Media plays a critical role as a gatekeeper of information in today’s society. Often it is the experienced anchors and reporters who understand the nuances of various topics that can get to the heart of the story. But, due to ever-changing technology, competition for an audience is at an all-time high. An industry that once buoyed coverage on the truth now needs the reaction to stay afloat.
How do news companies find a balance between credible reporting and giving the audience what they want to see? The answer to this question relies on the wishes of executives, producers and reporters.
Television, as a visual medium, presents compelling images on the screen to maintain viewership. New York City, as the largest city in the United States, plays a prominent role in the media. But these demands can create an awkward situation when the looks of an anchor or reporter are subject to scrutiny.
Discrimination occurs at the highest media platforms too
Maintaining a comely public image is part of building credibility in the media, but that requirement can sometimes go too far. Sportscaster and journalist Colleen Dominguez settled a gender and age discrimination lawsuit against her former employer, Fox Sports 1, in January.
Dominguez, age 54 at the time of her complaint, claimed she was pulled off of assignments in favor of younger reporters. Bosses also allegedly asked her to model herself after a younger female reporter on the network. Although her allegations never reached the courtroom, her experience is part of a larger trend of women who are forced out of the workplace because of their age.
Research shows women are more likely to face discrimination
A study by economists in California and Louisiana found that the callback rate for middle-aged female applicants for a sales job was lower than for young female applicants. Meanwhile, middle-aged males had the same callback rate as young male applicants for the same job.
Workplace discrimination could play another factor in the hardships women are prone to facing later in life. Not only are women more likely to be discriminated against in the workplace, life expectancy is also longer. This imbalance can leave women without the ability to maintain their lifestyle and independence through retirement.
An anti-discrimination lawsuit can allow women who are forced out of the workplace seek the compensation needed to accommodate healthcare and retirement expenses later in life. When the workplace performance of women is based on appearance, it could eventually be the employer who is trying to save face.