remember I felt very unheard and it was a lot of, I don't want to say straight up gaslighting, but there was a lot of, Oh no, it's not that big of a deal. You got it. Fine. Yeah, we'll look into it and then nothing would change, right? And I think that was my biggest thing is whenever I brought up concerns, I if they would have just validated it or I would have seen that there was some effort put towards my concerns, that would have made a huge difference. But I felt like, oh, something, no matter what I say, things just stay the same here. I'd even have ideas of how to improve things for reporters or Hey, we should come up with this or reporter manual to kind of help incoming images. Because I was- I remember when I started there, I didn't know what I was doing and it feels like I had good training or direction inside pitching all that. And it felt like they were just like, okay. And then nothing happened. And so the lack of follow through made me feel like I wasn't a valued employee. And so a lot of placating. Yeah, yeah. And it just felt like they were being fake with me. And I am the type of person, if someone's not being, like, 100% genuine or real with me, like I can't deal with it like it's like, no.


Molly Casey

With that in mind, if you had had the opportunity to use employee assistance programs and maybe get those free mental health counseling sessions, is that something that you would have taken advantage of or were you kind of under the impression at all that in the news industry saying that you need help, were talking about your mental health, that you were you're weak or you weren't strong enough to do the job?


Ariana Pyper Tamayo

I would say that I should have tried to take advantage of it. And again, with my newsroom, I would say, you know, despite we had a lot of dysfunction. Right. But I do think, at least in our newsroom, no one would have judged me for that if I did say that. But I. I do think there were certain people, maybe, that I would have felt uncomfortable admitting that, too, but luckily had a good relationship with my fellow reporters and some of the producers. And I think they would have been really understanding about that. So- but I definitely think an industry wide as a whole, it would have been judged if that, especially with maybe some of the older anchors or people who've been around the business for a long time would have just been like, This is how it is, right? This is how we do things here. But yeah, for our newsroom, it was mainly- there's just a lot of hidden negativity where we all complained to each other about, Oh, things are horrible. So I just feel like, yeah, it was just we were all in this limbo of not really taking care of ourselves or doing anything about it. And I think it was almost like we were too far gone to make positive changes. Does that make sense? Like just to, like, smile? We're all whatever we're just going to suffer through. But I do wish I maybe took advantage of some of that. I even paid for counseling. I did, you know, how to counsel for a year, but we just didn't really connect super well. It wasn't a good fit, so that helped a little bit. But yeah, it was. I'm still trying to see if maybe there's a good therapist. I could find that kind of talk through some of those things because I think if I would have found someone that was like a really good fit, that would have helped a lot to have someone to talk through all of that instead of just internalizing it or, you know, being negative with my coworkers.


Molly Casey

When you look back at maybe when you did have to go cover those really sad stories or the really scary ones, and then you kind of just had to go home and figure out how to process it yourself. Were you ever, like, afraid to be on your own with your thoughts or just in general because of what you had seen and what you would experience?


Ariana Pyper Tamayo

Yeah, I would say there were moments that I was… I think more than anything, for me it would just created a lot of- I was just resentful and angry. And it was, I think for my family, it was hard to be around me sometimes, at least for my husband. He would say that I would come home from work and just be very like, I don't want to talk, I don't want to interact, and just very kind of isolated. And he was so sad because he knew I was miserable and he didn't know how to help me. So I think for me more than anything, it was just a lot of resentment. And I kind of was like, you almost get in a spiral of like, Oh, I have to finish this because I told myself I have to finish this contract. But I knew it wasn't a good situation for me, but I was a total I felt like victimizing myself over and over again. Like, just like I'm stuck here. I can't do anything about my situation. I have to cover these sad news stories. And so I would say luckily it was like I said, it was for me, it was the news stories that were hard to cover. But if anything, it was just the work environment that really was rough on me more than anything, where I felt stuck in this work environment and this constant loop of kind of just some toxic dysfunction that was even harder on me.


Molly Casey

Yeah, which makes total sense because that's really an industry wide issue, is just the amount of toxicity that floats around in the newsroom. And I know a lot of people talk about whatever industry they're in. There's toxicity and I'm sure there is.


Ariana Pyper Tamayo

Oh, yeah, yeah.


Molly Casey

But the toxicity that exists in a newsroom is a whole different level of petty and gaslighting and just, you know, you just have to do it. I it's really hard to explain to somebody that's not in the industry what you end up feeling like when you're in news or when you leave news because you're made to feel like that's all you're good for, but you're not good enough to get paid enough or treated well or, you know, seem like a human.


Ariana Pyper Tamayo

Yes, exactly. Exactly. And like, I think it's so important that you have that you're putting together these stories. Like, I'm really excited to hear all these other ones just because I felt like there's a lot of news people that kind of put on a front, right? So you're following their pages and they look so beautiful all the time and they look so happy and you're kind of like- and they just keep thriving. They keep moving up each market and you think to yourself, Wow, why was I? I still beat myself up, which I shouldn't. But I'm like, Oh, I'm not strong enough to move through this industry or to move to a different market or I- something's wrong with me because I don't want to move to a new city every few years and, you know, start over. I don't know, like that was just hard and a lot of times when you would talk to people in the newsroom, I have some people that were vulnerable with me, but a lot of people weren't. And so you just felt like, am I crazy? Like, why is one being open about this? And I don't know too, from other people you've interviewed, if you've had them. I feel like I've forgotten a lot of my experiences. Like I am trying to recall what I covered and I'm like, I don't really remember a lot of it. Like, I feel like I'm blocking stuff out.


Molly Casey

It's full on trauma brain, like you're- it's your body, like disassociating. Those are those- those incidences from you to insulate you from what you did or just because you were so traumatized during that time. You were so stressed out, you were so anxious, you maybe had depression that was underlying that brain fog. Your- your neurons were connecting and still.


Ariana Pyper Tamayo

I have brain fog. It's still there.


Molly Casey

It's a whole thing. But like with looking at your career, what advice would you give someone that was looking to get into the journalism industry, or maybe is in the journalism industry and is currently in the same shoes that you were in?


Ariana Pyper Tamayo

I think research what station you're going to. I think, unfortunately, I don't know how much. There's not a lot. I know they have, like, rate my station but I don’t know if its working anymore, but what I wish I would have done is, like, message journalists that work there and ask them how it is. I had actually a few people do that to me and I was very honest with them and kind of try to give them, like, a heads up of the good and the negative and research what stations are going into. I also think going in, negotiate your salary. I didn't know to do that. I just took what they gave me. And I actually had a friend who's at the same, you know, the station that I was at. And she's like, Oh, well, I told them this is how much I want. And then they matched it with me or whatever, and I thought I didn't even do that. So she made more than I did. And so I think, Oh, I wish I knew to go in and be like, This is what I want and kind of put it out there and like, you know, say this is what you're worth kind of thing. Like, Hey, you need to pay me. And even if it's a little bit lower, like you're still going to get more than if you just accept what they gave you the first time. And then I think people need to go in with the mindset that you're not stuck, right? Because like, I was like, I'm in this contract, I'm stuck, I can't break it. I feel like personally, they're not going to go after people most of the time for breaking a contract, right? Like, so I think just go in with that mindset, like you're never going to be stuck somewhere like you can leave if you need to.


I also think it's important people also go into journalism for the right reason, because I would say I'm not going for the right reason, but I don't think I had the fire in me enough as well to really, like, make it worth it. If that makes you like this is not worth it to me and I have colleagues that it is worth it to them. And so I think maybe really evaluate like, is this truly something that I want to do or I just want to be on TV or do I just want to be a content creator? Because there's other ways to do that without going into the news. Because when you're in the news, like, it's just it's a whole other ballpark. So I would say, you know, really be like, Do I want to do this? Because it's not just a casual job where, you know, you just show up, go on TV like you're doing all the work. You have to be well versed in what's going on in your community and you have to really love it, I think, to make it sometimes or I don't know. But again, that could just be my like trauma brain talking. I don't know.


Molly Casey

No, it's true. It's if you don't go do it for the right reasons, it's one, going to be a whole lot harder. And two, you're going to get jaded a whole lot quicker. And three, you're probably going to get pushed out.


Ariana Pyper Tamayo

Yeah, I got jaded fast and I thought I felt like I was like, Am I the only one seeing this going on? Like, it just drove me nuts cause I was like, I feel like I'm the only one who's calling things out or saying, Why are we okay with this? And just and everyone was too scared to speak up. And so that was just so frustrating for me.


Molly Casey

What changes do you think need to be made in the industry to support the mental health of journalists and to make journalism an actual long standing career?


Ariana Pyper Tamayo

It's so it's tricky because I do think the journalism that we know is kind of changing, and you can say dying because everything's going digital. So I think they really need to change with the times and readjust to everything. Being online and kind of social media, utilize that more and kind of stop being so like we have to do it this way and blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, because that's just not the world we live in. And I think, you know, if- they need properly staffed newsrooms. I don't know how I don't know how they change that, how they fix that. But if you want your reporters to feel supported, like you just need to give them a photographer, this whole MJ thing's a scam, in my opinion, to cut costs. But so I think what we can do is just not take those jobs, right? Like, I don't know how else to make a point. Like, we're not going to be images anymore, but that's like a whole revolution needs to happen. But I just think that my job is that it's not a good job. You do so many. It's like you're doing all this work for one, like a pay for one person. And I think if I would have had a videographer consistently, I actually think I would have stayed or liked it longer because the days I did, I was with a photographer, it did relieve so much stress because I could focus on writing my story and actually being a good interviewer instead of trying to like, look at my camera to make sure it looks good and interview someone. Like with my ADHD. It was so overwhelming to have to, like, multitask, have all these things I had to do by myself and I was like when I was a photographer, I was a much better reporter. So I think these newsrooms cutting costs, cutting positions, I just yeah, there's just so much that needs to change and I'm just worried it won't change. And that's why I left because I was like, I'm not seeing any changes even in huge, like, big LA markets. I feel like the old days now.


Molly Casey

Yeah, I when I was working at ABC7 in Los Angeles, there was a woman that had been a reporter for ABC7 for I think at that point it was 15 years and they were training her to be an MJJ and she hated it, obviously. And her packages- the quality dropped immensely, right? Well they're like, Oh, well, we can't hire on any more photogs. Like, you’re ABC7, you are run by Disney, you have plenty of money like and that was you're.


Ariana Pyper Tamayo

I feel like it’s not about quality anymore. Like you said, I don't think they care.


Molly Casey

No! They just- we are losing… what I've discovered is we are Swiss army knives and we're paid like plastic forks. That's what it is.


Ariana Pyper Tamayo

Well it got to the point where my especially my first year when I was starting out so I lived at large at home. Right. Or lived in my hometown. My dad would come be, like, a photographer for me. And it wasn't even like he would touch the gear, like it was just for protection because they're sending me somewhere at night and my dad be like, I'm no one's with you. Like, I'll go stand with you and be your photographer. And people would think he was, like, the photographer or something. They're like, Who is this guy? And I call him Dad. They'd be like, Wait, you brought your dad? Which I don't know if it was aloud, but I didn't care. Like, I know. Yeah, but like, I that saved me too, because there's so many times where I be, like, I don't feel very comfortable, like, And my dad would be like, who gets that? Like, most people wouldn't have that privilege. But I just think as a woman, going to be an MJJ, like, it's not safe. Like, I just remember how stressful it is to be, like, dealing with people worried about the gear, worried about sending stuff. Just always- I was always on guard. Like what weird men are around. Like I feel uncomfortable and like, that is just an added level of stress. And they would say, Oh, let us know if you feel uncomfortable. And I'm like, What are you going to do? You're not going to do anything now. Like, I don't know, it was just rough.


Molly Casey

And on top of that, you can never turn it off either. Like you can go home, but you're still probably on edge from having been out at night with your own gear and nobody else. And you maybe just cover Scary story. Yeah, You're going home, You're not feeling safe. You're stuck with your own thoughts. What are you supposed to do? But you can't turn off.


Ariana Pyper Tamayo

And like you said too, and you said you were alone at your station a lot like I was, too. On the weekends there would be times where I was the only one in the newsroom. So I would get there to do the web stuff. And there's probably maybe four of us on the weekends. Like it was really, really small. And that was the worst because I felt like that's when the dark negative thoughts would come in, because I'm sitting there in this dark room in our basement area in the weather studio, and I was like, I like all my friends are out or my family are out. And I was like, I feel so disconnected right now. It was hard on my husband because he moved here to be with me and I worked every weekend and so he was alone a lot and I was just like, this is not- I don't want to live like this. Like it's already hard enough doing the 9 to 5, right? But working weekends, I was like, what am I doing?


Molly Casey

Oh yeah, because we can take hours that nobody wants to work. Like I feel it's- I feel for EMTs and nurses because they go through a lot.


Ariana Pyper Tamayo

Of the same thing.


Molly Casey

Yeah, but nobody thinks to look at a news reporter and think, oh, they have to go through a lot of the same stuff that, you know, our first responders do and something called journalists visual First responders. And I was like, that’s.


Ariana Pyper Tamayo

Oh yeah, that's so true. And it's just sad to see my, like my drive deteriorate, too, because by- I think that's the other thing I noticed, too, in at least our newsroom is because everyone is stretched so thin, we weren't doing the best reporting we could do. Yeah, you know, people call us out on the Facebook comments and in my head I just want to comment back like, yeah, I probably didn't fully do my best on the stories I'm freaking telling and how many resources and I had to do this in a couple hours. Like the day turns I also don't agree with because I don't feel really unless it's like a parade or something like you're covering a fun event? Sure. But a lot of the stories they wanted us to do an investigative type of story in a day or maybe two maybe. And I'm thinking this is going to look uneducated, uninformed, because I- there's just no way you can put all that together and time. And I think I resented that, too, because I felt like the work I was putting out wasn't my best work. And so then that made me feel bad. And then people don't face calls out like, this is bad reporting. And you're like, Yeah, kind of is. So by the end of the second year, I was really phoning it in and I was like, I don't care anymore. And I was so sad that I got to that point.



Molly Casey

Is there anything that I didn't ask you or that you didn't get to say that you think is important or that you would want to.


Ariana Pyper Tamayo

I think it's important to advocate for yourself in newsrooms if you're still in there and stand up for yourself or when things are unsafe or not right or something makes you feel uncomfortable. Like it's important to say, you know, stand up for yourself. Even if people aren't receptive to it, at least you'll feel better knowing like, Hey, I called this out, I, you know, vouched for myself in the situation. I think also it's important to get that support that you need if you do leave a news or, you know, even while you're news just to make you me to start doing the work now to not make your identity, which I still need to do, I'm like giving advice, like I should take this. But I think it's important to do that right, to do the work. Like, okay, I'm more than just news because then it's going to be easier to leave. You're not going to feel like, well, what else am I going to do? Or kind of gaslight yourself into saying if it's not right for you? Yes. Yeah. Like it's just so important to do that. So I'm still working on that now. But also I think to tell yourself you're not stuck in there are other options and you have a lot of skills and there are other jobs out there for you and you're not pigeonholed into this one career. I think a lot of people stay because they think, What else am I going to do? You know, because this is what I went to school for. But there's- I got a sales job with a journalism degree. Like that's kind of not really correlated. And I thought, okay, well, if I can do that, I could do other jobs like so I think realizing that is important to.


Molly Casey

Ten out of ten. Yes. Like I didn't think I could work for anything else. And I think a lot of people underestimate how valuable their skills are, because most companies don't can't hire a videographer. They can't hire that can write articles online. They can't hire somebody that can edit audio. But if you can do that and you can make, you know, press releases or media pitches, you are gold.


Ariana Pyper Tamayo

Yes. And I think I'm still like, you know, I think it's important to invest in someone to help with resumes because I think we've got on- those Facebook groups are good to utilize too. I really love like TV to Women and TV to PR or you know, what is it, M.J.Jane Just because that's like a community you can lean on or also, I'm thinking about getting help with my resume from one of the girls in those groups just because they know how to market your skills that you have to employers like, Hey, I can do this job. You know, I'm a journalist because I think it is hard sometimes now. Okay, So if I write that I know how to write stories, video, they might be like, how does that apply? And so I'm even thinking about utilizing those resources for future jobs. Still, just to know how to like your skills will translate. You just need to write it a certain way or kind of market it a certain way, but you still get hired.


Molly Casey

You just have to find a way to say those in a way that everyone else is writing them.


Ariana Pyper Tamayo

Like they won't know what this is. I need to reword that. Like you're going to be like, Okay, So yeah, I just I don't know, man. There's just so much I could say, but I'm really glad you're doing this series. I'm excited to see it. Thank you so much. I appreciate it for giving me the opportunity. It's like healing to talk about it, so I really appreciate you giving journalists this platform to speak about their stories.


Ariana Piper reporting live on mental health.


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