22nd Century Media Reviews | Glassdoor

22nd Century Media Reviews

Updated September 28, 2017
16 reviews

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16 Employee Reviews

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  1. Helpful (4)

    "Great place to flourish as an editor"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Editor
    Former Employee - Editor
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at 22nd Century Media (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    The experience you gain as an Editor with 22nd Century cannot be matched. While both Editors and Assistant Editors are expected to work hard, they are constantly challenged to discover, seek out, write and edit stories the community craves.

    While it's not always an easy gig, 22nd Century Media Editors are trained to deliver the complete package. From print and web stories to photography and social media, the company helps transform its employees into well-rounded individuals who can tell an accurate and interesting story in a variety of ways.

    If you're truley interested in being a journalist in the 21st century, 22CM will push and challenge you to thrive in ways you never would have expected. And if you put in the time and effort, you're often able to take on more responsibilty and move up in the company.

    Cons

    It's not easy. Anyone who knows journalism knows it's not a 9-5 business. You're expected to work hard, which sometimes includes nights and weekends, and you're probably not going to break the bank doing it. Don't go into journalism for the money.

    Advice to Management

    Put in the time and effort to help editors grow, and give them the tools they need to thrive.


  2. Helpful (4)

    "Great way to grow as a writer for six months, then get out."

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Editor in Northbrook, IL
    Former Employee - Editor in Northbrook, IL
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at 22nd Century Media full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    - Plenty of opportunities for your portfolio to grow.
    - Gives you the experience you need to succeed elsewhere.

    Cons

    - Low pay, bad hours, limited room to grow, lack of career opportunities, high stress environment. Journalism outlet in a nutshell.
    - Editorial staff suffers for the benefit of the sales team and management routinely.
    - Management does not behave in a way that is conducive for editorial success.
    - Budgets are minuscule. Freelance reporters are largely sub-par at best.
    - Work/life balance is largely non-manageable. Deadlines have relaxed to a degree but the demands of the job are largely not worth the compensation.

    22nd Century Media Response

    Sep 25, 2017

    Much of the information presented by this poster is inaccurate. For instance, there are no specific hours for editors (they are flexible), and editors' pay and company benefits are above standard for... More

  3. Helpful (5)

    "If you want your soul to slowly die, this is the place to be"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at 22nd Century Media full-time

    Pros

    I mean.. they let you out early sometimes for long weekends... and ... they let you out early sometimes for long weekends. Another pro is that I quit

    Cons

    I found out where NOT to work and to never work for a small company again. I built great friendships with my fellow employees who were mindful, helpful, and very friendly.

    I don’t really know where to begin. After working there for 2 months, I knew straight away this wasn’t a company who was willing grow and build up their employees to be the best they can be. The reasons as follows:

    1. Management - Do you ever see babies wear grown up clothes and they look cute and try to act grown up. Think of this scenario but minus the cuteness. I never seen such immaturity between the managers. They scream at each other across the room and pick on each other for pitiful and pathetic fights that make you want to buy the biggest headphones offered on the market to block out that tirade. One manager is absolutely rude on the phone and stubborn as could be and one of the others comes in once a week and sighs every 10 minutes while they stare at their computer. Some don’t acknowledge your work but when they do, they will leave a poorly written note on your desk when you leave for the day. Change the management completely and I feel most of the company’s problems disappear
    2. Lack of Room Maintenance - The office is just one big room with no cubicles, no break room, no vending machines or kitchen. You have a corner where they plopped a coffee machine (which they made the employees pay for) and a old microwave. You have a small conference room if you want some form of privacy from the office and dust. I don’t have a word to describe the accumulation of dust, old food, strayed papers, and dead insects. I’m sure 22CM does.
    3. Terrible PTO - You get a standard 12 PTO days. This does not exclude sick days or personal days. This office is a bacterial infected cube where people are forced to work sick and therefore, their surrounding neighbors get infected. I’m waiting for someone to do their thesis on the amount of bacteria living in this place
    4. No Pay Raise - Forget about asking for a pay raise, they will give you a $500-$1000 bonus for a job well done (which is taxed) and… that’s about it. So you’re sitting on the same wage for almost 10 years.
    5. Your CEO is Jack Ryan - Enough said, a ex-politician who was in a sex scandal? Yikes
    6. Oh We Have Rules, But a Few are Exempt - of course, most work places have rules i.e no relationships between employees to keep a even ground for everyone. This excludes the ‘favored couples’ which gives NO EQUALITY at all between all employees. So why should everyone else follow them?
    7. No Company Culture - Oh yay, a Christmas party.. but you have two drink tickets. Oh yay, a Halloween party.. but you have to bring a plate. Oh yay, a pizza party, back away fatty you’re only allowed 2 slices of pizza. Seriously guys? Nothing, absolutely NOTHING to give your employees motivation to work. So easy to buy those extra pizzas, still make people bring plates of food but the company buys MOST of it.

    Advice to Management

    Just fire them all. They all have been there too long to even listen to opinions or care about the growth of the company. It's like Benjamin Buttons disease, each year, it gets worse. If you don't believe my review, look at your revolving door of people quitting.

    22nd Century Media Response

    Oct 2, 2017

    A high majority of the information in this review is egregiously false. We are working so that it is taken down. We are sorry for the inconvenience it may cause readers. Happy to respond to any... More


  4. Helpful (6)

    "Have more respect for yourself than to stay here long"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Editorial
    Former Employee - Editorial
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at 22nd Century Media full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    • Excellent entry-level work to start someone off in journalism, but staying here longer than 1.5 years is pushing it.

    • You do everything, but you're welcomed to focus on areas you're interested in or excel at (village, lifestyle, sports, etc.).

    • Pay is not totally paltry: It's good for those two years you before you move on, and better than a lot of other papers, but don't expect a raise or adjustment for inflation.

    • Even if you have a solid work ethic, it will grow with a company where there's always something to do and downtime doesn't really exist.

    Cons

    • Workload and work/life balance: You know that feeling after you lift weights at the gym and everything seems to feel lighter? After you leave this company, working elsewhere will feel like that. It'll feel weird to consistently have Friday nights and weekends off, as will having a social life. Because 40 pages of newspaper need to be filled with about as many news stories and features – and despite a small network of freelancers – it comes down to the editor and assistant editor (the latter of whom is working for two papers at a time) to make everything happen. That can amount to an obscene amount of work.

    • Low ceiling: You'll likely be hired on as an assistant editor, and the next step up is editor. That's about as far as you go, unless you decide to make this company your career. If that's the case, you might become a cluster manager if you haven't jumped off a bridge yet.

    • Inexperienced management: The highest tiers of management have been with the company near its inception and hardly anywhere else. That amounts to a lot of experience, but not much variety of experience. While they manage the company well enough to function, the rookie tendency to lead through fear rather than respect often becomes apparent.

    • Constructive critique not appreciated: If you have an idea about how something could be done differently or more efficiently, don't expect it to happen. You'll be humored, but little will happen. While there's some room for creativity with actual content, the company follows a format for all of its newspapers – down to its most basic operations. Not a bad thing in concept, but some gears really need grease.

    • CEO: Jack is pretty much hands-off and has especially been so since he turned the company over to its three leading employees, which is admirable, but when he gets a wild hair, his politics and borderline conspiracy theories might put you (as a journalist) on a wild goose chase into ethical gray zones.

    Advice to Management

    • Invest in a creating a true company culture: Your employees will be more loyal and respect you more for it.

    • Invest in professional development: No one's too good to learn how to improve or too old to learn a new trick. Shell out some cash to bring in speakers or send employees to conferences where you and they can learn new skills to bring back to the company.

    22nd Century Media Response

    Feb 7, 2017

    Thank you for the feedback; though, I believe some of your critiques are outdated. Initiatives — such as flexible hours and less weekend work — have been implemented in an effort to ease the burden... More


  5. Helpful (8)

    "Overworked, underpaid, undeappreciated"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Editor in Northbrook, IL
    Former Employee - Editor in Northbrook, IL
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook

    I worked at 22nd Century Media full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    You gain experience writing about a wide range of topics and have the ability to move quickly from an entry-level Assistant Editor position to a more-senior "Editor" position.

    Cons

    Unfortunately, the reason you move up quickly from Assistant Editor to Editor is that, more than likely, you'll see at least two people quit within your first six months. And that's because the list of Cons here is expansive:

    - Awful work hours. The concept of work/life balance is completely non-existent. Because there are only two people (an editor and an assistant editor, who is split with at least one other newspaper) responsible for creating each individual newspaper, the amount of work that is required to publish the paper each week is overwhelming, and requires most editors to work 50+ hours per week. That includes weekends. Though you don't have to be in the office on the weekend, necessarily, you are expected to work from home.

    - The pay is awful. Despite the fact that the North Shore of Chicago is one of the most expensive places to live in the country, salaries are woefully low. As a result, it's impossible to live anywhere near the office - meaning that an hour+ commute is all but mandatory. Not to mention the fact that the benefits are terrible - They offer a 401k with no match, the bonuses are tiny and have previously been cut because the company wasn't doing well financially, the health insurance is bad, you receive only 12 PTO days your first three years and no sick days.

    - The company is only interested in expansion. There's a reason the company has expanded from just one newspaper in 2005 to more than 15 in only 11 years; it's because instead of rewarding the employees who worked hard to make the expansion happen with better salaries, bonuses, benefits - all the money the company makes is put back into further expanding the company. Which simply leads to piling more work on an already over-worked staff (rather than hiring additional employees).

    - They're cheap: You work on slow, old desktop computers (A clever way of keeping employees tied to the office and incapable of working remotely). Their "morale-boosting" events usually include such luxurious expenses as pot-lucks that employees must supply the food for. They won't spring for simple expenses that will help you do your job - like access to court records to cover local court cases, or a TV in the office that could be tuned to a news channel, or a police scanner to keep abreast of what's happening in the community. Whenever something breaks in the office, the company is only interested in the cheap, quick fix.
    Also, they outsource their newspaper layout and design to India as a cost-saver, which makes the actual process of laying out the paper even that much more difficult.

    - The owner dictates content. This is huge. Former Senate candidate Jack Ryan owns 22nd Century Media and likes to dictate content. So, despite the fact that 22nd Century Media's official stance is that it doesn't endorse candidates or take sides in elections, Jack Ryan wrote anonymous editorials that were mandated to be run in every newspaper, endorsing candidates like Bruce Rauner and Bob Dold on behalf of the newspaper, despite the fact that the editor of the paper had in no way written, touched or otherwise approved of said editorials.

    - Employees are viewed as entirely replaceable. It's the reason - along with everything listed above - why turnover is so high. The company doesn't value its employees. It expects employees to give the company everything they have, but the company gives nothing in return. Their feeling is, more or less, "you should feel lucky to have a job," rather than "we're lucky to have you." It's evident in the way they treat their employees, and evident in the way that employees flee the company as soon as they get the chance.

    Put simply: unless you are desperate and have no other options, don't work here. Go work at Starbucks. You'll have better hours and make about the same amount of money. You'll probably have better benefits, too.

    Advice to Management

    Treat your employees like you value them and want them to stay, and they will. Continue to treat them like replaceable cogs, they'll continue to leave.

    22nd Century Media Response

    May 10, 2016

    While we take all criticism seriously, many of the purported facts in this review are inaccurate, while other assertions are misleading. We encourage potential employees to ask management any and all... More


  6. Helpful (8)

    "ridiculousness"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    Former Employee - Editor in Northbrook, IL
    Former Employee - Editor in Northbrook, IL
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at 22nd Century Media full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    - You get an immense opportunity to get tons of experience in local journalism and the opportunity, for the most part, to cover the topics you want to cover (sports, life & arts or news).
    - You get an immense opportunity to build your portfolio and gain experience in writing for and planning news print.
    - Once a year, there is a holiday party and then a small summer BBQ.

    Cons

    - No. 1 CON: There is an incredible amount of work to be done and they keep the staff very, very minimal and very lean, and the pay is very, very low considering the amount of work that needs to be done as well as the need to work nights and sometimes weekends.
    - There's very little appreciation from management towards the staff, and they expect a lot.
    - Employees ONLY get 10 vacation/sick days - combined.
    - Standards are minimal - many grammar and AP mistakes get printed all the time because the young staff needs more copyediting experience.

    Advice to Management

    Care more about your employees.


  7. Helpful (7)

    "Small paper; blind managing editor"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook

    Pros

    Doing good in the community. A joy be a journalist in small communities

    Cons

    This workplace is 20something oriented. If you are older than that don't bother expecting to get hired and stay there. Favoritism abounds. Pay per article is low;they pay you when they get to it. HUGE turnover in editors and assist eds.

    Advice to Management

    Remember your audience is made up of more people than just 0-25. Make sure you have staff to handle that

  8. Helpful (1)

    "Assistant editor at 22CM"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    Fun environment, serious about quality news production.

    Cons

    The only complaint is that the company is understaffed so sometimes struggles to find freelance writers and photographers.

    Advice to Management

    Management is great. Because everyone is so busy it's hard for them to give adequate feedback sometimes, but that's my only complaint.


  9. Helpful (9)

    "Looks like Jack is telling his drones to fill this out"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Sales in Orland Park, IL
    Former Employee - Sales in Orland Park, IL
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at 22nd Century Media full-time (More than 8 years)

    Pros

    Pros-if you kiss Jack Ryan's behind and are brainless you will do well here. The way they treat the sales staff is despicable and customers are an afterthought.

    Cons

    Cons-they keep messing with your commissions, will tell you one thing and do another, no true HR Department nor a True 401K. The person who called this a dung heap of a company got it right.

    Advice to Management

    Tell the truth to your employees, quit messing with the commissions. Get a 401k, admit you are a pro republican newspaper.


  10. Helpful (8)

    "An awful place to work"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    If you're a young journalist, you can quickly ascend to the rank of editor due to the high turnover. You can also accumulate clips for a future job.

    Cons

    Too many to list them all. The management quarrels amongst itself and does not know how to actually manage because none of them have worked anywhere else. The company as a whole suffers from a complete lack of experience. As for the staff, the hours are long and salary is pitiful.

    Advice to Management

    Be less selfish and self-absorbed. They all know the place is not the best to work, and yet they do nothing about it. If management does not evolve and change and try to improve, why should the staff?


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