Monday, July 24, 2006

GUYS HATE DOING TV NEWS

Here is yet another article, this time from the Washington Post, detailing the flight of the male of the species away from the increasingly female-dominated field of TV news.

I already ranted and raved about my own theories- about how this has become a vanity business based on Q-ratings and looks and all that and that this turns guys right off, and that guys are fed up with all the emotive, Dateline NBC-type stories they do at every level of the TV news business. What self-respecting male wants to do that? Yecch.

Beyond that, though, it's really difficult for guys to be able to do the type of things they really want to do in broadcasting, largely because of cuts. I'm sure a lot of guys out there would pursue broadcasting in a moment if they knew it would lead them to something cool, something they'd enjoy doing. Ask most guys what places would be dream gigs in broadcasting, and it would NOT be CNN or these evening news shows! Instead, they'd probably mention CNBC or ESPN. Why? Because they love these channels! The reporters and anchors there get to do "guy stuff". They cover sports, or stocks and bonds! The on-air guys get to rant and rave and show their personalities, and nobody cares if they are balding or getting old! James Cramer has got to be the ugliest man on TV, but he's got a lot of respect from people who love his show and his wild-man act on CNBC.

Not only are these gigs cool in their own right, but they can lead to lots of other opportunities to do things like host talk shows (ie. Keith Olbermann). But how the heck are you ever going to get a chance to do that sort of thing if you're stuck in Podunk, N.Y. at Channel 3 Action News, having to adhere to a certain "look" while covering cookie-cutter crime news or these "emotional" stories? Beats me. Sports has been cut everywhere, and financial TV news jobs can be hard to get because there are few places that do that sort of thing these days, especially since the dot-com bust. In fact, doing local TV news is no good if you want to do financial news. You're better off writing for the Wall Street Journal or somewhere if you want to go that direction. In fact most of these CNBC folks never worked in local TV news, many of them got their starts as writers and production assistants for these financial channels. Or they came out of Wall Street, like Cramer did.

In fact, just the thought of working at an Action News or an Eyewitness News turns a lot of guys off; who wants to be Ron Burgundy. Let's face it, TV news has an image problem. If the folks in the TV news business can figure out a way for guys to pursue the sorts of broadcasting gigs that might actually interest them, instead of forcing these folks to take unstable, low-paying news jobs in the boonies which demand them to look like some TV news "hunk" all the time (ie. Matt Lauer or Stone Phillips), please let us know.

( Me, I'd still be interested in TV news if I knew for darned sure that I'd get a shot doing legal affairs reporting and covering these sensational major trials. That is what I'd really want to do: go the Geraldo route. And that's yet another issue: so many people in the TV news business trash Geraldo and these stories he does, and trashed OJ and trashed Michael Jackson, and all these other legal stories like the Enron case and the Martha Stewart trial. How the heck do you pursue a career covering trials when so many people within the TV business trash these stories and the people who cover them? You're risking getting labeled a tabloid artist! Another reason to forget about TV news and try your luck writing screenplays for Hollywood instead. )

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