It has been said many times before, in cracks about Katie Couric's new CBS job and Hillary Clinton's viability as a presidential candidate: As soon as the job is devalued enough, it's OK to hand it to a woman. But when it comes to television news, we may be talking not just about a devalued position but about a devalued profession. The Washington Post Monday carried a story about the "feminization" of television news, a feminization best embodied by Couric herself. According to the Post, two-thirds of undergraduate degrees in communications and journalism were awarded to women in 2004, while the number of female anchors hit a record high (57 percent) in 2005 in a national survey by the Radio and Television News Directors Association. According to the survey, women also make up more than half of television reporters, executive producers, news producers and news writers.
Arizona State broadcast journalism professor Craig Allen tells the paper, "Young men are just not interested ... There's been almost an evacuation of men from this field." Why? Well, according to the Post, many suggest that "their departure reflects the transformation of TV news from a 'glamour' business to a low-wage, no-growth field with limited career potential." Well. That certainly sums up its lack of appeal.
In related news, last week's splashy headline about how CBS anchor-elect Couric wouldn't report in the Middle East because she's a single mother? Yeah. She was misquoted. What was that about a devalued profession?