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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1959.3/82137
- 'And here's the news': analysing the evolution of the marketed newsreader
- Bainbridge, Jason; Bestwick, Jane
- Since television's inception, newsreaders have been a central part of the audience's lives. They encourage us to invite them into the privacy of our homes with promises of consistency, predictability and trustworthiness contributing to the 'mythology of transparency' (Bignell and Orlebar, 2008: 134) that television news presents. They offer a familiar face amidst ever-changing flows of new information and they are some of the most well-known and highly paid personalities on television. In Australia, newsreaders are rarely journalists and, despite the fact that they often become the public face of television networks, they are rarely thought of as celebrities either. This means that, for the most part, the Australian newsreader has slipped between journalism studies and celebrity studies and is really only considered as part of more general cultural studies of news and even more rarely as an object of study itself (see Cann and Mohr, 2001; Courtis, 2005; Morse, 2004; Place and Roberts, 2006; Plane, 1996; Shepard, 1997). This article seeks to address this gap in the literature by providing a brief historical overview of television newsreading in Australia, together with an analysis of the relationship between newsreaders, gender, celebrity and ratings. In this way we want to put forward a new model for thinking about the relationship between the newsreader and celebrity, as not being antithetical concepts, but rather complementary parts of the marketed newsreader's function: a figure who is as heavily implicated in the marketing and promotion of news as in its dissemination. In part, this concept of the 'marketed newsreader' is derived from the work of Stuart Cunningham and Graeme Turner who state that, at its simplest, 'the credibility of a news service is a bankable commodity [and] it is easier, quicker and sometimes even cheaper to build credibility through, for instance, the promotion of a key personality' (2007: 91–2, emphasis added). By referring to newsreaders as 'marketed newsreaders' we want to draw a clear connection between the newsreader, the celebrity image they construct to connect with their audience, and the way this functions as a form of marketing designed to attract a greater audience share for their network's news broadcasts. This article presents the preliminary findings of a larger study of newsreading in Australia that brings together studies of news with the work of celebrity theorists Graeme Turner (2004) and Irving Rein et al. (1997). The study is built on a combination of content and textual analysis, mapping the gender of newsreaders in Australian news (including the stories they present and the news bulletins on which they appear), and interviews and surveys conducted in relation to the news broadcasts presented in our sample state of Tasmania. Surprisingly, even though 'TV continuously represents gender to its viewers' (D'Acci, 2004: 373), there has been relatively little work done on gender and newsreading on Australian television (D'Acci, 2004: 377). Cann and Mohr suggest the need for more work to be done and, in particular, work that addresses whether the 'gender hierarchy of anchors [is] evident through assignment to weekend or weekday work' (2001: 2–3). Again, this is something that we have started to map, and we offer our preliminary findings in this article in the hope that it may stimulate more research into this area.
- Publication type
- Journal article
- Research centre
- Swinburne University of Technology
- Media Culture Society, Vol. 32, no. 2 (Mar 2010), pp. 205-223
- Publication year
- Australia; Celebrities; Marketing; News services; Newsreaders; Newsreading; Ratings; Television
- Publisher URL
- Copyright © 2010 SAGE Publications.
- Peer reviewed