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"You Can't Leave News"



"I was absolutely miserable. And my therapist encouraged me, like, it sounds like you need to take a sabbatical. And I was like, you can’t leave news.”

As a 10-year industry vet, Jasmine Styles has lived the highs and lows of the news industry. Styles started at a station in Columbia, South Carolina, where she made less per paycheck than would cover her rent and, looking back, says he was experiencing depression. Far from family and barely making ends meet, Styles was struggling.


Her third station landed her in Tampa, Florida, where she found herself working with a photog who had a track record of “taking things out on young people, people of color, and women, and I was all three.” It was in Tampa that Styles began learning how to stand up for herself in a newsroom and how to balance personal and professional life. This included finding a therapist to address her mental health concerns. While partly due to work, she credits a fight with her best friend as the way she identified her mental health and behaviors as being “off.”


When it was time to take the next step, she thought she was set to land a role in her dream market, only to be passed over. She says it was a blessing in disguise. Today, Styles is an evening news anchor in Cincinnati, Ohio. While she says she landed the “dream role,” an anchor with a 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. schedule, Styles found her mental health crumbling.


“I was absolutely miserable. And my therapist encouraged me, like, it sounds like you need to take a sabbatical. And I was like, you can’t leave news,” Styles said. Yet, after further consideration and discussing it with the station’s general manager, she applied for a sabbatical through the Family and Medical Leave Act, or FMLA. After evaluations with her therapist, psychologist, and approval from management, Styles was approved for two months off with partial pay. It was this time that Styles says is what kept her in the news industry.


Styles is adamant that everyone should take a sabbatical at some point during their career, maybe even twice. Yet, more than anything, she is passionate about journalists standing up for themselves in the news industry. Whether it be advocating for higher pay, better time off, better equipment, or a positive work environment, Styles doesn’t hold back when it comes to discussing the issues the news industry carries.


Listen to the first half of Jasmine’s no-holds-barred interview here:


Part two is coming soon!


Jasmine Styles:

My name is Jasminee Styles. I'm a TV business vet of ten years going on eleven. I think… yikes, and I am the evening anchor for WCPO9 in Cincinnati.

Molly Casey:

What inspired you to get into journalism?

Jasmine Styles:

That's always a fun question because I never knew I wanted to do journalism. I wanted to be a chemist. I remember, for a third-grade project I had my little science set and I wanted to be a chemist. But your girl is trash at math, so that wasn't going to happen. And, so it was funny because I went to Florida State. My mom went to Florida State, too. Um, and when we were at orientation, I was like, “I guess I’ll just do business, because like that's what people do?” And my mom is a former business major. So, we're in there and they're talking economics. They're talking accounting. I'm just like “it's a, it’s a no for me, dog. So, I like found the counselor and she was like, “you could always just be like undeclared.” And so I was like, I'm told my mom like I'm just going undeclared. She was like. “What does that mean? Like what? What are you going to do?” And was like “I don’t know I'll figure it out. I'm in college. I did the hard part. I just got to figure out what I’m going to do.” And so freshman year I got on campus and I was just study, study, study because I used to have so many extracurriculars in high school, but I just - you know, I'm new on campus. I don't know anything, and I'm like I'll just focus on my studies for now and find things to do. So Florida State actually owns a PBS station or they have some type of partnership with it. I don't know. I always say that, but that could be wrong. Um, and they sent up like a cattle call to basically do a glorified announcement called University Update. And I was like I used to do TV production in middle school, like that sounds fun. And so I answered the call. We had to do a research test first, Like to make sure you could fact find. And then if you pass the research test, that would bring you in for the whatever, and I mean not to toot my own horn or anything. But I did do like the book reports for like Orange County public schools, and I had already read a prompter by like third grade. So, I was like, you know, no big deal. I can do this and I went and did it and the lady was like, “Oh, my gosh, you were our last one and you are our best one.” And I was like, “Yeah, that’s great.” And she is a former like T V news person. So like I worked with her and she was just like, “I really think you should do this” and I'm like “Well, Florida State doesn't have a J school. So what do I do?” And she was like “Well, Actually FAMU does.” And Florida A&M university, which is a historically black college in Florida State are literally, we say, across the train tracks. It takes five minutes to get from one campus to the other, depending on where you are. So I signed up for classes there, and that's how I was able to do journalism and it just so happened that it worked out for me like I've always been a big English buff. I love reading. I love writing. Those are the like - standardized testing. I always scored the highest on, so I definitely had a love for English and words. I was always the girl who was the team leader who was like made to present. You know, so it made sense. I just didn't - I guess when I was younger, I just didn't think that that was like a job. Like You know, you've seen news people all the time. Some of these news people I watched are still in Orlando. But it didn't occur to me that I could be a news person. So ,it worked out.

Molly Casey:

When you first took your first journalism side - job outside of school. What do you wish you had known before you stepped into that role?

Jasmine Styles:

Oh my God, I wish I would have known... I don't think that we got the dose of how intense this field was until like late in the game like senior year. I feel like they need to have a very real conversation with the sophomores, because when- once you're a sophomore, you can qualify to communications, which then qualifies you to go to the co-op program. So I feel like they should’ve been like, “Look, you ain't gonna get Christmas. You ain't gonna get Thanksgiving, you're going to be poor.” Like run it down so that kids really understand what they're going to get. But that's like one of my big pet peeves with it - the Journalism industry. Especially in teaching. A lot of those teachers haven't stepped foot inside a newsroom in twenty, thirty, four years, if they were news people at all. And so I'm like you're telling me you know what - you know they were talking about. like, “Oh, I would be the janitor if I had to,” and I'm like that's the worst thing you could ever tell a - a person, because most TV people like our jobs like aren't gonna - like if you want to be a producer, you need to want to be a producer. You don't want to be a producer who's trying to be a reporter, because they might not take you seriously, or you'll just be sitting and waiting for a job that's never gonna come. So yeah, I just felt like I had no idea how hard it was going to be. Luckily, I wasn't super far from my family. I was in Columbia, South Carolina, and all my family was in Orlando, Florida. Still a seven-hour trip, but you know much more doable than like where I am now in Ohio. Um, so I feel like I wish I would have known how hard it was going to be because I was lonely. I was poor. I was um, you know, I guess I was probably lowkey, like homesick slash depressed. But of course, like you don't know that you're just thinking like this is how it is and you know I'm crying to - I call her my news mama. I'm crying to my news Mama like, “bro, I can't do this.” They would do breaking news and I would go hide in the bathroom. That's how scared I was at that point. Like, which is crazy now because if this is like breaking news I’m like, “ooh! Me! Let's go.” But I was so scared because I just didn't -I didn't feel like I knew enough from my schooling like because you can't get real world experience in the classroom you just can't like - nothing can duplicate the news experience. And just - even if you're in an internship, you just don't know until you're in it. And so I feel like I wish I would have done maybe a little bit more shadowing to really understand and get somebody who is going to give me the real-real on like what I was going to experience.

Molly Casey:

Talk about the challenges that came with that first market or even the first few markets. Heck, even now with how low the pay is. I remember, I freaked out every single month about how I was going to make rent, how I was going to buy groceries, how I was going to afford my healthcare, which was taken out of my paycheck already just the stresses and the mental stress that that leaves.

Jasmine Styles:

Yeah, so my first job like I said I was in Columbia, South Carolina, which I mean, versus now, had like a great cost of living, but I think my, if I can remember correctly… I think… did my mom go by herself? I think my mom went to South Carolina by herself to look at apartments. I don't think I was involved for whatever reason. And she picked an expensive apartment. It was like nine hundred dollars, which I would be glad to pay nine hundred dollars right now, but at the time I was making $26.5k. I was dirt poor. I was making eight hundred dollars every paycheck less than my rent. So, by the time it was time to pay rent, I… like where's the money going? And at that time I don't know why I was trying to be like Miss Independent, but I should have stayed on my parents insurance, because those were the Obama years and you could stay on your parents insurance until you were 26, so I still had like four more I could have stayed, but I just was like I’m going to step out on my own here, and that was stupid because that was more money getting taken out of my paycheck. South Carolina had - because I'm living in Florida my whole life and I've had like little part-time jobs, but you know you're not - you don't pay state tax. You pay state tax there, you pay federal taxes, and I got like a little refunds, but not much like it was - I mean, my check was teeny tiny, and then um, you know, you just don't have enough money to pay for food, and um fun, like when I wanted to - I think my mom knew that I was like suffering because I was never at things, and I'm like a very social person and like, I remember the one time Florida State made it to the ACC championship and like it was in Charlotte, which was only like an hour and a half, two hours from Columbia, and I was like, I really want to go, but I can't afford to ticket. I can't afford to travel. I can't afford the hotel, and my mom helped me so that I could go. I think she knew that, like I was in a bad position with money and also knew that like I was, I was missing friends like I don’t want so say like I didn't have like true friends there because like I had like very good people in my atmosphere, but I missed people I was familiar with and I think that was also a big cause of feeling sad. I was also going through a massive break up at the time, so that didn't do anything for me. I remember when he broke up with me, I went to my favorite pizza spot, I bought a whole medium pizza. There was also Publix and I am a fiend for Publix chocolate chip cookies. I bought a whole two dozen. I ate that whole pizza and half a box of cookies by myself. I was so sad. Thank goodness that didn't go through. That was the best thing that could have ever happened in my life. But I was such a sad little puppy in Columbia. I just - I really masked it well, but I was very sad.

Molly Casey:

Eating a whole pizza and half… That just sounds like it makes my stomach hurt like it sounds amazing to eat right now, but also…

Jasmine Styles:

It was - that was - that was before I was like lactose intolerant. That was super young, Jasmine, you know, like I was out here eating full blown pizza without a lactaid pill girl. Like, times have changed, times have really changed because I carry like pills in my purse, at work, in my car. I was like you're not going to catch me sleeping, but I'm not about to be sick out here. Those are the good old days.

Molly Casey:

Oh my god… *laughs* So, when you first got into journalism and you first thought you know about the career that you would have, did anyone ever tell you about what you would be facing when you were in the career? Whether it be trauma, harassment, any of that, and how it would affect your mental health?

Jasmine Styles:

No! Nobody ever told us that kind of stuff. Nobody ever told me that like I don't know. Maybe because - it sounds crazy, but I'm a normal person, you know? I see things on facebook that I think are all wrong, and instead of going back and forth, I just block them or I'll delete them as friends, or I see a comment and I'll screenshot it and send it to the group chat. But I'm not going to go back and forth with this person unless they're slandering me. But you know people just pop off and say dumb stuff and I'm just like, “that's stupid, like, what a loser.” But people really think that they own news people. They really think that their opinion matters. And I'm here to tell you breaking news, news flash, buddy, it doesn't like. Um, They will write about - now For me, I don't get clocked a whole, whole bunch because - I'm trying to say this nicely… I know what I'm doing. Like my hair - the hair was rough the first job because I was poor, but now that I have money my hair looks nice. I can do my makeup, like blah blah blah, but you know a lot of girls would get like, “Oh my God, what are you wearing?” I remember, one girl got a phone call, or no, it was an email. The emails get sent to the entire news room when they get sent to the desk. This man was saying that he would give her money for a nose job because her nose was so big. Like that kind of stuff.

Molly Casey:

Stop.

Jasmine Styles:

Yeah, I've only, it only has happened to me once, but they get male genital pics like in their DMs. I had a man come up to the news station at three in the morning, knocking on the door trying to see me. I had another man who would send me like ransom note love notes talking about how he wanted to have a baby with me. It gets really crazy and I feel like as a woman it's just like another drop in the bucket, because we all know how disgusting some men can be. Um, but it just gets amplified because you’re on people's TVs. and of course like dudes will be like, “Oh my God, you're so pretty.” I just - I don't even respond because I don't want to give them ammo to be like “Oh, can I talk to you” and like, I appreciate the compliment, but I'm just not going to like fuel it any further. But you know people are commenting on your hair when I've had braids like some people have been like, “Oh my God, take your braids out” and I'm like, “No.” Like - also I’m like here's my cash app.” If you really want me to change my hair, you can send me three hundred dollars for some new bundles and to get it done.” And like I am not you. You don't dictate what I do. My bosses are cool with it. You're going to have to deal with it. So I feel like, from a women's perspective, you get a lot, and just like seeing other women, you get a lot of just like misogynistic, patriarchal, sexual harassment like it's out of out of whack. And then, just for the stress. I mean my first job, low key, I was getting - what’s the word - taking advantage of. I was salaried working overtime. Like I was an MMJ. I would get out of there sometimes at like- I was day side, out of there sometimes at eight, nine o'clock, you know, and I'm like - I’m only - I should be getting extra pay for this. I wasn't getting overtime or anything. I tell my young bucks that, I’ll tell them like you need to be hourly if all you are is an MMJ, like hourly, also just a danger like one of my friends at the other stations at my first job was doing live shots in the morning by herself, and sometimes like dangerous territory. That's not cool. What else? Just like the back lash? Sometimes you get it from management. I think everyone knows that it's like a pressure cooker in the news room and it's - it gets really stressful and people curse and get upset and that's cool like. I feel like if you can get upset at the situation and not the person, it's cool. Like if you're mad like dang, this live shot failed on me. Crap. Oh my God, we got to hurry up and do something. and like you know, the directors are feeling pushed and pulled, and like I get that, it's a high stakes situation, but you know, sometimes people take that overboard and they take it out on you. For example, my job in Tampa. I loved that job. I first got in there. I was - it was my first day out on my own, without shadowing anybody, I got paired with this photog and I was in - basically they told me, they were like - because I never worked mornings before, they were like mornings is a race, you gotta like go go go because we had a four thirty show and we get in at three. So, basically you got to be writing while you’re driving. So, I was writing and I wasn't really paying attention to him, so I turned I, I'm so sorry. I've been really quiet. I'm just really trying to get the script together, so I apologize if I haven’t - it was a long drive, so I was like I'm so sorry that I haven't been talking to you. I don't want you to think I'm ignoring you and he's just kind of like, “Okay.” So, I'm like, “okay, whatever.” And so I send the VOSOT and he was like, “so, what am I using?” And I'm like “well…” because it was just easy video. It was about a girl who had unfortunately passed away in a car accident at this kind of dangerous intersection and I was like, you know, “crash video like nothing too crazy. Maybe just use small bits of the car on the ground and the memorial. Stuff like that.” And I was like, “but I trust your judgment.” I'm not a micromanager at all. So, I let the photog know, I said, “It's whatever your judgment is. I'm cool with whatever you do.” And he just snaps and was like, “I need you to tell me what to do!” I'm like *eyes get big* “Well, who spit in your bean curd this morning because that's like a lot right now.” And I was like, “Okay…” And then we were told, “Hey, you need a film a little social video for your Twitter, like a wrap up of what you reported on.” So, I'm like, “Hey, can you record me?” I didn't want to do it in selfie mode. I was like “can you record me at the memorial site?” He just was like rolling his eyes and blah, blah, blah. And it just kept getting worse and worse and worse and worse. Now looking back on it, I totally think he was depressed or like something was going on in his life, and he was just taking it out on me. But he had a trend of taking things out on young people, people of color, and women, and I was all three. So yeah, I was like… I don't know. Like I remember one time he cussed me out at- at - a scene because I asked him to unlock it several times and he wasn't paying attention to me. So when I tried to open the van, the alarm went off for the car and he was like *grouchy noises.* And I'm like, “bro, I asked you. You're not talking to me. Blah blah blah.” We had a whole blow up in the newsroom one day because he forgot something integral to a photog’s job. I can't even remember what it was. but like I literally had to go to HR, and like I'm not working with him, Because when I get up in the morning, this is a crappy shift anyways, anyways, and the fact that I'm dreading working with him in the morning, that shouldn't be like that. And so we ended up like, and I just got there. I was like, let me use this new girl crap to my advantage, and we ended up never working together in my whole four years after that because I was like I can't deal with this anymore. By then I was. I'm at that point I'm third, twenty nine, twenty, eight. So I had a lot more courage about me. Like twenty two year old Jasmine would have never done that, but twenty eight, twenty nine year old Jasmine was ready to go to war for peace and understanding in her work place.

Molly Casey:

Were you ever told you had employee assistance programs that would give you a set number of counseling services that were paid for by the company to help you through situations whether it be a trauma that you had experienced or seen on a scene or workplace stress. Were you ever told about those services,

Jasmine Styles:

I don't really remember much from my first job. I was there for three years. I don't remember much from my second job. I was there for two years. I don't remember hearing about EAP until I hit Tampa. Um, and what's crazy? I didn't even start therapy until 2020. So I started my news career in 2012 and I never decided to see someone professionally until 2020, And I actually did find my therapist through my EAP program. Funny thing was technically she shouldn't have been listed because she didn't take the EAP or whatever, And I was like my God. So they're like ya you’re going to have to pay out pocket. and oh my god, like I'm too poor for this. I was like I am in dire need of assistance, but I am poor and I cannot afford this, But it was - it ended up being the best decision of my life. My therapist helped me through so much and like it was really, I thoroughly recommend all people go to therapy. If America can do one good thing for the American people, it is to drastically reduce the amount owed for seeking therapy. Like - because it's really necessary. I think there would be a lot less like “Karen situations.” I said that in quotes, “Karen situations.” A lot less road rage, a lot less like mass shootings and all the types of things that people could really just like, have somewhere to vent and also have somebody who would be like,”Hey, this person is like in a situation where I don't think I can help them any more and like we need to look at other alternatives, cause-” I also want to make sure that at the stigma like, just because people like mass shoot, like, they always be like its always mental health, not necessarily like, there's a lot of severely mentally ill people who don't go around shooting people. So that's not a. I don't think mentally ill or mental illness caused you to do mass shootings. I think that there is something in your brain, though that's not clicking all the way for you to make that drastic decision to - in somebody's life, because you're having a bad day or like you are just a hateful person. So I really think people who have awful personalities are like awful inside, really could use some therapy. And they probably have a lot of stuff that they haven't dealt with and they're just doing the wrong things and it's feeding into like all these bad decisions.

Molly Casey:

I couldn't agree more. I- I genuinely didn't know, understand or think about mental health until I had been in the news industry for three years, and I literally came to a breaking point and I had to break my contract because I- I could not go to work every day. I had been through so many traumatic situations… accidentally found a murder victim’s body. like,

Jasmine Styles:

Oh my God,

Molly Casey:

Yeah, so I already, been - but I had no idea - even at that point - what mental health was. I was never told about EAP services. And so by the time I needed help, I was like What is mental health? Oh my God, I feel broken, but then I realized no mental health is normal. Everyone experiences it, but to your point, like everyone needs it. but it's so stigmatizing. People just don't have the ability to pay for it because it's expensive.

Jasmine Styles:

It's expensive and the other thing, like as a- as a black woman, you know, I wanted to find a therapist who looked like me and that was hard. I remember asking, telling the EAP person specifically like “I am a woman of color. I would like, even if it wasn't a black woman, I was like, I really prefer a woman of color.” Because unfortunately, racism does also permeate itself into my mental health, and like the things I was seeing like especially during 2020, like *exasperation noises* I want to put a caveat out here, like 2020 was not the… for a lot of people it was the catalyst for them, like realizing there was a lot of stuff wrong with America, and like the way that black and brown people or others are treated. But I have known that for a really long time because my parents have always been very vocal about civil rights and things like that. My parents were born in the late fifties and sixties. My mother was one of the first people to integrate for schools. My dad's mom marched with Martin Luther King. So like we, we were very understanding that you know that there was always crap going on and that racism was always a thing. But you know twenty twenty was like it was on the T.V.s, It was like everywhere and you were just like, “bro, I can't deal with this anymore”. So I feel like, you know, I wanted somebody to - who saw me and who could relate, and even when I got the list it was only two black women on that list. I was like, “this sucks.” Like really sucks because like I said, I would have taken anybody else. Again, no disrespect to Caucasian professionals or whatever, but I feel like to really hit the nuance, I feel like I really needed someone who looked like me or had - could understand the things that I went through. So again, no disrespect to caucasian professionals, I just knew that that wasn't going to be a good fit for me and therapy is like dating. You have to find your therapist. Luckily for me, I got mine on the first try. I love her and I'm like it's so weird cause like I remember when she got sick, I was like “should I send her flowers? Like is that weird? Like how would she get them?” I didn’t know her home address. Is it weird and like, Oh my God. And then, like you know, she just helped me so much. I'm like, Oh my God, Like “when I get married should invite her to my wedding, Because like she helped me like do like you know…” she just really like set my whole life around because she just was so caring and professional and probing, like in a good way like she never made me feel misunderstood. Like I felt like she understood everything I was saying. So it's funny because I feel like when you… when you - because I had to move and so I didn't get to see my therapist any more and it's like a break up like it's real deal sad like I was like I miss my therapist. I have a new therapist now and she was great as well, but I'm just like, God I miss my therapist so bad. If I ever moved back to Florida, she's gonna be the first person I call, like, “yo, you got some slots because we got to talk.” And I'm not even like- I've actually decreased my amount of therapy. When I first moved up here, because I was in it real bad, I was going to therapy every week, every two weeks at, you know, at the worst, but every week. Now I'm down to like once a month, because I feel like I'm doing good maintenance, but yeah, like I don't think anybody should ever stop there. You’ll never be good enough to stop there. Everyone needs a - even if you bring it down once a quarter, you know once every six months just for maintenance. I think you should still go. I know a lot of people that go like, “Oh, I feel fine. I'm going to go about my life,” but I think you should still continue.

Molly Casey:

Talk about what brought you to therapy and how your career in journalism has impacted your mental health to potentially bring you to that point.

Jasmine Styles:

So I will say therapy - my catalyst for therapy was not actually news. It was my best friend, me and my best friend, my best friend and I, I always said that wrong. Look, that's like the one grammar thing I don't, I don't have a hold of. But my best friend and I got into a really big fight and we've been best friends since pre-k, since we were four years old. We've had out little disagreements here and there, but never anything like what had happened. And I mean we were like, basically like, “screw you! Screw you, too.” And we didn't talk for like a couple of months. And remember she wrote me like an email because I was like, I was trying to let her cool down. She wrote me an email and just laid my a** out. I was like I'm a terrible human being and immediately I went to therapy like I was like this is the time. I gotta figure this out because again it's like a break up like me and my besties have been like this *crosses fingers* since we were four years old. And so I'm like now I got to get right, because I was like if my best friend is abandoning me right now, then we got to change, So I went to therapy and that was like- that's how we reconciled and she says that all the time she was like, “I could see like when you went to therapy like you changed so much.” She was like, “you, just like think things through like a lot more different than you used to.” I used to be like a big complainer. Like very negative, Nancy. She was like, “I've noticed that you don't do that any more. Or if you do, you hold it in from the public And then when we leave, you're like, Oh man, I could have gone without that or whatever.” So it really did change my life, but I will say, like work became a big part of therapy for me. Um, for example, like in Tampa, I took a really - I don't really want to talk about it cause it still passes me off to this day, but I took a really big L when looking for another job, and like I was pissed. I was so pissed - when I got the call that I didn't get the job, I was driving and I was supposed to make a left and I made the left at the red light and almost got hit. I was like my whole mind was just like- my whole life was shattered like because it was my dream market and I just- I thought I blew away the interview like I was the only girl they were using and the whole- I'm like, “oh it’s me, I'm- this is my job.” And something happened and they were like “Yeah, No,” and I was like “what?.” And I remember crying, like going home and just being in a fetal position, crying, calling my friends and that just made me sad because I had to go back to Tampa, because I was like mornings and weekends, so I'm the lowest girl on the totem pole. I don't have- like I can't have, like any, like social life. Like it's hard to date, I hadn't dated in like two years. At that point I ended up being single for my entire four years in Tampa. I was struggling. Yeah, I was just like over it. And so then I came here to Ohio, and I’m way far from my family. It was a great career move, awful personal move. And I can say that with my chest, I would tell my boss that, like it was a great career move. Like I made a bang up decision when it came to moving my career forward, but I really suffered personally and I remember watching a tik tok about this girl who was talking about even when you make good decisions, you still may have to grieve with them and grieve for the decision you made. And I felt like I was grieving because like I said, I was missing my friends. I had made some really good friends like in Tampa. I was missing my friends. I was close to my best friend at the time, who lived in Orlando and actually lives in Austin. But you know we were close. I was close to my mama. I could run up there to Orlando and see her. Um, I was at the beach. I mean, I lived in paradise. Like I’m at the beach. You know, I had a nice little apartment and like things were good, they could have been better job wise. Like I was not doing my best job wise, but I was personally finally very happy and it's very hard to find that balance.

Molly Casey:

Mmhmm.

Jasmine Styles:

In news. so now coming up to Cincinnati, I mean, I was crying every day. I was ridiculously tired. I was working dayside. I was working bankers hours, that is the best hours you could have. I was working from nine to six, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and I would come home and I would be dog tired. I wasn't doin nothin, like this is- Let's let's get it straight now. I'm not going to be no, like, “oh my God, anchoring so hard.” Like no anchoring is one of the easiest things you'll do, like it's amazing. It's a lot of pressure, but it's easy. And I was like, you know, I was coming home, and I was dog tired. I was going to bed at like eight o'clock. I had lost a lot of weight in Tampa. I have gained fifty pounds since I've been here in Cincinnati, just from not eating, not exercising, being depressed, like not having the will or motivation to do anything. It was awful and that was messing with myself esteem, because as you know, we're on camera and I can't fit into any of my sixes and eights, and now I'm having to buy twelves. And I'm like this is this is, no, no, no, no, no, no, like, and I worked so hard to lose that pandemic weight and now I'm back to where I was and then some, like it was just messing with my brain. So yeah, like I was making good money, I'm in a great position, I'm in the position I always wanted to be in and I was absolutely miserable and I'm crying to my therapist every week and my therapist encouraged me like, “sounds like you need to take a sabbatical.” And I was like, again, we all know news. I'm like, “wha- you can't leave news! You can't take a break. They don't value mental health. Nobody cares.” Like, if you leave you quit and then that means that you break your contract, and that means they're gonna send the lawyers after you, and that means I'm gonna go owe tens of thousands of dollars. No, that sounds like a dumb decision. I'm just going to suffer. So, um *takes sip of drink* I suffered and I was sad all the time, And also the station was in a bit of a flux. It's doing a lot better right now, but it was in the middle of like some - like, I mean, I think I was there for like eight months and like forty people had left. It was bad. We

Molly Casey:

Forty? *Holds up 4 and 0*

Jasmine Styles:

Yeah… it was bad.

Molly Casey:

Why?

Jasmine Styles:

Because they had really bad management beforehand and we just like- I actually got hired by the G.M. and a news director in a neighboring city because we didn't have a news director at the time. The news director came a week before I did. So, I mean it was a brand new team and or like management team.

Molly Casey:

Yeah,

Jasmine Styles:

Just like, my co-workers had PTSD dealing with, like, the crap from the last go round.

Molly Casey:

Yeah,

Jasmine Styles:

Yeah, so I think, no matter even if good was coming, they couldn't embrace it because they were still - they still hadn't moved on and healed from the last situation. So um, yeah, it was really bad and I felt like overworked. I felt, again, crazy because this is like the cush job, but I felt overworked. I felt, again, crazy because this is the cush job, but I felt overworked, I felt out of place. The Midwest is very clicky. For example, there's a station in Cleveland where they call themselves Cleveland’s Own because literally, if you don't have any connection to Cleveland, you will not work there. Like if you didn’t go to school, you don't live, like you're not goin- like they tell people straight up like don't apply there because if you're not from Cleveland, they're not gonna pick you. So yeah, like everybody wants a hometown connection, but like that was like..

Molly Casey:

Next level.

Jasmine Styles:

Yeah, that's really next level. So you know the Midwest is kind of clicky, Like if you're not a Cincinnatian, like they don't really like you. Like literally, somebody just sent me a text message the other day - or no, a DM because like I said, I came from Tampa and now I'm in Cincinnati. The bangles where - or no the Bucks game was on but the Bangles game was like coming up, so I had like my orange on and so I took a picture and I was like, you know, rooting from my home team while watching my old team get like whooped or whatever, And somebody's like, “you - you're not from Cincinnati. Stop acting like it.” I’m, like, “you're not supposed to like where you are? Like bro, Like, get a grip.” So I blocked him, but yeah, I think like the mental health aspect- like I was just like spiraling. like I just wasn't doing very well here at all, to the point where I was like, “Screw it, I'm quitting. I'm done. I'm done. I'm leaving news. I'm out of here. I'm going back home.” I waiting- I was hoping like, “O, fire me, please, like I'm going to come- like I'm coming to work late and if y’all got something to say about fire me.” Or like I was just getting real flippant and real like If you want to do something, then jump. And that was dumb because I'm a capricorn and I always need a plan, so like in my mind, I knew that wasn't going to work, but just sounded good. Um, So my therapist, like I said, was the one who encouraged me take a break and I said, “Okay, like, I think, think I'm gonna really do it.” And I asked a co-worker who had done it previously. Um about his- how he did it. And like, what was the steps? And I talked to my boss. I talked to my boss like two months before I was even going to pull the trigger. So I talked to my boss. He was very understanding, because he's in the same boat. Like he came from a- like he has like a child who's still in high school. He lives here, but his children and wife are still like back home, so he's driving to go see them like he's in a really interesting position too, and like I can't imagine you know, he's trying to hire people, bring up moral, like he had a lot on his plate, so I think he truly knew where I was coming from, and then I talked to my G.M. who also truly understood where I was coming from and I was like, “Oh thank god.” Like I just told him I was like, “Look, I want to give you guys a heads up because I don't want to like- I know that we're trying to rebuild and I don't want to screw this up.” And they're like, “well, that's very nice that you're thinking of us, but like you matter, And so if you're not right, like what does it matter about the team?” So I got going with our, like, we have an outside HR program that takes care of the leaves, and so I had to do some… Like evaluations with my therapist and my doctor and they sent the paperwork in and then I was granted, so I took two months off. Again, the capricorn in me was like I want to be productive, and go workout and meal prep and blah blah blah. Girl, the first week I did absolutely nothing. I parked it on a couch and watched Netflix because I was like, I've never, you know that the TV business is go, go, go, go, go, hustle, hustle, hustle, hustle, hustle, hustle. Oh my God, we got to stay late because there's a tornado or like, oh my God, we need you to come in early because it's a shooting. Like So it's just always so much and then like you, come home to have two hours to yourself, and you back at the like- back doing it all over again. So I was like I'm just going to sit on this couch and do nothing. I'm going to order food. I'm not going to cook like I'm not going to expend any energy. And so that was my first week. I took a week-long vacation to Europe, because I've never had the PTO to do that before, nor the money. Um. and so I was like I'm going to Europe and I spent a week in Italy and I had the time of my life and it was amazing and I was just like I would have never gotten to do that had I still been here, like you just can't get a week off. It’s just like, not possible and normally you don't have enough PTO to do that anyways.

Molly Casey:

No!

Jasmine Styles:

and as an adult I have like weddings and like family stuff, So, like, once you factor all that in, like, you still have no time. I got to spend Thanksgiving with my family. That was the first Thanksgiving I had in like three years, and it was great because a lot of my family that I hadn't seen in a long time decided to come, too. Of course with COVID, like that kind of stopped things as well, but I saw baby cousins who I had never met before, or who were babies when I saw them, and now they're like seven. And like I said, a lot of my cousins who haven't been coming came and it was just so nice to see everybody like that was- I felt so good, like to be in that family like niche. I feel like I've gotten older - I used to be - this was always my pitch when I would try to get a new job. They be like, “so you're willing to move to xyz?” “and I’m like, “Yeah, bro, like I'm not married. I don't have no kids. I don't even have a dog. I'm ready to roll.” Like that was always my thing that I could just get up and go. And then now it’s like being older, I'm just like, “God, I miss my family, like I want to kind of be back to like where I'm close or like where I can get to them more easily.” Because like I said, my dad lives in Georgia. Now my mom was in Orlando. That's not a road trip. That is a full fledged flight. I just think that that break just exposed me to a lot more things that helped me think better, and it put me in a better place. I was able to just clear my head, and honestly, by the time that happened, things were much better at work, I got a new position to where I’m nightside now, which is the shift I always wanted. I worked so much better nightside than day, or morning. So I was like, and I really do feel like, had I not taken that break, it wouldn't have happened. And I'm just like I'm so grateful that like I listened to my therapist and that I listened to myself and stopped being this, like you know, I always say capricorn, my my friends always say “its not because you’re a capricorn,” but you know, capricorns are like, very like, business oriented, and like hard on the outside, but we're big old fluffy teddy bears on the inside and we have a lot of feelings, but we can't show that because it looks like weak, so I feel like I always just try to stick things out and sometimes like, I think I just hit my limit like I was like, I stuck stuff out for a really long time, and now I need a break and I'm sure news managers will hate me for saying this, but I believe every news person should take a sabbatical Everybody! Everybody should take a sabbatical at least a month, two months if you're bad, like you know, three months of his really killer. But everyone needs a break. and technically you know, just giving out like hints and stuff. I was on a short term disability because its mental mental illness, depression and anxiety counts as a disability. So I wasn't faking. This was my first time being on antidepressants, and I was on 20 milligrams, so much so that when I tried to get off my antidepressants when I started doing good, I was getting light headed because I was. SSRI dependent. Like a drug addict, like I was going through withdrawals, which is crazy because I was like “Whoa, why am I feel like? Why do I feel sick? Why do I feel tired?” Because my body is like, “girl. I need my drugs. That's why.” so, um, I think that everyone should take a break. Because even if you, even if you feel like you can stick it out some more, like, why not take that break before you break all the way down. Like, don't wait until you have a, like… One of my co-workers had a nervous breakdown. How they were like, able to finally go on break. I don't think you should ever get to that point. You need to really listen to your body and listen to your mind and listen to the signs and like, go ahead and make a short term exit plan. And if you have to make a- make a long term exit plan because news isn't for everybody and it's also not every station is for everybody. And I think if people knew that they had the option to take a break I feel like they would stay in news longer. I feel like if they knew they had the option, they would stick around because people are dropping like flies and the news industry won't have nobody else to hire if they keep treating people like this.



PART 2 COMING SOON


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