Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Beauty and the beast news

As ABC News anchor Bob Woodruff continues to recover from his injuries, there's word among insiders that the weekend bomb blast may keep him off-air. Why? His facial injuries are reportedly extensive, and if there's bad scarring or other disfigurement, that means Woodruff's on-air career is over.

Whether that's true or not, it does bring up one of those bitter truths of this industry. You've got to be good looking if you plan on going anywhere. In television, that's somewhat understandable, because nobody wants to look at someone who looks like shit. But some news directors place more emphasis on looks than abilities.

Take a look at this interesting read on Kacey Montoya, a reporter out in Palm Springs, California. Was she hired for her newsgathering skills, or was it because of (don't click this if you're at work!) pictures like this?

WNEP's Marisa Burke is well-aware of the "look good or don't work" situation. Three years ago, she admitted to having plastic surgery done on her eyelids. Her reasons for doing so were all too valid: "I want to prolong my career in television." Granted, Burke's two decades at WNEP have earned her job security, but what if she was a newly-hired anchor at another market? Different situation, different outcome.

When longtime WDAU news director Tom Powell died in 2004, Debbie Dunleavy had this to say about him. "You could have a wonderful personality or look like you just stepped out of GQ magazine, but if you could not write, he'd tell you to hit the bricks." Judging by what I see on television now, not many people adhere to Powell's philosophy.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Television news, and I do mean local news, is loaded with people who want one thing and one thing only; to be on television. The easiest and quickest route to being on teevee is to find a job on a local station, wherever that might be. That, quite frankly, is the state of the business. Journalists? Good God, with very rare exceptions, no way, no how, not a chance.

7:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thankfully, most people who shouldn't be in television news are scared away by low salaries and long hours.

7:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's been reported that Bob Woodruff turned away from the blast. He may not have any facial "disfigurement." His injuries, according to ABC sources, involve brain swelling and other body injuries, such as a broken collarbone. Don't assume, Howard. Just a reminder, since you based an entire blog involving other unrelated situations on a sweeping generalization revolving around how people look.

9:43 PM  
Blogger Howard Beale said...

I didn't "assume." I posed a hypothetical, and since Woodruff is still in the hospital, it's anyone's guess. The fact he's back in the U.S. for treatment is a very good sign, and hopefully he'll make a full recovery.

And the whole point of this blog isn't to mock how people look, unless they REALLY deserve it. See, now you assumed. :)

12:58 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There has to be a balance between the two, looks and reporting skills. Looks will only get you so far and but they do play a role in television, but in the end if you can deliver the product it really doesn't matter how pretty you are....

9:09 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Her eyelids look fine. Now if she could tone down the "mean lady principal" shouting.

9:53 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ah yes, another reason why I'm **glad** to be in radio ;)

2:27 PM  

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