Women as News Anchors

Topics: NBC Nightly News, CBS Evening News, Woman Pages: 11 (3651 words) Published: October 8, 1999
Women As News Anchors

Women in all careers are striving to gain equality in the work force today, and female television news anchors are definitely part of the fight. The road to television news anchoring is a rocky one, where only a few women survive and many fail. Where progress was once thought to have been made, there aren't many females getting ahead in the world of television news. Today, there is a very slow, if any, gain in the numbers of women who succeed.

There are many questions surrounding the subject of women in television news, and I will attempt to answer relevant ones in this paper. How have the women that actually make it to the top and succeed as anchorwomen, done it? What does it take to make it? Why do those few endure it/enjoy it? Why has it been and still is difficult for women? What are the expectations of women in the field, as opposed to the expectations of men?

I am interested in this topic because I once aspired to become a television broadcaster. I still have inspiration in me, but not quite as much due to the negative and discouraging aspects I have heard about in classes and in the media. I am not sure that I could be happy in a career such as this, and I know there are great difficulties in "making it" in this profession. I have read about the incredible ambition of successful females in television news, and it seems like it takes a special kind of passion to want to keep up in the business.

I kept my questions in mind when gathering research material. While focusing on the key questions, I was able to find information that led me to form answers to them. Christine Craft's biography told of her individual experience of being fired on the basis of her looks and her age. I realized from reading her story that she had a "nose for news", a passion for telling it to the world, and a unique spark that made her a good journalist, yet those qualities weren't enough in her case. She took that passion and spark, filed a sexual discrimination case and won.

Hard News: Women in Broadcast Journalism had a few chapters that were relevant to today, and I could draw on some information for my paper. However, much of the information was historical and not helpful to answering my questions.

Battling for News concentrated mainly on print journalism. There was material about the first women in broadcasting in the 1950's and how they were hired and fired.
Television News Anchors had very helpful information, in that there were individual stories from anchorwomen telling of their experiences. This provided stories about the women who have succeeded within the field--why and how. There was a round table discussion conducted by The New Mother Jones magazine with television newswomen Linda Ellerbee, Marion Goldin, Ann Rubenstein, and Meredith Vieira. This provided first-hand opinions about what these women see going on in the business.

Women in Television News was published in 1976, and thus, much of the information was outdated. However, I was able to use some quotes from newswomen about what they believe one must do to "make it" in broadcast journalism. I also found some interesting quotes from a former vice president of ABC News regarding women in the industry.

Waiting for Prime Time had valuable information about Marlene Sander's experience and opinions of other anchorwomen and men. It covered possibilities for the future of women in broadcasting.
Pamela Creedon's two books were helpful in that they discussed topics of sexual discrimination in broadcast journalism and included a chapter by Marlene Sanders, titled "The Face of the Network News is Male." Here she attempted to tackle some problems women in television news face: what the problems are, why they exist, and a bit about what needs to be done to cure these problems.

Liesbet van Zoonen's book included a chapter titled "Media Production and the Encoding of Gender." It showed how society views women in the media....
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