(The image is from http://www.fanpix.net/picture-gallery/278/82278-katie-couric-picture.htm )
Twenty-nine years later from the Ice Age, CBS finally took a challenging step to break the conventional format of “the all boys club in the evening news”. Katie Couric became the first female solo anchor on the networking evening news broadcast. However, what she drew the viewers’ attention to was mostly her gender and appearance rather than her job as an anchor. Emails about what she was wearing flooded into CBS during her first few weeks on air (Broadcast News: When Women Become Two out of Third by Michele Filgate), and her legs have been one of her trademarks. ABC’s Diane Sawyer took over World News’s chair from Charlie Gibson in December 2009, and as well as Couric, not her talent as a journalist and long-time experience as a co-host of ABC’s “Good Morning America” but her beauty and status as a teen beauty queen became the noteworthy fact for the viewers and other media. “She was accused of being too fetching to be a ‘serious’ journalist” (The Rise of the Female Anchor by Alessandra Stanley).
Such painful tendencies which judge the female broadcasters by their appearances or something which has nothing to do with their works -leaving behind how well they are doing- have been explicit. It is also obvious that most female news reporters and anchors are more likely to be attractive. Viewers demand the nice and acceptable “landscapes” to see not only on MTV but also on news. However, when the female broadcasters become too feminine and too beautiful, viewers cannot help to criticize those “too feminine and not serious broadcasters” as challengers against the traditional structure of broadcasting.
Back to the 70s again, a former NBC female producer of documentaries once said, “There is some visible progress in lower ranks, minimal in the middle ranks, significant progress in on-the-air reporters, and none in management” (Women In Broadcasting (U.S.), edited by Barbara Murray, pg.3). Surprisingly, her statement about women in the broadcasting industry which was made 30 years ago seems to still fit in the situation today. As stated above, the female anchors have achieved to the traditionally male dominant position in the evening news, although controversies and debates which stemmed from their gender have been still hanging around. However, the issue of ownership for women and a strikingly low number of women who are in the decision-making positions have been getting a serious concern in broadcasting, accompanying with the recent movement of media consolidation. An article from the Women’s Media Center says that women own “less that 5 percent of television stations and 6 percent of radio stations” and “compromise only 10 percent of general managers, only 15 percent of programmers, and only 15 percent of on-the-air talent” (Media Ownership: Impact on Minority Ownership and Localism by Carol Jenkins).
As we read through Women in Media Fact Sheet on National Organization for Women (http://www.now.org/issues/media/women_in_media_facts.html), it becomes clearer that women have been losing their places and opportunities to speak out their voices. According to Jonathan Lawson, Reclaim the Media cofounder, because of the media consolidation, 5 or 6 companies have the powerful controls over the whole broadcasting industry today (A Generation of Consolidation: part1 of 2 http://www.youtube.com/profile?user=reelgrrls#p/u/27/VZ01mj0IdTQ). Companies owned by men have cooperated with other companies owned by men, and they have had more power and control over media which influence people’s ways of thinking in many ways. Needless to say, as men gain more control over media, women have loosen it. Isn’t it so unnatural and unbalanced that women have scarce opportunity to express themselves in media when they account for more than half of the population in the
WNN offers not only in-depth feature writings about women’s issues but also videos, publications, activities and links, and they also accept writings and articles from the readers. What I was impressed by WNN beside their high-quality and real journalistic stories is the collection of videos and films. If you go to Women News Network Video Collection (http://vodpod.com/womennewsnetworkvideocollection/womennewsnetwork), you will find over 600 videos featuring women’s news. The overwhelming number of videos and their focus on the international issues not only within the