The most recent Radio Television Digital News Association survey showed a new record high for women working in local TV newsrooms, 44.4 percent. This is still behind the national full-time U.S. workforce, of which women make up 47 percent. The survey also showed a new record for female news directors, the managers who do the hiring, at 34.3 percent. The highest percentage of these women were in the top-25 TV markets.
While all newsrooms—and workplaces—in our country still have a long way to go to support working mothers and fathers, local TV news certainly seems to be a better option right now than the national networks.
Cleveland Heights, Ohio
As a mom of three years and a local TV-news anchor and reporter of 15 years, I cannot express my gratitude to Julianna Goldman enough for shedding light on these truths so many TV moms have quietly experienced. For me, this article was an eloquent affirmation of all the ideas I’ve wanted to express in explaining my “choice” to stay home with my babies.
Name Withheld Upon Request
The article “It’s Almost Impossible to Be a Mom in Television News” resonated with me so much. Though I am not a mother, I quickly found the world of broadcast news to be particularly taxing for women. I started out as a reporter and evening anchor in northern Michigan, then landed a job as an evening reporter at a news station in South Bend, Indiana. One of the greatest challenges was balancing all of the responsibilities that came with reporting one-man-band style. It wasn’t enough to simply get the story. You had to manage the equipment, stay on track with your deadline, be actively posting to social media while reporting, and do all of this in flawless makeup, perfectly coiffed hair, a skintight dress, and heels. Even when I was promoted to morning anchor two months into my reporting role, there was still enormous pressure on my physical appearance, and the job consumed every aspect of my life.
By the time my contract was up, I was suffering from health issues related to sleep deprivation and had zero personal life. Although the career was exciting and I was proud of my work and my quick promotion, I knew it wasn’t sustainable, especially if I wanted to have a family in the future. I felt like I had to choose between having a seemingly glamorous but all-consuming career and having an ordinary career but fulfilling personal life. I decided the latter was for me.
South Bend, Ind.
I could have written Ms. Goldman’s piece myself, as at the same 15-year mark I also hung up my microphone.
I’d worked in four TV markets as an anchor and as a news reporter, settling in Portland, Oregon. But everything changed when I had two daughters. Television news requires a nanny, family living nearby, or another parent at home. At any time, I would be called—“Can you get in here right away?”—and I’d scramble to go in. I’d give it my all, and would work until the wee hours of the night or until the crack of dawn when I had to. But of course, no matter what shift I worked, I still had two preschoolers who needed my full attention the next day. I dozed off more than once at the children’s museum.