throats, we can convey how key a role women are playing in
these world events.”
The influence of women in broadcast news is at the point
where they not only are quite capable of earning as many Emmys and accolades as their male counterparts, but they also
can take the heat: Upon beginning her tenure for CBS News,
Couric endured endless chirping about her outfits and hairstyle, something Brian Williams and Charles Gibson didn’t
have to face when they ascended to the anchor’s chair. But
something was different when Couric broke this particular
glass ceiling—the substance of her anchoring was the central
point of criticism, and it overshadowed any quibbles with how
she looked. A year later the criticism continues, but Couric
remains determined to continue delivering news in her style.
“[Viewers] look for someone who is accessible, understandable, obviously someone who they can trust,” she says.
“Someone who is informed but not a know-it-all—who is
more interested in communicating than pontificating. ... My
career aspiration ultimately was to be a good reporter who
was respected by her peers. I never aspired, never really
dreamed of being an ‘anchor,’ and never felt that was necessarily in the cards for me, so this has all been a very exciting and
It helps, of course, to come to the table with solid, hard news
credentials. Crowley was an Associated Press veteran before
joining NBC in the 1980s. Ifill worked for The Baltimore Sun,
The Washington Post and The New York Times. CNBC host
Becky Quick is sharp-witted enough to handle the combination of dizzying financial news and male-dominated,
being a parent alters any
journalist’s perspective, and
probably more so for women
in front of the camera who
juggle big, high-profile
careers with families.
Wall Street clubbiness that seems to define Squawk Box in
the mornings. It doesn’t hurt that she arrived at CNBC as a
seven-year veteran of The Wall Street Journal, covering retail
and e-commerce. When financial numbers are breaking,
Quick can skillfully make sense of them in a way that eludes
the Squawk Box guys.
“Guys forget that I’m a ‘girl’ here,” Quick says. “That’s a
good thing. There aren’t many women in financial news on
TV today, so you better be ready to mix it up with them, in a
rough-and-tumble way sometimes. My background with the
Journal helps a lot. I covered retail for years and know the
industry. But my own experience as a woman helps there,
too. After the last holiday shopping season, we had retail
sales data come out and the Federated stores like Macy’s and
Bloomingdale’s did fine. But Costco didn’t. The other guys on
the show couldn’t understand why. I told them, ‘It’s because
nobody buys a gift card for someone to shop at Costco!’ Ten
minutes after I said that, this is exactly what went out on the
press wire as the official explanation.”
“Clubby” wouldn’t even begin to describe the atmosphere at
ESPN’s SportsCenter—think more like a men’s locker room,
complete with towel snapping. But Linda Cohn has thrived
there for 15 years by avoiding classic SportsCenter-isms—like
making up catchphrases and cute nicknames for jocks—and
remaining true to herself.
“I’m proud of the fact that sports is in my blood,” she says.
“I didn’t come to SportsCenter because there weren’t any
openings at Entertainment Tonight. Nowadays, you see plenty
of women in TV sports. But it’s about quality, not quantity.
The average TV sports fan knows when the broadcast is coming from within, or whether you’re just a face on the screen
who’s getting everything fed to her from a producer in her
earpiece. It has to be real.”
Much of what’s covered is quite real, from Couric reporting on the colon cancer that took her husband’s life to FOX’s
Catherine Herridge covering her infant son’s struggle with a
potentially fatal liver disorder.
Being a parent alters any journalist’s perspective, and
The subjects in this story selected a
probably more so for women in front of the camera who
juggle big, high-profile careers with families. Nightline’s
Cynthia McFadden, who has an 8-year-old son, has found
her own sense of story profoundly changed as she scans
headlines from the vantage of parenthood.
“I didn’t become a parent until I turned 42,” McFad-
den says. “It changes everything. In our business, hard
news is what gets taken more seriously. I was always
the one who wanted to hop on a plane to go to the latest
scene of hot news. I held true to a very traditional, male-
oriented model of pursuing news. But now you can’t help
but see the other stories out there—the ones that are
out there in plain sight that no one else is doing. We just
did a very heartbreaking story out of Fort Hood, focus-
ing on deployments from there to Iraq entirely from the
children’s perspective. We’ve done a lot of coverage now of
grandparents raising their children’s children. These stories
are harder to cover than traditional hard news stories, too.
They don’t have an easily defined beginning, middle and end.
It’s not that I don’t consider the ‘what blew up today’ story
as important as before. It’s just that I consider these [other]
stories to be just as important now.”
newswomen’s hall of fame. To see their
choices, go to arrivemagazine.com