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
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.
The expectations of female anchorwomen in part stems from the overall view of
women on television--whether it be in a movie, music video, or soap opera. This
was relevant to my paper in answering the question of why there are certain
expectations of women in television news.
The textbook, Gender, Race and Class in Media had a few chapters
relevant to my paper. Larry Gross wrote a chapter titled, "Out of the
Mainstream: Sexual Minorities and Mass Media." He discussed various stereotypes
in our society that lead to