Pagination and job satisfaction

Authors: Keith Stamm, Doug Underwood and Anthony Giffard

Publication: How Pagination Affects Job Satisfaction of Editors, Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly, volume 72, no. 3 (1995), pp. 851-862.

Pagination has positive and negative effects on job satisfaction, according to a study by three professors from the University of Washington, who surveyed 187 editors who paginated pages at 13 Northwestern newspapers in winter 1993.

On the down side, the editors thought pagination forced them to emphasize production tasks and increased the routinization in their jobs. On the plus side, editors thought, paradoxically, that pagination put increased priority on journalistic tasks, made their work more autonomous and improved the quality of their newspapers.

Their results echoed work by John Russial more than a decade earlier. In that study, editors who paginate reported spending so much of their time learning to operate and using page layout terminals that they often have limited time to employ traditional editing skills. Although the problem was mitigated by added staffing and changes in newsroom division of labor, such as specialized departments of paginators, many desk editors complained about having to be “printers as well as editors.”

However, most felt that the advantages – flexibility in design and ability to visualize the page and control the work – outweighed the drawbacks.

Russial’s earlier research: “Pagination and the Newsroom: Great Expectations,” Ph.D. dissertation, Temple University, 1989.

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