In broadcast news, visuals are everything. And that doesn’t just mean the videography.
Ever since the early days of broadcast news and the first anchors in the ’50s and early ’60s, appearance has been important. Crisp suits, confident body language and posture, and deftly applied stage makeup are essential for TV personalities no matter the genre.
Here at Excellence in Journalism 2015, JCPenny is sponsoring a booth with free styling advice to help journalists and media professionals become “camera ready.” Complete with sample clothes, and a full makeup and hair set up, stylists spent Friday helping journalists improve their visual appeal.
But, is there a double standard in the expectations for men and women in news?
With makeup, hair, and other cosmetic expectations, women who want to be on television have a lot to do to prepare for a broadcast, and some say it’s an unfair double standard.
While it’s easy to blame the industry for bias in hiring, society comes into play.
“When it comes to on camera presence, appearance will always be important no matter what your gender is, but I think there’s lots more pressure on women. I don’t think it’s an industry issue, but a public issue,” says Ernesto Mourelo, director of digital content for Hearst Television.
With the emphasis on ratings in today’s very competitive media markets, networks have to follow what society wants to see in order to stay ahead.
“It’s sexist, honestly,” says Katy Theringer, NPR Senior Recruiter for News and Content. “Women have to have a certain standard of attractiveness in order to get on-air positions.”
What do you think? Have you ever encountered a double standard in gender expectations in the television industry?