Friday, October 25, 2013

COMMENTARY: A Sad State of Affairs in TV News

WACH news anchors Darryl Hood
and Bree Boyce.
Just because "The Camera Loves Her” doesn’t mean Bree Boyce is qualified to anchor a newscast.  This article in the Free Times (Columbia, SC) written by Otis Taylor, whose work I have enjoyed and respected for many years— seems to take the glossy approach to a ludicrous hire that makes me wonder if television news has come full circle when it comes to hiring some people, particularly women, for frontline anchor positions.  It seems to feed the notion that it's okay for a main co-anchor of a newscast to have no other credentials but a pretty face, a pageant title and the fact that she lost a life changing 100 pounds.  I was astounded when I first heard of this move by WACH-TV, my former employer, and I remain astounded to this day.

My frustration is not rooted in anything personal against Ms. Boyce.  I have never met her. My frustration is rooted in the poor messages this hire sends to the community and to all of the aspiring young broadcast journalists spending tens of thousands of dollars of their money, their parents' money, scholarship dollars and grants to get formal training for a career that apparently requires only a certain level of celebrity and beauty to obtain.  Students, forget about all that crap your college professors and other professionals who visited your classes told you about "paying your dues" or "having to cut your teeth in Podunkville, USA" before you get the chance to anchor a newscast in a place like Columbia, or better.  Don’t worry about learning the craft or gaining experience.  Just go out and do something that garners you major attention because those are the people television station general managers favor for anchor slots— one of the most high profile and significantly important jobs in the newsroom-- over formally trained and experienced journalists.