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News Anchor Responds to Weight Critique


The panelists talk about Wisconsin television news anchor Jennifer Livingston, who took on a viewer who called her fat.

Livingston said she exchanged several e-mails with occasional viewer Kenneth Krause before she made her case on the air. She gave a four minute editorial – speaking directly to Krause – in which she addressed weight and bullying.

Al Tompkins of the Poynter Institute writes that Livingston has in the past shared other personal issues with the audience so her news director felt it made sense for her to bring this matter to the airwaves too.

While the Shop Talk panelists applaud Livingston for standing up to a bully, they question whether a newscast was the best forum for her response. Journalists are supposed to report stories but Livingston instead made herself the story.

The panelists also feel there is a double standard in television. They question whether a viewer would have sent a similar letter to a male anchor who was overweight. They also touched on the case of Christine Craft, who was demoted from a TV job in the 1980s because she was deemed “too old, too ugly, and not deferential to men.”

Rich is TSPR's News Director.