Leaving the Local TV News Business

Three professionals who worked in the news business in Central New York share about why they left their jobs here

Matt Hauswirth

CNYCentral, Reporter/Weekend Sports Anchor 

Matt Hauswirth worked at CNYCentral covering sports from 2016 until the end of his contract in 2020. “I just came to the decision that I can’t live this kind of life anymore,” he says. “I was exhausted.”

Matt Hauswirth began working part-time in TV his final semester at West Virginia University and had hoped to transition to a full-time job at his station in Clarksburg, West Virginia, after graduating.

But with no openings, he had to pick up a second job at Dick’s Sporting Goods. Five or six days a week Hauswirth opened the store at 8 a.m. He’d leave work at 2 p.m., drive 40 minutes to his station, change and then at 3 p.m. go to work covering sports. He’d work until after 11 p.m. and often didn’t arrive home until 1 a.m.

It was a year and a half before a full-time position opened up and he could quit his job at Dick’s. When he signed a two-year contract in 2012, the job paid just $21,000.

He eventually received a promotion and later spent several years covering the West Virginia Mountaineers, even flying around the country to cover away games. He enjoyed the work, but still barely managed to make ends meet even with splitting rent with a roommate.

“I would make like a pot of spaghetti and meatballs and I would eat it for the whole week,” he said. “It’s kind of crazy thinking back now that that’s how I lived.”

Hauswirth got a chance to move home to Central New York in 2016 when the sports director at CNYCentral alerted him to an opening. He worked as a sports reporter during the week and sports anchor on the weekend. He enjoyed his job and liked his co-workers, but began to desire more financial stability and a better work-life balance.

The pandemic proved especially trying. Hauswirth was going live from a cell phone in his living room and for months in 2020 he had to pivot to covering sports features since there was virtually no local sports to cover.

His contract was ending in December 2020 and Hauswirth considered trying to move to a larger market, but his fiancé was from Central New York and wanted to stay in the area if possible. He had also grown tired of the long hours.

“I just came to the decision that I can’t live this kind of life anymore,” he said. “I was exhausted.”

When station management offered him a nominal pay increase — his hourly rate would’ve been comparable to a fast-food job — he decided he’d had enough. He said he felt his managers valued him, but that their hands were tied by their corporate bosses.

Hauswirth began interviewing and eventually took a sales job with ADP. He said his personality and communication skills from TV have been useful in his new job. He has been at the job a year in March and has already surpassed his previous salary with the help of commissions. Hauswirth said that although once in a while he’ll miss covering sports, he is happy with his newfound financial stability.

“I wanted to buy a house and get married and have a decent car where the muffler isn’t falling off,” he said. “These are things like if you’re a TV news reporter, especially at the local level, you just can’t afford these things.”

Matt Jarchow

Spectrum News, Reporter

Matt Jarchow landed his first job right out of college with Spectrum News in Syracuse in 2014. In November 2017, Jarchow left Central New York to be close to his family. He took a job at NBC 26 in Green Bay, Wisconsin.

Matt Jarchow didn’t mind that having student loans meant being careful with money. Working nights wasn’t a problem, either. After all, his schedule allowed him to play a round of golf in the morning before work. And, as a single 20-something, getting out of work late still allowed for socializing. But it was the long periods of time away from his family that he dreaded.

“It’s draining to work holidays when the entire world is off and you’ve still got to do news,” Jarchow said. “You’re Zooming with your family on Christmas instead of being there with them opening gifts.”

Jarchow grew up in Wisconsin and attended Kent State University in Ohio. He landed his first job right out of college with Spectrum News in 2014. He spent a year in the remote, one-person Potsdam bureau.

“As a first job goes, that was a pretty difficult adjustment going from college,” he said.

It was a lonely experience, but also a learning experience. Jarchow was next sent to the Corning/Elmira bureau for a year. He signed another two-year contract and transitioned to the newsroom in Syracuse. He joined a group of reporters who were about the same age and at the same point in their lives. There were also experienced reporters in the newsroom to learn from, he said, and the leadership was very supportive.

He worked nights as a general assignment reporter, typically from 1:30-10:30 p.m. Jarchow enjoyed the night shift. While there were a bunch of reporters chomping at the bit during the day, at night it was often just him. That meant he got to cover whatever stories came along.

As satisfied as he might have been, he began to miss home. After college and several years living in New York, the distance and infrequent visits began to wear on him.

“You saw your parents two, three times a year,” he said. “And I think that kind of just built up as time went on and was just pulling me back home.”

It wasn’t just his parents, either. Jarchow has a large extended family back in Wisconsin that includes more than 20 cousins. So, he decided to apply for jobs at stations in Green Bay and Milwaukee. If he didn’t get an offer, he planned to sign another two-year contract and stay in Syracuse.

In November 2017, Jarchow left Central New York for a reporter job at NBC 26 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. Three years later he became an executive producer, responsible for managing multiple newscasts. And in December he was promoted to assistant news director.

Now instead of seeing his family a few times a year, Jarchow can make the two-hour drive home on any given weekend. He said he’s happy with his decision to move closer to home because the shuffle and turnover associated with TV news can make it difficult to meet people and build a family. He and his wife, whom he met after leaving Central New York, are expecting a baby soon.

“This was an opportunity to make this a place to stick around for a while and not have to worry about is this person going to come with me in two years if I have to leave,” he said.

Molly (Matott) Clock

CNYCentral, Meteorologist

above Molly Matott Clock worked as a meteorologist at CNYCentral from 2015 to 2019, when she decided she enjoyed teaching more. She is now a seventh grade math in the Liverpool schools.

While studying meteorology at SUNY Oswego, Molly Matott Clock was fully prepared “to move to the middle of nowhere” for a job. So, in 2015, when she received an offer from CNYCentral, she happily jumped at the opportunity.

“Not only was I lucky, but I think I realized later that to do weather in Syracuse was my dream job,” she said. “I graduated on Saturday and I was on the 5 o’clock CBS news Monday.”

She started off forecasting for the weekend morning newscasts and worked evenings the other three days a week. Flipping between mornings and evenings was difficult. She also frequently filled in for meteorologists who were on vacation, making her schedule unpredictable.

Still, Clock enjoyed her job and threw herself into her work. She wasn’t flush with cash, but said she was able to pay her bills and student loans and wasn’t living paycheck to paycheck.

Gradually, however, she began to burn out. Clock was living in her hometown and close to her family, but she always seemed to be working and struggled to see them often. With the benefit of hindsight, she said she tried too hard to be perfect at her job.

“Putting boundaries up when you’re a public figure and you work at a job you love is really hard,” she said. “I kind of lost myself for a while. I didn’t know who Molly Matott the person was, I was just Molly Matott the broadcaster all the time.”

When a forecast would occasionally be wrong, she’d get negative emails and comments on social media. When she was correct, the comments tended to be positive, but for an admitted people pleaser it was extremely difficult to keep it all at arm’s length.

‘Putting boundaries up when you’re a public figure and you work at a job you love is really hard. I kind of lost myself for a while. I didn’t know who Molly Matott the person was, I was just Molly Matott the broadcaster all the time.’

“I took it personally,” she said. “That was so taxing on my mental health and self-worth.”

After two years Clock felt exhausted, but was also anxious to advance, which would’ve meant moving to another market. But her family was here and her future husband was in the middle of graduate school. Clock decided she didn’t want to leave and signed another two-year contract.

In 2017, the station rolled out a new storm-tracking vehicle loaded with high-tech gadgets and weather gizmos. Clock began making school visits in the weather mobile, found herself teaching children about weather and discovered she loved it.

“And I just started to think about that a little bit more seriously,” she said.

The idea of teaching also made it seem more realistic to get married and eventually have a family. So, Clock enrolled in graduate school part time. In 2019, she took a job at OCM BOCES teaching geometry, financial planning and career readiness. In September she began teaching seventh grade math in the Liverpool schools.

Clock said she doesn’t miss her old job much because she still gets to talk about math and science all day. She said her decision to change careers had less to do with TV news and more to do with who she is as a person.

“It had everything to do with me,” she said. “TV just didn’t work for what I wanted in life anymore.” ❖