A quick look: The state of YP mentoring in pubmedia
by Andrew Leitch, Program Coordinator at Greater Public
Mentoring is tricky; everyone seems to define it differently. In our recent survey we described it this way: “a positive relationship(s) with a more senior and experienced individual with whom you can seek advice about professional challenges.” Traditionalists say that you can’t have a mentor who’s in your reporting hierarchy, but we decided not to go that route for a two reasons: 1) we thought that YPs (particularly those very new to their stations) wouldn’t know many people outside of their reporting structure, and 2) the folks who designed the survey (Brooke, Chris Bay, Andi McDaniel and me) all had great reciprocal learning relationships with one or more superiors, and didn’t think those relationships should be discounted.
I was actually really surprised at how many people reported having mentor-type relationships because we constantly hear from YPs that they don’t feel supported by more experienced staff. Here’s the breakdown by type of mentor:
Here’s a different way of looking at the same question. You can see that only about 1 in 5 YPs doesn’t have an older professional confidant. Of course this number is still too high, but lower than we expected.
One of the most interesting trends we saw was that as people spend more time in public media, they’re less likely to have a mentor within their organization, and more likely to have one in a different public media company:
It’s tough to say why. One guess is that as you get more experience, separation from your organization becomes more important because you need more independence from your station’s politics. Whatever it is, this survey helped us form a much more nuanced view of mentoring than we had before. Hopefully this knowledge will help us serve you better!