Turnover and turnaway intention among South Korean journalists

The study “Factors Affecting Turnover and Turnaway Intention of Journalists in South Korea” by Haeyeop Song from Kunsan National University, Gunsan, Korea, and Jaemin Jung from KAIST, Daejeon, Korea applied the framework of Push-Pull-Mooring to study the factors affecting turnover and turnaway intention among South Korean newspaper journalists.

Push-Pull-Mooring (PPM) is the dominant paradigm in human migration literature to describe why people move from one place to another. The framework was used in this study to address the gap in current studies on career movement in journalism. 

The previous studies mostly addressed various sub-dimensions of job satisfaction, but this one seeks to also study newly emerged organizational practices in the digital environment. 

The study seeks to answer the following questions, as per PPM: what pushes journalists away from their organizations?  What factors pull or moor journalists in their organizations? Do different reasons underlie turnover and turnaway intention? Do junior and senior journalists have different motives for leaving organizations?

The study identified several push, pull, and mooring factors. The push factors were Ideological conflict, Additional online workload, and Pressure of traffic boosting practices. The pull factors, all related to job satisfaction, in turn, were Job satisfaction—Remuneration, Job satisfaction—Job attractiveness, and Job satisfaction—Peers/organization.

Finally, the mooring factor that was identified was Professional efficacy, 

the perception of competence in one’s own job. Higher professional efficacy was assumed to be a mooring factor to the profession. 

The push factors were all seen among the dataset, which consisted of 899 journalists working for daily newspapers. There was a clear positive correlation between turnover and all the push factors. 

For the pull factors, satisfaction with peers and organization showed the clearest negative correlation with turnover, followed by satisfaction with remuneration. Job attractiveness showed some negative signs, but it was not statistically significant as a predictor of turnover.

The mooring factor had a positive impact on turnover odds but not with turnaway (leaving the journalistic field for another job), showing that journalists with high efficacy were likely to seek out other, better jobs within the industry. 

For turnaway push factors, only the pressure of traffic boosting practices was significant. As for pull factors, the relationship was different than in turnover: job attractiveness was a significant turnaway inhibitor, as was peers and organization, but remuneration was insignificant.

There were differences between junior and senior journalists in the dataset. The senior group was even more negatively impacted for turnaway by peers/organization, showing they valued that factor more. Senior journalists also were more affected both for turnover and turnaway intention by the push factor of traffic boosting practices.

The authors point out that turnover does not affect the industry as a whole, as the journalists still remain in the profession. However, with turnaway, these journalists are effectively lost. Thus job attractiveness (job stability, growth potential, and social status as a journalist), which affected turnaway significantly was singled out. 

Also, the push factors stemming from online work should more carefully managed at the organizational level, so that journalists do not turn away from their work due to online pressure.

The study “Factors Affecting Turnover and Turnaway Intention of Journalists in South Korea” by Haeyeop Song and Jaemin Jung is in Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly. (free abstract).

Picture: Ancona, Italy. Model Sean Kim. by Darran Shen.

License Unsplash.

Give us feedback