In TV News:
Sometimes Viewers Are Bullies
In TV News: Sometimes Viewers Are Bullies
“You sound like a chipmunk high on cocaine. Why would anyone hire you?”
That was the message I received from one of our male viewers after my first night anchoring in my starter market. Nice welcome, right?
I cried, and ate an entire pint of Ben & Jerry’s Half Baked that night.
I will never understand why viewers think it is OK to say awful, hurtful, and rude things to the men and women in TV news.
I’ve been in the business for more than a decade. It has not mattered what position I’ve held, what market I am in, or which affiliate I’ve been working at—I’ve received mean emails, calls, and handwritten letters at each of my jobs.
I’ve found most of the harsh critics are other women.
I’ll never understand why it is so hard for women to support and encourage one another!
I’ve had a woman tell me I dressed homely. Another woman told me I dressed too provocatively. One woman sent me an email saying I was too fat and ugly to be on television. Several women have emailed my stations saying they just “don’t like” me. I’m either too young, too old, too perky, or not happy enough.
I’m not alone.
Every one of my female on-air coworkers has received criticisms like these. Some of my male coworkers have received harsh feedback too, but in my experience, never as bad as the females.
It’s hard to let these things roll off your back, it’s hard not to cry, and it’s especially hard not to believe that these people are right.
Let me be clear, I’m all about constructive criticism, but I’m not about bullying.
I try to reply to these emails and phone calls. I kill them with kindness, and sometimes I get apologies. What I don’t understand is why people think it’s OK to say or write comments like these?
Would they tell their real estate agent that they don’t like his or her outfit, would they tell their doctor that they don’t like his or her voice? Would they tell their postal carrier that they don’t like the way he or she carries their bag?
We are human beings. We’re doing our jobs. Yes, we are in a public position and people feel like they know us, but that’s not an invitation to be a jerk.
I try to remind myself that the people who are being so mean are probably unhappy with themselves. I guess lashing out at reporters, anchors, and meteorologists makes them feel better.
It’s sad that we have to deal with this, but remember, you can’t please everyone.
Don’t let the negative comments get you down. Don’t let someone you don’t know ruin your self confidence. Your boss hired you because you were the best fit for the job. As long as management is happy with your work, you’re good!
As for the man who said I sounded like a chipmunk on cocaine, he ended up in jail…for drugs.