Editorials

A Tale of Two Journalists | Women’s Media Center


In late November, the nation received an intimate look into the aforementioned dilemma when a Shreveport, Louisiana, meteorologist lost her job after defending her personal appearance on a social media platform. Rhonda Lee, who worked at KTBS, an ABC affiliate station, was harshly criticized by a viewer on the station’s Facebook page. He did not approve of Lee, whom he referred to as “the black lady,” or her short, tightly coiled hairstyle. She “needs to wear a wig or grow some more hair,” the viewer wrote.

Lee responded to his comments by defending her African American ancestry and natural hairstyle. “Women come in all shapes, sizes, nationalities, and levels of beauty,” she asserted in her comment response. “Showing little girls that being comfortable in the skin and HAIR God gave me is my contribution to society.”  She ended her response by thanking the viewer for watching the station’s broadcasts. Station leaders later fired Lee for violating the station’s social media policy.

Around the same time last year, a white, plus-size anchor in La Crosse, Wisconsin, received a critical email from a viewer about her weight. Jennifer Livingston of the CBS affiliate WKBT was told she shouldn’t “consider [herself] a suitable example for [the] community’s young people, girls in particular.” After her husband, a fellow WKBT anchor, posted the email to his Facebook page, she received an outpouring of support. Livingston was allowed to respond to her critic on air during an editorial segment. “You know nothing about me but what you see on the outside; and I am much more than a number on a scale,” she asserted. Her station fully supported her decision. Her job was never in jeopardy. via | Women’s Media Center – Columbia Journalism Review

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