One of the things I love about social media is it gives reporters platforms and the ability to be “real” in a way that their on-air personas don’t allow.
Charlotte Has Personality
In the Charlotte market I know that long time WBTV anchor Maureen O’Boyle adores her daughter, her mother and the rest of her large, extended family. (She also loves her dogs, home décor and charities like the Humane Society, the Sandbox prom and several cancer organizations.). WCNC’s Fred Shropshire shares video of his #dadhairchallenge with his adorable daughter. WCCB’s Morgan Fogarty has an animal rescue Facebook page. And if you haven’t watched WBTV’s Kristin Hampton’s product testing live on Facebook…. #NewYearsResolution.
One of the most authentic online personalities is Molly Grantham from WBTV. She has Molly’s Kids, children with serious illnesses; she supports breast cancer research in honor of her mom who passed away from breast cancer. And she shares the good, bad and the ugly in the lives of her two small children, including details around potty training and department store dressing room meltdowns.
The Real We Are
Most recently, Molly did a TEDx talk where she talked about real, authentic Molly versus polished, primped on-air Molly. It was simple and thought-provoking. She loves being a journalist and she loves TV news, but she doesn’t like the façade that anchors have to present. In particular female anchors.
As I am watching, I am thinking, “Well Molly, you are a strong-willed woman, you should just change that.” Then she talked about the male anchor who wore the same suit for multiple days and no one noticed. And she gave examples of the feedback she gets from viewers. And let’s just say it is pointed and a lot of it about the superficial.
We’ve created this image that our anchors have to be beauty queen perfect. I don’t know how we change that, but I appreciate the real Molly from TEDx and Facebook, AND the real Molly who shows up behind the anchor desk.
She may have on a pretty dress, make up and sprayed hair; but the real Molly shines through in the stories she covers and the passion she has for the news. I hope that this norm will change, but meanwhile, I hope that anchors let the “real” show through the polish. Molly Grantham sets a great example.
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