Monday, August 31, 2009

Everything on Silver Platter

I was stunned on Sunday to read an Associated Press story on Jenna Bush-Hager, the daughter of former President George W. Bush, being hired by NBC News as a correspondent for the morning "Today" show. WOW! A few weeks earlier, it was ABC News hiring comedian Steve Harvey as a special correspondent for "Good Morning America." WOW! Great gigs if you can land them. Bush-Hager and Harvey did, but on what crednentials were they hired? AP actually wrote that NBC had hired someone "with White House experience" in reference to Jenna Bush-Hager. I am amazed.

When I got into broadcast journalism more than 20 years ago, I was told-- and pretty much already knew-- that I would have to pay some dues to get where I really wanted to be in my career. I would graduate from college, likely secure my first newsroom job at a small market television station and build from there. The notion that I would walk across the stage at Southern University, receive my diploma, then walk right on to the anchor desk or the executive producer chair, or even the news director's office was a pipe dream.

Well, that was 1988. Clearly, things have changed in 2009. We have managers running news operations with no news backgrounds; we have news executive producers who have never been news producers; and, we have egomaniac "millennials," as they're called, coming out of colleges, not only thinking they should immediately get a big job, paying big money, they expect to get a big job and big money right away. The sad thing is-- they're getting them. It has become quite obvious that paying dues is a dead concept and viewers are the big losers. The journalism is not of the caliber it should be and people tune out, not in.

Jenna Bush-Hager and Steve Harvey have no backgrounds in journalism. They got their news jobs based on celebrity. Knowing several colleagues who have lost jobs at networks and television stations across the country, I don't have to think very long or very hard about how many qualified, experienced broadcast journalists are available who would love to have the NBC "Today" and ABC "Good Morning America" opportunities. All I can say is, if things continue down this horse path, it's going to be tough to avoid all the manure piles.

Oh, Good Evening!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Would You Like A Pony?

Ally Bank is a new online institution using a great series of commercials to drum up business. The pony commercial is of particular interest.

While it is funny, it includes what some believe are subtle hints at discrimination. The favoritism shown to one girl over the other is obvious and understood in conveying the message of the spot. Both "customers" are girls, they both appear to be white but the "favored" one is blonde and the "less favored" one is brunette.

This also has some feeling the subtle undertone has racial connotations with the blonde girl representing white customers (favored) and the brunette girl representing black customers (less favored). What do you think? Watch the commercial and comment.

Oh, Good Evening!