Monday, January 14, 2008

Spring 2008 - Let the Blogging Commence

So this is the first blog of Spring Semester 2008. You'll have to join this site in order to post so make sure you go through that process. Sometimes i use questions from past semesters (like today's question). In that case you'll be able to read past students' comments. With that introduction, here's this week's post.

One of my favorite movies is "Anchorman" with Will Ferrell. It's great at showing the absurdity that may or may not take place in television news. Recently, a station in Tyler, Texas, hired a model to take over the position of anchorwoman. Needless to say, most of the station didn't like it. The whole thing was captured in a Fox reality show named "Anchorwoman." The station manager thought it was a good idea but people got upset. The reality show itself even flopped after one airing. You can find a summary of all this at Here's my question to you. Do looks matter in television news. Does gender matter? Does race matter? Does youth matter? Who do you want sitting at the anchor desk of your news? Who do you want sitting at a national network's newscast? Give me at least a two paragraph reply, and remember you can also comment on what other people write.


joeli said...

In the television world, I do believe that looks matter. I feel it is unfair and not a good example to give, but unfortunately, it is the way it is. I also believe though, that viewers, while they want to look at someone attractive, they also want their news to be factual and to the point. It does no good to have an incredibly attractive person giving false information. Eventually, as the flop of the reality show proved, looks can only get you so far! As far as gender, race and age are concerned, those are important depending on what demographic the news station reaches. People will listen to someone who they think really gets them and is giving them news that will really help them! I say this because I want someone my age or has the same interests or concerns as me talking to me on the news rather than someone who is in Seattle and 40 years older than me.

I think that a woman as strong and influential as Katie Couric reporting for CBS is just what the younger generation of women need. She is smart, dedicated and has proven she can report on anything. In a world where young women are bombarded with images of Paris Hilton, Britney Spears and Lindsay Lohan, it is nice to give them someone who is in Katie's position. She is the type of person that I would listen to and do listen to in a news report.

Paige P. said...

I don't necessarily think looks do matter. I know that there have been quite a few cities that I have traveled to where the newscasters have not been very attractive. I'm sure that generally speaking they usually are a little more pleasing to the eye, but when it comes down to it, I think people want to hear the news truthfully and possibly with someone who has a brain and not just looks. Both would be great, but not exactly important to myself.

As far as Katie Couric is concerned, I'm not a fan. She is completely monotone and in terms of being attractive, who told her that? I don't think she's even cute. I guess it's how they say, "Beauty is in the eye of the beholder." With her, it definitely must be.

I don't think gender matters at all. I would love to see Diane Sawyer or Robin Roberts on nightly news. I don't think age matters that much either. Charles Gibson, anchor of ABC World News Tonight, is in his 50's and is ranked above Katie Couric and her nightly news show. And I would love to see Diane Sawyer give the nightly news. Or Robin Roberts. Robin is an African American and I think she would do a much better job than Katie Couric. And she has a personality! I don't think that age, race, or gender plays a part in whether or not you want to see someone give the news. I don't think I prefer men over women, or vice versa. I just want someone that can deliver the news truthfully, seriously, and accurately. And hold my attention while doing it. Sorry Katie.

onesirian said...

OK, the question is if all these factors matter in television news? The operative word for me here is television which is a visual medium that most of us can agree is for entertainment purposes. News broadcast by television is midly educational and mildly entertaining - edutainment if you will. Within that framework, we understand every television program is after one thing: higher ratings than the next guy. If that means hiring a buxom blonde model to bounce around and bumble over lines, they will do just that.

Looks matter to those who hire television anchors because they know from psychology we feel more trusting of people we are attracted to. Increased trust yields increased viewership yields increased ratings. I'll skip over the gender question to jump right into race. Yeah! Race absolutley matters in the selection of television anchors. Increased viewership from a particular demographic typically yields a higher chance of that demographic being represented in the form of an anchor. This is not a 100% case by far, but something one notices. Even more interesting, when an African American anchor is chosen a vast majority of the time it will be a person with a lighter complexion rather than darker. Student of African American history and race in America understand this eminates from time-tested fact that whites in this country feel less threatened by people who look more like them...probably goes for everybody. So yes, for the goals that the networks are trying to achieve, all the stated factors matter greatly.

As far as Katie, hats off to her. A smile here, a wink there, pull the 'cute little me' routine in the streets of New York, and you bump RATHER?? THE Dan Rather? And here I thought Michael Vic's decision making processes were questionable...

Sapphire said...

No to me looks doesn't matter in television news. Gender doesn't matter either, nor race matter. Well sometimes youth in some cases matter because they havent experienced enough. I think Katie Couric will do just as well as Dan Rather taking of CBS new. Like Angie Jackson said, People are more like to watch a person they can relate to and rely on to provide factual information.

Dr. Kevin D. Williams said...

please make sure you tell me your name. For example, i don't know who "onesirian" is. I need to give you credit but don't know who you are.

eric alred said...

I think looks do matter but not necessarily in a way we might initially think. When viewing news shows, serious viewers are more concerned with seeing someone who has trustworthy look about them. Walter Cronkite was about as homely looking as they come but the man has the look of someone you could trust and became a cultural icon.

I think it is intersting that Katie Couric was quickly mentioned in the previous postings. Katie was very successful during her stint on the Today show. She is an attractive woman but not ostentatious in her attire or presentation of herself. She appears to be quite intelligent and is a name widely recognized. So, with all that in her favour, why does she and the CBS Evening News consistently bring up the rear in the ratings? You would think she might be a contender for the top spot with all she has going for her.

She does have much going for her but I believe the problem is that she lacks appeal for the demographics of the audience that watches network news in the evenings. All of the things she has going for her would normally appeal to a younger demographic group. Traditionally, evening news viewers are of an older demographic. Younger people tend to get their news from alternative sources such as the internet.

Emma Tate said...

can somone tell me the highest points we can get on the blogging.

Deneka Bluitt said...

I think that when it comes to television most people go by that person looks because, 99% of the time that is what buys the stories and makes some news more important than others. The gender doesn't matter in the news, just as long as the imformation is accurate, important, and what sales to the public. I think in television news looking at a person race does matter depending on the type of story that a news anchor might cover and on what. Well, I really do care who gives me my television news, just long as I know what is happening out there in the world.

I think that Katie Couric does a great job, but sometimes I hard to welcome new faces when for a long time you get used to the same news anchor reporting the news to you. Dan Rather for years have done the best news coverage on anything and anywhere. I hate that he is gone but, I guess sometimes change is good for anybody. It really doesn't matter to me who sits at the national networks newscast because, the only thing I look for is the importance of the information given to me.

Lawrence Lockhart said...

Sorry for the lapse professor, I logged in through my traditional Google account. Onesirian is Lawrence Lockhart, Jr. Thanks for the heads up.


amanda_shirley said...

I think that it does matter what someone looks like when reporting the news and being in the public eye. I also feel that while it does matter, it really should not matter at all. The way someone looks does not determine how smart they are, how determined they are or how skilled they are in their profession. At the same time, people must realize that in order to get ahead, they have to be able to present themselves in a positive manner. People are more likely to watch the news or pay attention to the person reporting the news if the anchor woman or man appeals to them. They need to look professional but personable in order to gain and keep the audience's attention and trust.
While I do believe that a person's appearance matters, I do not believe that race matters. I do however, believe that a person's age may matter because this relates to the amount of experience a person has had.

I think that it is a good thing that Katie Couric is taking over. I think that she has earned it and has proven to be very knowledgable and professional in her field. The audience trusts her to relay them factual information and like her as a person as well. She is a good role model for any woman that is pursuing a career in news media as well as young girls in general who are driven and have high goals in life.

Amanda said...

I think that although it should not matter what a person looks like, anyone who is on television, whether nationally or locally, is looked at differently. I think that news men/women should take pride in their appearance. However, I don't care if the person delivering the news is black or white, man or woman as long as he/she is accurate with the reports. I don't know how other local news channels are, but I watch WLBT out of Jackson and their team is quite diverse. I have noticed that each new cast is basically telling the same story by a different person. I think that this is good because different people can be more sympathetic to different stories.
As for as Katie Couric, I really don't care for her simply for her views and opinions. I think that she lets her views get in the way of how she reports the issues. Therefore, I do have a problem watching her. It doesn't have anything to do with how she looks. Most people probably don't agree with me on this, but I don't think that it should matter what a person looks like as long as the news in conveyed.

Ernie Sumrall said...

I believe that the visual aspect of modern media plays a very strong role in how well that media is received, perceived and believed. Unfortunately, it is nearly impossible to over-ride the development of the human mind with a few generations of PC reprogramming. Looks, Gender, Race, Youth-- like it or not at some level we are all turned on or turned off by what we see when flipping channels. I do believe that we've made great progress in perception of race, but we are still turned off to older, not so attractive females representing the face of the news as we would like to see it.

Consider Katie Couric for a moment. She is perfectly competent at her job. When she reads the teleprompter or repeats the words streaming into her head from the control room, the illusion is nearly perfect. But, does the American public appreciate her? Not really. She's been sent to Iraq in a last ditch effort to create enough sensationalism and buzz to savage her career and the career of the management at cBS.

I personally believe that US Americans are unable to properly appreciate talented anchors such as Katie Couric (or "KC" as we call her) because some of them don't have televisions.. and I believe that our news entertainment industry like such as in South Africa and Iraq and everywhere like such as and I believe that they should uh our entertainment and news industries over HERE in the US should help the US or we should send more help to places like South Africa and Iraq and such. We should help out in places like and such with our experienced anchors so that we will be able to build up our future for our children...

(for those of you who missed it.. the last paragraph was satire and parody. I have saying this... but I know that someone will miss it..and if you did please go to and 'get it'. )

Our society can be very shallow at times. “Video Killed the Radio Star” is not just a mediocre rock song, it is a conviction of the American media consuming public. Very talented, and intelligent musicians will almost always be trumped by the likes of Jessica Simpson. Face it, she’s really easy to look at. If you can stop her from talking out of her cue she’s a hit.

There are two major subconscious motivators to the human brain, propagation of the species (sex) and survival (death). These two major subconscious keys were used quite extensively in the early days of advertising before subliminal tricks were regulated. A startling note, death and sex had an equal affect on the subconscious mind. It seems that the negative or positive feeling was important when trying to get someone to remember a brand name. One had to merely make the very strong subconscious impression. Maybe this is why we all still remember our fallen ‘great’, John F. Kennedy, young powerful good-looking man. Elvis, Anna Nicole, Princess Dianna…no one seems to remember the older troll-like celeb’s when they kick off.

If you want to have a successful news or entertainment BUSINESS, you’d better be able to ATTACT the demographic that you are shopping to your advertisers… otherwise you’d better be able to get a contract with PBS.



Ernie Sumrall said...

P.S., the mis-spellings in my previous post were not satire. Sadly, they were the unintended consequences of my big fat fingers (6'4" 345lbs) on this little bitty keyboard. Clearly, I'd never make it in television.. well , unless Jason or Freddy Kruger



Jed said...

Looks do matter in television news. We must not forget the ultimate goal of any television network or station – to make money. In order to make money in television, you must either sell you station to viewers for a monthly fee or provide it for free and sell advertising. In either case the amount of money made is directly proportional to the number of people who watch the program. Thus television executives are going to hire the person they think will attract the largest number of viewers.

In the case of nightly news, both local and national, the news is prepared in advance by a team of writers and only recited by the anchorman or anchorwoman. Therefore neither the intelligence nor the beliefs of the person delivering the news really matter (as long as they can read the teleprompter). Two import characteristics distinguish one anchorperson for the next: looks and name recognition. The hiring of Katie Couric is an example of network executives hoping that a popular name will boost their ratings. As the number of news programs has increased, viewers can now choose from just about any combination of looks on the person who delivers their news. This leads executives to try sensational tactics in order to increase ratings (such as the swimsuit model in Tyler, TX, or the Naked News in Russia).

As for me, I don’t care who gets the next anchor spot on either local or national news, because I rarely watch television news (except for cable news in passing, but that is more like turning to look at a car wreck). I prefer to get my news through other mediums, namely the Internet and public radio, where looks truly don’t matter.

M. Middleton said...

To me it should not matter who does the news as long as they know what they are talking about. The problem is the networks do not agree most of the time. I am not saying that networks hire models. You just don't see many ugly people as an anchor person. I feel that the reason is, is that the station wants to be precieved a certain way and in turn they hire certain people with a certain look or style. As far as Katie Couric, well she found out that the grass is not always greener on the other side huh. She is still a great anchor in my opinion and it is just the fact that it has got to be hard to replace Dan Rather, he was the king of anchormen. She will find her way, if not, some one else will.

Mark said...

What matters in television journalism? Yes, unfortunately, looks matter now, gender matters now, race to some extent, youth, only in regards to beauty. Primarily because news outlets on television especially, are more interested in ratings than true news reporting. Ratings are directly related to money! Higher ratings generate more expensive commercial time because more people are watching. The puplic seems to want someone who is easy on the eye. Catie Couric is easier on the eye than Dan Rather.

Dan is a vesitge of a by-gone day when journalism was the important thing. Getting the facts right, getting the story out. Actually giving accurate, timely news that, hopefully, no one else has yet. News shows today are more entertainment oriented than news oriented. Scooping, which many of the younger crowd may not even know what that means, is also a thing of the past.

Who I want at the desk? It doesn't matter to me anymore. I am not interested in this type of entertainment style, ratings war. I get what news I want from other methods.

Mark Mize

janice archie said...

janice archie said...
I believe that an anchor person's appeal lies in his or her ability to capture and maintain the audience's attention, from the moment of being viewed, with intelligence and accuracy of knowledge. I do not believe it is an absolute question of gender, race, looks, or age. One of my beliefs is based upon seeing a woman, whom I guessed to be well into her fifties, heading a local news, which had been generally held by younger individuals or males.
Another belief of mine is based on the now canceled FOX program, "Anchorwoman". It was hard for me to take the anchorwoman seriously. When I looked at the program, I thought "PLAY BUNNY", "Are the producers for real?", and "Is this sensationalism, or what?"

I enjoyed Katie Couric on the "Today Show", but have only watched a small segment of her anchoring the Evening News. During the segment, I believed her to be sincere and knowledgable. I believe she has helped to establish that women are just as competent as men.
Someone had to take Dan Rather's position, why not capable and qualifie Katie Couric?

August 30, 2007 8:48 PM

bdog2121 said...

The answer to the question regarding the appearance of television news anchors clearly depends on the individual. Ever since the JFK-Nixon debates in the Sixties, the media has centered the majority of emphasis on appearance. I agree with the notion anchors must have a professional and generally pleasant look. By that, I believe most agree news anchors must have a clean smile and polished hairstyle. In the same notion, Americans are not drawn to news programs based on whether the anchor has the looks of Brad Pitt or Angelina Jolie. Americans want solid journalism that provides facts, a quality extremely hard to find in today's society. In the 21st century, we are not a society concerned with the race or gender of the anchor as long as the facts are reported and the viewer can in turn form their own opinion.

Because of the thirst for facts, the departure of Dan Rather proved to be timely and necessary. Will Katie Couric, his replacement, be able to reinstated credible journalism for CBS? The jury is obviously still out. I have not followed her evening news venture closely but it is clear she is still in a period of adjustment. The difficulty from moving from a fun morning program to a serious news outlet seems to be apparant. Even though she is quite attractive for her age and I am a 21 year old male who enjoys attractive women, I would not place Couric in my newsdesk. I would stick with the late Peter Jennings. He was able to remain neutral in reporting and give information to the viewer without skewering the facts with network opinion. The look is not important. The style makes the news.

Bradley Cook

Anonymous said...

Traditionally, looks have not mattered in the news. Cases in point, Walter Cronkite, Dan Rather, Willard Scott, Al Roker…. However, all the examples above are men. I think that the issue of looks is more centered on women. I think the issue of gender, race, and youth do matter only in reference to what type of audience is being targeted.
I do not really have an opinion regarding Katie Couric. My only thought is that she tends to have a more bubbly personality and the evening news takes a more serious tone. If she is able to find the balance between the two, then I think that she will do a great job. I do not have a preference as to who reports the news. I believe that we, as a country, do not care who reports the national news as long as it is valid and reliable information. Although, having an attractive person reporting does it make it more enjoyable…

Anonymous said...

I just posted under the username of R. I am not sure why it did that. I guess I will need to figure out how to change it.

Thanks Rebecca Zetterholm

Shaunti Calloway said...

Why of course looks matter in the news. It might seem very superficial but looks matter in a whole lot of areas besides the news. People tend to get jobs a whole lot quicker if they are nice looking versus an average looking person. Now days looks get people's foot in the door even if they can't do the job as well as another person. Look at jobs such as pharmaceutical sales for an example. They always gravitate to hiring nice looking people in that particular field.

Gender and race does not matter as much in the news field. I have seen many people with diverse backgrounds that are in the news. I think they choose people of diverse races and genders to appeal to their viewers. I enjoy Katie Couric as the news anchor of CBS. She has proven herself in the news industry and when I view her I just don't view her as being a woman. I view her as someone who is an excellent news anchor. I actually miss her on the Today show! :)

Marques said...

I feel that what a person looks like is very important when reporting news. The news is like Hollywood and you know how looks are thought of in Hollywood they are everything. A reporters looks in my opinion give the reporter credibility. As far as gender, race, age and looks are concerned those are all important aspects to a reporter, because people receive a person better when they can relate.

Personally it does not matter to me that Katie Couric took over for Dan Rather. I think it will be more of a change for the older generation that do not respect women in such a position. As far as her skills as a reporter, she is more than qualified and easy on the eyes

Krm126 said...

I think that looks definitely matter in reporting news. It may be shallow, and even ignorant but realistically we all associate attractive news anchors with quality news reporting or at least, the looks just happen to be a preference. For example, if you were watching a news show and the set had broken down chairs and low quality graphics not to mention the anchorperson, a man, was unshaven and his clothes were wrinkled you would probably change the channel immediately. You would associate the quality of the show with how the show looks, or appears. I believe there is good reason for looks to matter in television; it draws in an audience. And however shallow it may be, it works.

I am happy to see that Katie Couric has taken the place of Dan Rather. She greatly deserves the position. I feel like she has had a great deal to do with the success of NBC. Although she has not moved CBS out of there number three spot of the networks, she has brought a more gentle and even youthful air to CBS, something CBS has long needed. Katie Couric has for years been a trustworthy news source and has always delivered quality information, and she's attractive.

Cathy said...

I think it does matter what you look like in a job for reporting the news. If a company wants to target a young audience then they will place a younger man/woman. They will also want a good looking person. I watch news and I have yet to see someone that really looks bad.

Cathy Lammomns

Emma Tate said...

Making sure my account is still active; been having problems.

joeli said...

I agree with what everyone else has said so far. First of all, I know Amanda said she was joking, but in all honesty, it was TOO hot to do anything else! Even at 7 at night, the temperature was too hot, so a nice indoors movie was really the way to go!

Seriously though, this summer was the summer of the sequels! The sequel movies whether they actually be the second in a row of a series of movies or the third one, such as The Bourne movie or the Pirates of the Caribbean, they were all movies made off of box office hits in previous years. If you have a couple of movies that you saw and they ended up making movie history in the box office, then of course, most people are going to go back and see the next one. They will especially go back if the previews claim that it is the last movie in the series. (we all saw that Pirates will be around for a fourth time, hopefully!) These movies boasted big names, big plots and even bigger box office money making!

I also agree with what "r" said. He said that a lot of the movies were cartoon based or animated films which automatically grabs a child's attention. With children in the United States being out of school during the summer months, it gave them plenty of time to go see these movies. Most children come from homes who have working parents and it is a good family activity to either take your child to the movies yourself when you have free time or have another parent take them to the movies so they can have something to do if the parent has to work. It is a place where they can go and enjoy a nice time!

Quinnon Taylor said...

Though it shouldn't, it is said to say that looks do matter. The quote does say "some people have a FACE for RADIO". For those slow enough to not understand that, it's simply saying that you may have a good voice/presence, but you're unattractive. Furthermore, though looks do SEEM to play an important part of being an anchor and though there is a GENERAL understanding of what it means to be "attractive", the truth is, the idea of "attractiveness" is relative. So who one finds attractive another may find completely repulsive. In that respect, I think that people who employ newscasters (if they do consider a person's appearance a major factor in why that person should/shouldn't be hired) do overestimate the public's desire to have an attractive person report the news. As Angie Jackson said, a person's looks cannot affect how credible of a source they are when reporting information. Also, "overly attractive" people may even be perceived as the least credible (the association of stupidity with blondes, etc).

As far as Katie Couric goes, I am glad that she is taking over because she has really established herself in the field. Furthermore, she does seems easy to relate to and very inviting. She looks like the average late 30s/early 40s mother who wakes up to report the news every day (who just so happens to make millions of dollars doing so, lol). Either way, America has already embraced her and she is a household name (in the field). However, her name does not quite live up to Rather's. In that respect, it may take a while for America to get used to her in that position.

Anonymous said...

As a viewer of the news, I do not consider looks of the person, nor do I consider the gender. What matters to me is the intelligence of the person telling the news. I do not want to see some good looking man reporting the news if he does not know what he is doing. If he stumbles over the words or does not seem believalbe then I do not want to hear him. To me that makes him unattractive.

I also think that the anchorperson should be personable. I want them to reach me. Tell me what is going on in the world in a manner I can understand. The Presidental race is starting to heat up, and some of the reporters in the news complicate the process. It makes it hard to understand what is going on. I like to watch Katie Couric in the afternoons. I can follow what she is telling me about the candidates and the election processes.
Also, I am a military wife. My husband is scheduled to leave for Iraq in July. I want to know what is going on with the war and where we stand. I want to know what the conditions are like in the area he will be stationed. I want the anchorperson to tell me what the conditions are over there, so I know what he will face.

Jessica said...

by: Jessica Hunter
My first answer is obvious, of course looks matter! Who else would show me how I am supposed to look and talk >.> (That was a sarcastic remark) But seriously, America and the rest of the world is obsessed with looks and fashion, of course in the case of anchorwoman, we don’t want an idiot telling us what is going on in the world. You must be articulate...know how to read, you know...little things like that. >.>

Television and movies have always been geared towards looks, skinny is always a plus and unfortunately so is race. I was just telling a coworker today that no matter how many degrees I have (I have 4), no one would ever take me seriously because of the way I look. I am an overweight black woman, that’s about 5 strikes in their favor so they can judge me without getting to know me.

I really don’t care who broadcasts the news, when anchorman Al..what’s his name was overweight I didn’t change the channel because I was too disgusted!! It was all about personality and your ability to deliver bad news and not make it sound so bad, or at least make me feel a glimmer of hope. I think that serious stations want someone who is smart and can deliver the news without worrying about breaking a nail.

sean said...

In today's society appearance and the way the world sees individuals greatly affects media and how media is presented and consumed. In a world where man must live as a civlized informed creature, we must balance the way we see the world. We are driven by natural laws, but we must see what lies beneanth the surface. We as a society are in a struggle between what we want to see and how we want the world to think of us as we watch.

As with the questioned posed, people have and need a natural ability to question the people they gain information. With the news media, we as the public invite these people into our homes to inform us of the world beyond our doorsteps. We need them to help explain the void of information that lives "out there," and just as we choose our friends, the way we precieve them is important. However, just as we accept our freinds for their differences what really matters is inside, and ANCHORWOMAN is a prime example that when it matters appearances don't.

krc said...

I believe looks do matter. People would tend to watch the news with the channel of someone attractive than the channel of someone less attractive. This may not exactly be fair, but I believe that is how the world is today. The newscaster also needs to be knowledgeable about the news and what is going on in the world. People aren't going to watch very long, even if the person is attractive, if they don't have a clue what they are talking about, like in the video clip.

I do not believe race or youth matters very much. As far as the news goes, I do not believe gender matters either. I would watch male or female with news or weather, but I believe the person doing sports should be male. There are females who do know a lot about sports. For instance, football is pretty much a male dominated sport, and I believe people have more faith in a male sportscaster than a female one. I know you were asking about news, and sports isn't really news, but that is my opinion.

elizabeth bowling said...

I think that with television/entertainment in general, looks matter a lot. I do not however think that they matter so much for people who are reporting the news. I think that how they report the news and wheather or not they are credible matters much more than how they look. I also do not feel that gender matters because a woman can report the news just as well as a man. I think Katie Couric along with many other women have more than proved that.

I think youth could be an advantage and a disatvantage because a younger reporter might appeal to younger viewers and bring in more ratings but an older reporter is going to be more experienced and porbably do a better job of reporting the story. As for me I would feel more comfortable with a very experienced reporter reporting the national news to me because I feel that I would be getting the story from a very credible source therfore getting the whole story. I think locally it would not matter as much to me and it would be a good place for a young reporter to get his or her start and begin a career.

NancyH said...

Of course it matters what the anchor looks like. Although, I sometimes question that, when I'm getting ready for work at 5 am and someone has called in sick to the news desk and the fill in person is looking kind of unbeautified. It is 5 am afterall, so, I for one, am very forgiving. The male anchors, it seems to me, pull off that time slot better than the women.
People would rather look at a nice looking person on the television than a plain or ugly one. I would think that each news production manager would have this on their mind when they go on air. Personally, I don't really care who is telling the news, I just wish it wasn't so full of information that we could all do without, such as movie star fights with spouses and the little stupid junk like that. Just give me the important facts, accurate weather and traffic reports and I am good.

Rosie said...

I have to agree with onesirian. Television news is part entertainment. It is all about the ratings game and who can generate the highest ratings. I do think that gender plays a part also, look how long it took Katie Couric to become anchor. Paige I have to agree with you to Katie is bland and speaks in monotone and not one of my favorite people to watch either, but she has the “cute girl next door look” that so many people like. Age I think plays part to especially where women are concerned. Once a woman starts to show her age she will be out of a job, but not for men.

As for race it also has plays a part. If a network hired an African American Anchor, he or she would not be dark skinned. Not only does this exist news, if you will look at music videos you will see more lighter skinned young men and women than darker skinned in the videos.

Tessa Horn said...

In my opinion, looks to an extent matter. However, everyone has their own opinion. Although people who are attractive are valued more, I try not to by bias. However, I prefer looking at someone who is generally attractive. I would not want to watch a news anchor that is missing their front teeth or have hair growing out of their nose and ears. Recently 20/20 reported on a black news anchor that has vitiligo which is a chronic skin condition that causes loss of pigment, resulting in white spots appearing on the skin usually occurring on both sides of the body in the same location. He wears makeup on a daily basis, but recently did a special with no makeup and the response to him being “real” was amazing.

As far as gender, race, and age are concerned these also matter to an extent. I think that these factors depend greatly on the location of the news and what audience that station is catering to. When watching the news, I want facts both good and bad (preferably more good than bad). I prefer someone who is flexible, sees others points of view, correctly enunciates words, and most importantly speaks correct English.

Deanna Wilson said...

As bad as it may seem, I think looks definitely do matter to a certain extent in the television world. I have been to many different places and I can’t remember too many times when I have seen a really unattractive person sitting behind the desk. I think news companies want the best of both worlds. They want someone who is going to be easy on the eyes, but they also want someone who is smart. News companies want someone who is going to form a connection and gain trust from the audience. I actually remember hearing about the reality show with the model anchorwoman and I think people did not like it because it seemed like they were making a joke out of the news. I am sure that television station has probably lost some of its credibility and trust from its viewers; therefore losing money.

Personally, I want to feel like I can trust the person giving me the news. It doesn’t matter if that person is male, female, young, old, fat, skinny, black, white, etc. I do not have a preference to who is giving me the news as long as they are giving me the facts. I think most people want to have a connection to their news source. Many people are loyal to their news network because they trust them; not because they are attractive, female, or black. If a network can form that trust, I think it will help with their ratings. Thus, leaving the company and the viewers happy.

Heather Noble said...

I think that looks matter to a certain degree. After working as a reporter for a year its was pretty evident at my station that the news director was concerned with the overall appearance of the on-air talent, but she was also concerned with the gender and racial balance of all on-air talent. Sometimes the need for a particular gender or race this became the overriding characteristic for hiring. There were other factors such as tone of voice and interaction between their counterparts, but looks did play a large part in at least getting an interview with the news director.

However, I do not believe that looks are the only thing that leads the viewing public to certain stations. That might get them to tune in once but if you can't be taken seriously, viewers will find someone more appropriate to deliver the news. I think to truly be successful in the news industry you have to establish a level of credibility. On-air talent can be googled to see the background of each on-air personality, pages on social networking sites such as mySpace or Facebook have become so prevalent that the reporters have to be careful what is posted online because one false step can cause serious damage to your credibility and reputation. If you refer to the anchor in Philadelphia that was first brought to national attention for sending risque photographs to a married man, she instantly lost credibility as someone that could be trusted to deliver accurate news accounts. If this weren't enough, she was later fired for assaulting a police officer in NYC. While beautiful her reputation has suffered due to choices that she has made in her personal life.

While looks do play a role in television news, I think that being able to establish yourself as a credible source will have more impact as your career progresses.

Barbara said...

Looks matter on television because people hire and listen to people based on appearance. Looks also matter in our society because we respond to first impression and powerful imagery and we tend to seek out beautiful and stylish people. Race, gender, looks all play significant role in the media. News anchors are practically always attractive because humans naturally respond better to attractive people. Women must speak sternly and carry themselves with a confident posture. Women have to be careful not to be too stern because they will then take on a negative role. The audience makes a difference when discussing race. It is often harder for minorities to gain the respect they deserve. Women and minorities are often categorized. Women are seen as soft push-overs who cannot possibly think as well as a man.

Leeanna McVay said...

I think that looks play a part in being an effective news anchor. I think viewers will pay more attention to what an attractive person has to say than one that is unattractive. Regardless of if this a fair thing or not, I think it is simply human nature. The mind will pay attention to what the eye is drawn to.

I do not think that race, gender, or youth has an effect on being a successful news anchor. I think that the anchor must be smart, articulate, and easy to listen to. In my experience with my hometown's local news, I remember some anchors that simply did not deliver the news as effectively as others. I don't think I could pinpoint specifically something those anchors did wrong, they simply were not able to report the news as well as others. I think it probably takes some level of talent to be able to get in front of a camera and focus well enough to report news. That in itself crosses over the barriers of race, gender, and age.

Anonymous said...

I do not feel that race or gender should matter in news or sports, Although, some may beg to differ. Although, I do feel that age might hold a key factor in the viewpoints of others and truthfully myself. I know one day and one day soon I am not going to want someone to discriminate against my age but when it comes to someone giving important news or concerns about our nation I would much rather have someone a little older than myself, that might be a little more informed due to older age. Then again I guess everybodys gotta start somewhere, and if you have a teleproctor infront of you feeding you what you need to say, everybody can make since.

As far as looks go.. I think that does matter ALOT in television, as sad as it is. But i think I can speak for most people when I say it is alot easier to watch people on tv that are attractive opposed to not, because as sad as it is, it is had not to focus on flaws or dislikes.

Lauren said...

I do believe that looks matter when it comes to television. It may not seem fair...but people do tend to pay more attention to attractive people. Most people tend to view attractive people as more credible, also. I am not saying that news people should be BEAUTIFUL, but they should be pleasant to look at. However, I do believe that someone to made up can also cause a distraction. Gender, race, and age are also important when it comes to television and news. People identify better with people who are similar to them. As Joeli said on her comment, it depends on the demographics.

I really enjoy Robin Roberts and Diane Sawyer on Good Morning America. Robin Roberts is from Mississippi which makes it easy to identify with her. She is a southern girl who made it to New York City! She seems so down to earth. Diane Sawyer always appears as such a lady. They are both very smart women and it is easy to see that they love their profession!

trj24 said...

Looks matter. That's a fact. It's a shame but its it fact. In the news profession you a judged based on how you look before you ever open you mouth to speak.

trj24 said...

Looks matter. It's a shame but it's a fact. You have to look a certain way when your profession requires being in front of the camera.

When I tell a person what my major is or what my career goals are the main response I get is "yeah you look like a news reporter".

Gender, race, and age are equally important. I think news stations want to try to represent the people in their community in front of the camera so they want to try to keep the reporters diverse. As far as Katie Couric, she bores me. I think she is very intelligent though. I also agree with the other bloggers she can influence young women because she is proof you don't have to be all that cute to make it in this profession.

Toni said...

Yes, I believe looks matter in the world of television. Sadly, that is the way our world works. However, someone's looks may get your attention, but as with anything else, if what they are saying isn't worth listening to then eventually you are going to lose interest. So, I think looks matter, but so does intelligence. You have to know what you are talking about in order to keep an audience. We want someone with knowledge of what they are speaking of, not just a "pretty face."

Robert said...

Looks do matter to everyone. In certain jobs they can mean everything. Obviously, if you are a model, they are essential to the job, but in the news media, there seems to be a double standard or at least a different type of aesthetic standard.

Women anchors are expected to look nice. If not breathtakingly gorgeous, then at least pleasant looking and younger. Men are to be older, wiser looking. How many major news anchors are young men? Even Anderson Cooper mysteriously went totally silver haired when he landed his 360 program. With men it seems to be credibility and with women it is usually about how they look on camera.

Personally I would like to see some younger men giving the news, though I am a bit of a hypocrite here. I don't tend to want to vote for younger-looking presidential candidates! I want my leader to have as much experience to draw from as he can have! I suppose that people are the same about their news anchors.

Farzana said...

Dr Williams, I am on here belatedly as I've finally found my way out of the Dutch blogger sign up.

To answer the question: Generally speaking, it has long been known that looks matter - those who are deemed attractive are higher paid, are more sought out, are considered more intellegient and are more trusted than their plainer coutnerparts. With regards to the news, the last two points is highly relevant from the perspective of the audience. Granted, the anchorman/woman only regurgitates the news as supplied by skilled reporters and writers, and granted, the network is after ratings - an attractive face behindn the desk will naturally ellicit trust and lure watchers to tune in. Interestingly, in my home country of Bangladesh, back when there was only one public television channel, the nightly English news was read by Bengali men and women who boasted a flawless Ox-bridge accent. As always, it's about presentation and coming across as smart.

There are some redeeming points, however. First, in the US at least, race is slowly becoming less and less of a barrier, so that there are men and women of various ethnicities who get on primetime television (CNN International has had newsreaders from across the spectrum). Regarding age - I think older figures (such as Dan Rather) look reliable and trust-worthy. I read with interest comments from a classmate that she preferred her news to come from someone her own age.

As we all agree, it does not make a practical difference as anchors don't write or analyze the news, they just read it. None of these factors should matter, and don't matter when the news source is radio or internet (in which case, other "presentation" factors will weigh more - such as a soothing voice for radio news). But the media works with human psychology. If we are not repelled by an image, we are likely to stay and listen.

This begs the question of whether our societal values inform the media, or whether media shapes our values, but I have a feeling this question will cone further down the semester.

Rebecca said...

In television world, looks really matter to most people. Sometimes societ/public perfer to see an attractive face, sometimes that can motivate individual(s)to watch television Gender and race, I don't believe play an important role. I personally believe as long as the reporters give accurate information, is skilled oriented, and have a passion for the job then it shouldn't matter.

Who do I want sitting at the anchor desk of news, I do not have a preference, if I had to choose a person it probably would be myself, but I do believe whoever reports the news we as a country do not care as long as it's a true story.

Gunner said...

I do think that looks do matter in television appearances. Not only does appearance matter but also the person should not be stupid and not be aware of what is going on. There are too many people that are telling the news on t.v. that are very attractive but are so dense acting. I can remember one time in particular when I was younger that I laughed so hard at a woman that was an older lady who acted like she was lost in what she was talking about. While she was talking, all that I could focus on was her gigantic clipon earrings and guess what, it got looser and looser and fell off!!! Histerical!!! I laughed so hard!!! Before people are allowed to tell news or give any kind of information on t.v., someone needs to check them out!
Heather F.

Mari said...

Looks, race, youth and gender all matter because a television station is a business and the goal is to make money and please their audience. Most television stations would prefer a youthful male or female with good looks and both having a great voice. John Johnson is a local newscaster with WTOK and he is an older male; however, he looks great on camera and the public loves him. I watch CNN because Anderson Cooper looks great and he delivers the news good. Meaning, even when he is delivering bad news it doesn’t seem bad because of his deliver style and looks.

I prefer watching someone who is mature and knows what they are talking about. Someone who can add comments to the story but does not sound stupid. I mostly watch CNN and FOX News because both have mature newscaster and they care about what is perceived by their audience.

Roslyn W. said...

In today's world looks does matter to the society and the media and probably the veiwers at home as well. Women would probably love to see a handsome man delivering the news report with pretty teeth and well dressed who knows his news with a body to go along with it. In my opinion it really doesn't matter whether it's a male or female as long as the news information is understandable and percise. It doesn't turn me on to look at the anchor person because the news presented is too distracting. I am guesting that if men had their choice they would most likely choose an anchorwoman, instead of an anchorman for their own specific reasons.

The television media and celebrity lifestyle seem to have a certain appearance that they would like to portray, such as looking skinny or having plastic survey done to enhance their beauty. Most television shows would rather have a petite young or middle aged anchorperson to promote ratings. Whether black or white, the news producers would probably hire a young athletic person than an older individual for television appearance. The news channels and radio now have more bad to say than good and that is what we should really be focused on instead of who is looking good telling the bad news. News is news whether told by a young sexy person or told by a grandparent figure.