Thursday, January 27, 2011

Do TV Journalists Have to be Attractive?

A MINNESOTA NEWS anchor received complaints about an outfit she wore while on air one evening.

Does it matter what the news people look like? Shouldn't viewers be focused on what the journalists say?

AOL reported on a new study that says "male viewers snap to attention at the sight of a female anchor they find attractive, but are distracted by her looks and therefore less likely to remember what she had to say."

Does being attractive help or hurt you as a broadcast journalist?

14 comments:

K. Chung said...

A journalist should be appropriately attired as if they were working in an office building or any other professional setting. If they happen to be whatever a viewer deems as 'good looking' and it holds their attention, so be it, but as long as what they wear does not detract from the importance of them producing and reporting on an unbiased story, then there's no harm in being good looking

Sarah Mariano said...

I agree with Chung. They should dress like a professional, but you can't help it if someone finds a journalists outfit attractive.

Imani Abdus-Saboor said...

As I am interested in the fashion industry aspect of journalism, I believe that it is very important that a journalist always dress appropriately. Dressing professionally sends a positive message to the viewers that you care about your job and take it seriously. For example, if someone doing a backstage Marc Jacobs interview had on sweats and a t-shirt, honestly I would not take them very seriously. On the other hand, you cannot help if you are considered attractive or not.

Torr said...

I agree with everyone above that journalists have a responsibility to dress professionally in order to gain respect from their audience. Attire that is appropriate and attractive, however, can sometimes be two different things. For example, the reporter in the screen shot looks professional enough to get by, but she doesn't look particularly attractive. Though it may be shallow, journalists on television have a responsibility to be pleasant to look at. There is such a thing as a "face for radio", and when visuals are a required part of your job, it is imperative that you look presentable and attractive every time you're on camera.

Julie said...

I think it can be a win/lose situation. While the aesthetics of an attractive female Journalist may help boost ratings from male viewers, her looks may also take away from the main objective of the the news story. Obviously professional attire is expected, but if her outfits are being criticized, then maybe there's a larger problem at hand. Maybe people are not even focusing on the importance of news delivery anymore and are instead only worrying about how the anchors are portrayed on camera.

Erik Lexie said...

I would dispute the notion that journalists should have to dress professionally to earn respect. It may be that a lot of people in our society won't respect them based on what they're wearing, but I think that's stupid. We should take them seriously or not based on the quality of their reporting.

billydelion75 said...

Absolutely!, It matters. I'm not saying that is right, but it is realistically how it is. Physical appearance is a direct impact on viewers ratings. It's a shame to have to admit this about my own society, and gender, BUT if you put a hot anchorwoman on a news channel there will be a marked movement of male viewers to that channel. Yes we are that shallow. Physical appearance should not matter, and I do not say that from a pedestal. I am equally guilty of not dating a woman who I had many things in common and very much enjoyed their company simply because of their looks. I am not proud but it's honest. We hold appearance at the very top of most of our lists when assessing someone.

Geo said...

Yeah .. and besides, you can't trust ugly broadcast journalists. They'll say anything to keep you watching!

- George
(the teacher who is trying to make a joke about how superficial we are as a society)

Alysse Pujol said...

I don't think an anchor has to physically be that attractive to be an anchor. Not all have been. I do believe that they should follow a certain dress code though because it is appropriate to be business-like on air. It isn't exactly an anchors job to "look good," their job to to report the new. Maybe people should just be more worried about what is being reported at hand rather than what an anchor is wearing.

crystal nyman said...

I agree with the idea that it is not necessarily important for an anchor or reporter to be attractive, but it is important for them to present themselves as a professional person and follow a dress code that is not distracting from the information they are reporting. There is the factor that each news station wants to be the highest ranked, and people pay attention to attractive people. Take for instance Erin Andrews, a popular sportscaster today. She was voted sexiest news reporter in 2007, then in 2009 she was caught naked in her hotel room. Although Andrews didn't intend for this to happen, it did and as we see on the page today, she is now a voice for Reebok. All-in-all, as a consumer I do not believe that it is important to have an attractive anchor, and it could arguably be noted that the attractive ones distract people from the news they are reporting. I do however understand why stations want to have good looking anchors reporting the news.

Chase Grier said...

"...journalists on television have a responsibility to be pleasant to look at." Girl, have you lost your mind? In my opinion, it's thoughts like that that are driving newspapers into the ground and forcing earlier and earlier editions of t.v. news upon us all. News is news (or so I thought), not the runway or an episode of something on Bravo.

Even Garrison Keillor could get by on television in my eyes, so long as he isn't wearing that white jacket in the shot above. It looks tacky as hell.

Aaron Stevens said...

Well I think the Huck finn is a part of our socie....o wait that's not what the discussion is about (anyone else think that the actual story is a great discussion piece, I really could not care less on whatever she was wearing) If someone has to spend their time writing to someone because of a jacket choice they need to get up from their high school desk graduate and join the rest of us adults. Oh and Huck Finn should stay the way it is because it has historical and present day relevance. Sorry had to make this discussion more meaningful.

Sarah D'Agostino said...

When did the Fashion Police get hired?

Your job as a news anchor is to maintain professionalism while reporting to the public. Not to physically attract them. People are absurd sometimes, she looks fine.

Courtney Thomas said...

This is a debate about what should be versus what is. Journalists are professionals, and as such, are expected and required to dress appropriately. Not everyone is exceedingly pleasant to look at, and if someone is average-looking or unpleasant to look at, as long as they are dressed professionally, they should be taken seriously. Good looks do not necessarily mean a good mind.

However, society as a whole has become incredibly superficial, and sometimes does equate good looks with intelligence. As much as the job of the journalist should be to report the news in an unbiased fashion, conforming to societal standards of beauty and dress are also expected. Is that "right"? No. Is it accepted? You bet.