Good looks are synonymous with the TV industry, but if you don’t have the talent you’ll never make it, according to Sydney broadcast journalists.
The Newsroom questioned three journalists currently working in the field of broadcast media on their stance of what it takes to reach success in the competitive industry.
“To make it in broadcast media you have to be tenacious,” former 2GB reporter Joel Labi said. “Do the graveyard shifts and learn as you go.”
The 27-year-old, who is now working at CNN International in Atlanta, believes the industry is glorified by those who think it is all about getting on television and radio.
“The people who are in front of those cameras and microphones aren’t there to be celebrities… they are prepared to get their hands dirty and chase the story to the end,” said Mr Labi.
The Sydney-born journalist doesn’t believe physical appearances are a deciding factor in landing a job. “So often looks are transparent… it doesn’t take long to realise if someone is competent or not.”
International reporter Cath Turner agrees that a person’s physical appearance shouldn’t matter when it comes to breaking into the industry. The Al Jazeera journalist’s philosophy is that you need to be persistent and curious to make it.
“You have to have a very, very thick skin, have to understand constructive criticism [and] have a versatile personality in broadcast media,” said Ms Turner.
A report by The Guardian found fewer than one in five UK presenters over the age of 50 are women.
Channel Seven reporter Damien Smith spoke of the disparity between men and woman in the industry.
“I think it would be obvious that a huge majority of the over 50s reporters on Australian TV are men. I’m one of them,” he said.
The seasoned journalist from Manly, who has worked in both radio and television, took a different approach, suggesting that looks do play a role in the employment of onscreen journalists.
Mr Smith said he believes many extremely talented journalists haven’t been presented the chance because they don’t have the look.”
“The look is a very vague notion,” Mr Smith said. “On one view, you either have it, or you don’t… commercial television is a business”
“The idea is to get people watching it… To do that, judgements are made as to what people want to see,” said Mr Smith. – Greta Levy
Top photo by Daniel Walker