Friday, April 20, 2007
Monday, March 12, 2007
The Woodruff Juggernaut
Yes, the Bob Woodruff Juggernaut rolls on -- most recently, in Detroit. Not that there's anything at all wrong with that.
In fact, there is a lot right with the way we are being re-introduced to the former ABC World News Tonight anchor who was gravely injured in an Iraqi blast early last year.
In the recent ABC special in which we got details of the blast, Woodruff's recovery, and the resulting book, producers wisely chose not to focus solely on Woodruff's ordeal. Not that an hour couldn't have been taken up with his story. It's just that a reporter is not supposed to be the story. It is undeniable that. were he not a celebrity, Woodruff's injury would have been worthy of no more attention than the tens of thousands of others that have occurred every day since the invasion.
So, the producers did the wise thing. They gave us roughly half an hour of Woodruff's story, then switched to the equally heartbreaking accounts of soldiers who have suffered disfiguring, life-altering injuries under similar circumstances. These soldiers have received far less attention than the regrettable death toll, and it was time to see a real generational tragedy up close. But not to be a total downer, we saw how the medical community is performing miracles daily on many of these soldiers and, yes, Woodruff himself. It was an admirable hour, and an emotional one as well.
Monday, October 02, 2006
Guys Not Wanted?
The Minneapolis-St. Paul Star Tribune recently ran a story called The Disappearing Male TV Anchor. Reading it for me was another one of those "We're not in Kansas anymore" moments that become more and more frequent with...ahem...maturity. When I was in college in the 70s, taking my first tentative steps into TV with internships, on-air males were the rule, not the exception. The CBS affiliate where I interned had co-anchors at 6 and 11...but they were both male. There were women in the newsroom, but they were, for the most part, reporters. There was a female anchor at noon, but 6 and 11 were the sacred casts that weren't quite ready for the groundbreaking move of including an anchor who represents more than 50% of the population. Now, we learn (with the Twin Cities as an example) that the number of male anchors is at an all-time low -- percentage-wise they now represent only 43% of news anchors, and it's been dropping for ten years now.
And why is this happening? Well, it turns out that money's behind it. The article quotes the Bureau of Labor Statistics as saying the median anchor salary in 2004 was $31,320...not exactly a perk in the business world of the 21st century. Get this -- 10% of anchors earn less than $18,470! Now switch over to your average college crowd, where the ambitious males who are deciding where they want to be in ten years look at those figures. Hmmmm, exactly how much do I really want to be an anchor, anyway??
This trend gives every indication of continuing, at least for the foreseeable future. In most businesses, such a supply-demand inequity would make it a buyer's market, and send anchor salaries higher. But, as usual, broadcasting is a different animal. Don't hold your breath for salaries to soar.
Then again, with the changes going on in the business and viewership dropping, we might not NEED anchors that much longer anyway.
Thursday, September 14, 2006
Bob Woodruff Update
And, in addition to her joy at Bob surviving to celebrate his 45th birthday, Lee adds, "I think if you haven't seen Bob, you would be amazed. His hair has grown in; he has been playing some killer tennis, driving the boat for the kids to tube, doing some Pilates with my sister and playing Scrabble like a fiend. He looks and sounds so much more like himself each week."