Stop “Barbie-tizing” The Newsroom!


Now, a question came up in this week’s #journchat, that really struck a chord with me. 140 characters just isn’t enough to explain it. The question was: “PER @Sarah_millar Opinions on Journalism Barbie?” (See also this LA Times article.

Barbies, like “journalism barbie,” promote stereotypes and essentially make a mockery about women’s career choices. Subconsciously, it is invoking in little girls that women are supposed to be “well-dressed sex symbols” in the newsroom. Think about it. Journalism barbie is presumably a TV anchor, who is super-skinny and wearing tons of makeup and what can only be described as a shiny pink velvet suit.

TV anchors, well at least good anchors, are some of the hardest working journalists out there. As someone who has worked in TV news, I can attest that a lot of hard work goes into a TV newscast.

For one, the vast majority of anchors don’t start as anchors. They start out as entry-level reporters or production assistants. They have to earn their way to the news desk. Often times, by reporting about City Council and Zoning Meetings in a small podunk town or answering phone calls and listening to scanners on the assignment desk.

Two, when starting out, TV news is far from the glamour that “journalism barbie” portrays. The pay is lousy and the hours are long, often times ridiculously long. You figure out real quick that you have to be passionate to survive in this industry. Because, this industry is a cruel business, and will push you to your limit. Guaranteed!

Three: Even if you become a TV anchor, there is still plenty of hard work that comes with the territory. With newsroom staff cuts, many anchors are being forced to produce their own show. That means in addition to their anchor duties, they are also required to stack and write their own show.

Finally unless, you are Brian Williams, Dianne Sawyer or Matt Lauer, you aren’t bringing home the “big bucks.” Anchors in medium and large markets make a decent living, but it’s far from the glamour and high celebrity life that young girls will envision.

So keep in mind. The female TV anchor you see on the 6 p.m. news is educated and puts in long, hard hours for her job just like every other hard-working career woman.

I will leave you with this point. Why isn’t their a journalism “Ken” doll? I’d love to hear your opinion on this topic. Please share your comments below.

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Jessica Malnik

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