Sideline Stereotype

For some, the notion of sideline reporters has almost become a caricature of itself…

South Carolina hosting Georgia in a SEC clash on a sun-splashed Saturday in September with over 80,000 on hand at Williams-Brice stadium Columbia as we go down to our sideline reporter, who happens to be a gorgeous blonde, long hair blowing, sleeveless garb, giving her take on the game just before kickoff…and the big question is–are the men at home actually listening to what she’s saying…

This is what the business has become and frankly, I get it and I’m actually good with it.  I’ve written extensively about the “sideline stereotype” in my book Total Sportscasting, published by Focal Press.  It is there that I lay out the debate that the sideline is a way to get a beautiful woman on the air and that for many, the hot factor has become a prerequisite for filling the position.

All of that said, it’s my feeling that sideline reporting is not totally superfluous and in fact a beautiful woman can be qualified from a journalistic and performance standpoint.  Television is a visual medium and visual appeal is often taken into consideration by TV executives when deciding exactly who fills the position–not always, but often.  But accompanying this is the deliberation about the need for the position itself and who gets hired to do it.

Here’s a take on sideline reporters from Boston Globe reporter Chad Finn.

There’s also an excerpt from Total Sportscasting in this month’s e-letter.

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