Thursday, August 27, 2009

News You Can Use: They're On Your Side, With Coverage You Can Count On

Where's the remote?
Kill me now.
When the chips are down, isn't it reassuring to know that you've got a team of fresh-faced local newsreaders "On Your Side?"

Local TV News is about as predictable as a visit to Taco Bell. There are several general patterns:
• Male anchorman is permitted to be older than female anchor. He must wear dark suits, power ties, and should appear to be virile and heterosexual. Ideally, he should resemble a corporate CEO. White hair is a plus.
• Female anchor must be slim, young, and wholesomely sexy. Her hair should be longish and styled just like every other anchor woman in the country. Glasses are not permitted. She must be seated on the right side of the screen. She shall not be larger than a size 8, and must always wear jewelry and solid-print clothing. Fake tits are a plus.
• Weatherman is permitted to be wacky and outrageous, and is encouraged to speak with the region's local accent. He is permitted to be gay, as long as his sexual preference is never mentioned on-air. He must entertain us, because weather is incredibly dull. Loud ties are a plus.
• Sports Director is usually an out of shape ex-athlete, and is always a man. He must be a man's man, with a hearty laugh. He is only permitted to talk about football, baseball and basketball. Cleft chins are a plus.

Naturally, when reporting stories, If It Bleeds, It Leads. Next to bloody double-murder suicides, local news usually trumpets stories aimed at Keeping Your Family Safe. Just before the first commercial break, the anchors will tease you to stay tuned for a story that might prevent your children from dying a horrible death.

The beat reporters are all under age 30, all with identical haircuts, suits and speaking voices. They don't appear to be artistic, bohemian, or interesting; they all look like college Republicans. They usually disappear from your TV screen after a year or two, with nary a word of explanation. It's understood that their jobs are so horrible that only the most desperate journalism grad will sign on for the 80 hour weeks at low pay. Attractive female beat reporters will typically retire to marry a local doctor or attorney; male reporters will often move into auto sales or corporate human resources positions. Local websites will debate how "hot" these young beat reporters are, and speculate on why they're no longer on air, until the next crop of young reporters arrive to fill their positions. Wash, rinse, repeat.

It's an unglamorous glamour job.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

so true.
BUT lets make an exception for PBS outlets...George Tomik might fit the stereotype, but not Gerry Bond or Ross fact I'm not sure Ross fits any stereotype.