Unanchored: Things you never knew about the news...because you didn't care to find out

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Unanchored: Things that you never knew, because you didn't care to find out.

Byron's pieces may primarily serve as exposes, lamenting the degradation of news coverage, though I think that the "secrets" he was exposing were rather mild.  In the section "Polished, Cordial, and Believable," Byron states that some anchors "read the news better than they understand it."  My reaction to this was, so what?  Personally, when I sit down to watch the news, I want the anchor to tell me what's going on, to read the scrolling text, not explain possible political or economical ramifications of the event to me.  This "reading better than understanding" also seemed like a perfectly natural trait for a person to have.  After all, the anchor isn't given a half hour to mull over what he/she read; the reading has to be done for those of us not sitting behind an anchor's desk.

Much time in the article is also spent criticizing the amount of time an anchor spends on his/her appearance.  Again, this revelation was met with apathy.  If I were going to be on television, I would definitely approve of someone else taking the time to make sure I looked "professional, human, and unruffled."  Though Byron's point seemed to be that the anchor's are not as involved in the news as many are led to believe, again I say yawn.  Is it really that huge of a deceit if the anchors are not actually out in the trenches collecting news five minutes before they are to go on air?  Instead, it seems to me that the anchors are doing what they get paid for: bringing in viewers.  If that means they have to spend two hours on hair and make-up, then perhaps we should be complimenting them on their job choice instead of treating their grooming time as some sort of personal betrayal. 

 

1 Comments

You make a great point in saying how anchors' jobs are really just to read the news in a way that appeals to the viewers. In my blog, I said their job really isn't different from most actors'. I think what upsets Byron is the fact that these people are often made to look like they're reporters in the trenches when they really aren't. This artificiality is represented in other aspects of the news-gathering process because the people who write the copy often tend to be less experienced people who are really more interested in a career in television than being hardcore journalists. I do think that there is a problem when there is more energy devoted to keeping up pleasant appearances than finding news and conveying it in a truthful way. It's important for news anchors to be good public speakers, but when they become too much like talk show hosts, I think it takes away from the integrity of TV journalism.

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