Having just graduated from college in June and having taken my first step into the working world, I have noticed a few things. I recently began a job at a news station in Los Angeles. Now, having grown up in the business – my parents are both prominent television reporters – I have been a firsthand witness to the demise of television news.
To be honest, it has been at lot like last year’s landslide in La Conchita. You know that the mountain is on the verge of collapsing, but you just don’t want to believe that it will actually come down. In my opinion, the same has been happening to the news. I’ve seen the signs and heard the warnings, but I just haven’t been able to lose hope that someday, somewhere, someone will stand up and stop the news from merely becoming another “Entertainment Tonight.”
When are the people in charge going to realize that we, the youth, the ones who are in high school and college or who, like me, have just graduated, do not want to be read the news by another cheesy blonde anchor who looks like the girl who does keg stands and dances on coffee tables at frat parties? Respectable journalists don’t wear hot pink and they don’t die their hair blonde if they are Korean like Mia Lee, one of the anchors at KCAL. The women shouldn’t have fake tits that are pushed up to their neck and the men shouldn’t be orange. Do you respect the guy in your psych class that has frosted tips and highlights? No. Then why would you feel differently toward the guy reading the news?
Television journalists should command respect from the viewers. They should be people like your father, wise and trustworthy. You don’t think your father is lying to you, and a newscaster should not give you reason to doubt his or her credibility. But the fact of the matter is that no one could, would, or does find these people credible. No one watches the news to see their frat buddies or drunken girlfriends tell them what is going on the world.
We respect people like Walter Cronkite and Diane Sawyer. Sure, many news legends have at times become caricatures of themselves, but it is these characters that we have come to love. These are the people we grew up watching on the news back when we were wide-eyed and curious about the world. They are the kinds of people we learned to trust. But for some reason, the powers in the world of news think that we are too young to remember the golden years of news and how it looked when reporters actually did an in-depth investigation of a subject, instead of just airing sound bite after sound bite. They think that we want to hear the news from our peers, not from our fathers. Unfortunately, if they would just ask us, they would learn that this is not what we want. But I guess like global warming, the government, and world peace, it is just something that our generation will have to fix when we take over. You would think that they would have gotten the picture from the dismal ratings. I mean, who really watches the news anymore?
Katy Tur is a UCSB alum.