No Experience Necessary?

Reality TV has done it all: played a game of survivor on a deserted island, made famous people dance and even tried to find everlasting love. So why not journey into the world of television news.

Another network is debuting the program “Anchorwoman” – a reality show based upon a station in Tyler, Texas hiring Lauren Jones. She is a former swimsuit model with no journalistic experience and her co-stars are the real life anchors, reporters and producers at the CBS station in Tyler.

As you might imagine, her hiring has caused quite a firestorm among those in the world of broadcast news. Some say her hiring is making a mockery of those who legitimately worked their way up the often treacherous ladder of TV news to get to where they are today. Some of the griping might be legitimate, some might be jealously — though I think there would be controversy if she wasn’t a blond swimsuit model.

I have not seen the show – or the woman at the center of it – but just like the Don Imus case I believe the public should decide. If people prefer their news from experienced people, the ratings will let you know. If they prefer pretty people with little news background, the ratings will reflect that as well.

TV news has always had to strike an uncomfortable balance — serious journalism with presenting a visually pleasing broadcast and part of that formula has always included attractive men and women. This latest experiment takes it to an extreme but shows what many think television is all about – looks.

Look folks, I’ve never considered myself a “journalist”. I think the term is too stuffy what I do. I’m a reporter who goes out and tells stories and I’m an anchor who gets on the set and tries to convey information in a manner viewers can digest and understand.

I’m not angered or upset – after all, “Anchorwoman” is a reality show and that’s the way it’s being presented. Also, performance in front of the camera is a crucial component of what we do as broadcasters and if someone has a natural talent in front of the lens, I think that should be considered a positive. I just hope that after people she this program, they don’t think that a;; we do is read a TelePrompTer. Then again, some probably think that already.


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