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Cultivating credibility: a study of how news anchors establish trust Eisler, Karyn Lee 1997

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CULTIVATING CREDIBILITY: A STUDY OF HOW NEWS ANCHORS ESTABLISH TRUST by KARYN LEE EISLER B.A. (hons.), The University of Calgary, 1988 Dip. (Broadcasting), Mount Royal College at Calgary, 1992 A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF ARTS i n THE FACULTY OF GRADUATE STUDIES (Department of Anthropology and Sociology) We accept t h i s thesis as conforming to the required standard THE UNIVERSITY OF A p r i l @ Karyn Lee BRITISH COLUMBIA 1997 E i s l e r , 1997 In presenting this thesis in partial fulfilment of the requirements for an advanced degree at the University of British Columbia, I agree that the Library shall make it freely available for reference and study. I further agree that permission for extensive copying of this thesis for scholarly purposes may be granted by the head of my department or by his or her representatives. It is understood that copying or publication of this thesis for financial gain shall not be allowed without my written permission. Department of l\dito(kkjjL The University of British Columbia Vancouver, Canada DE-6 (2/88) ABSTRACT This thesis,examines t e l e v i s i o n news anchor c r e d i b i l i t y -c u l t i v a t i o n . The establishment of t r u s t i s examined through i t s r e l a t i o n s h i p to s t a t i o n i d e n t i t y and audience c o n s t r u c t i o n . Open-focused i n t e r v i e w s w i t h news anchors, news d i r e c t o r s , producers and make-up a r t i s t s i n a major Canadian t e l e v i s i o n market were conducted. I maintain that anchors' a c t i o n s and looks can p e r s o n i f y d i s t i n c t i o n and c r e d i b i l i t y when they r e f l e c t viewers' t a s t e s and s e n s i b i l i t i e s . Perceptions of anchor t r u s t w o r t h i n e s s are the key to viewer l o y a l t y d e c i s i o n s and s t a t i o n i d e n t i t y . I contend that c r e d i b i l i t y c u l t i v a t i o n r e q u i r e s anchors' e n t r y i n t o a complex system of expressive c o n t r o l which i s e x e r c i s e d through c o n s t r a i n t and expectation. I n s t i t u t i o n a l needs f o r t r u s t and an audience, the c o n s t r a i n t s imposed by the medium, entertainment format and news genre, a l l c o n t r i b u t e to the expressive standards which must be adhered t o . The image demands are i n t e n s i f i e d when viewer r e f l e x i v i t y , c o n t i n u i t y and t r u s t needs are incorporated i n t o an already r i g i d performance regimen. There i s room, however, f o r anchors' a u t h e n t i c expressions which are i n t e g r a l to the c o n s t r u c t i o n of t r u s t and necessary r e f l e c t i o n s of both s t a t i o n and viewer uniqueness. Findings suggest that anchors who c u l t i v a t e the appearance of t h e i r own a c c e s s i b i l i t y are l i k e l y to be t r u s t e d because they seem f a m i l i a r , on some l e v e l , to t y p i c a l c i t i z e n s t u n i n g i n . I argue t h a t while t h i s image i s c u r r e n t l y i n vogue, i t i s i i u n l i k e l y t o be a permanent mode of trustworthy expression. Dominant s t y l e s and viewer l o y a l t y p a tterns appear t o undergo e v o l u t i o n a r y transformations. D i s t r u s t of the f r i e n d l y facade could a r i s e from any number of unforseen c u l t u r a l changes and through changing expectations that are prompted by anchors who c o n t i n u a l l y negotiate the t r u s t w o r t h i n e s s of t h e i r image w i t h the audience. T A B L E OF CONTENTS ABSTRACT i i TABLE OF CONTENTS i i i ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS i v INTRODUCTION 1 CHAPTER 1 - REPRESENTING SUCCESS IN TELEVISION 8 Local News and the Image of C r e d i b i l i t y and D i s t i n c t i o n . . . 8 News Anchors: The Embodiment of D i s t i n c t i v e C r e d i b i l i t y . 21 CHAPTER 2 - A WAY OF LOOKING 32 Beauty, the Beast and Real Looking Anchors 32 News Anchors as Business Executives or Bankers 4 0 CHAPTER 3 - A WAY OF ACTING 50 Anchors as Characters and the People Who Play Them 50 Cu l t i v a t i n g the I l l u s i o n of Authentic Conversation 55 Anchors as Journalists and In t e l l i g e n t People ....65 CHAPTER 4 - WAYS OF CONNECTING 82 Cu l t i v a t i n g the I l l u s i o n of Authentic Relationships 82 Li v i n g Logos: Anchors as(Consistent-Image ^epresenters..93 SUMMARY AND CONCLUSIONS 104 BIBLIOGRAPHY 114 i v ACKNOWLEDGMENTS This thesis r e f l e c t s both the development of an academic piece of work and the discovery of a focus for future s p e c i a l i z a t i o n . This combination has enhanced my appreciation of the graduate studies experience greatly. I have been honoured by the generosity, expertise, and guidance of the following people who have brought l i f e to the words of Yeats: "Education i s not a bucket to be f i l l e d , but a f i r e to l i g h t . " Dr. Richard Ericson, my thesis supervisor,.gave so generously of his amazing knowledge of resources without imposing his ideas. His a b i l i t y to honour my s t y l e and process while providing thought-provoking guidance "promoted.the c u l t i v a t i o n of my mind and the a r t i c u l a t i o n of my i n t e r e s t s . At the same time, his p r a c t i c a l professionalism reminded me that the process of discovery for t h i s thesis could not go on forever. Dr. Ken Stoddart's g i f t of expressing i n c l u s i o n was c r i t i c a l as I'reentered academic l i f e . His warmth and encouragement f a c i l i t a t e d the beginning of an authentic exploration of p o s s i b i l i t i e s within the graduate program. His experience i n the f i e l d of broadcasting contributed to f r u i t f u l discussions about potential research questions. Dr. Bruce M i l l e r ' s remarkable a b i l i t y and willingness to s h i f t d i s c i p l i n e s provided a unique opportunity to consider diverse perspectives and to stretch my a n a l y t i c a l thinking. His empathy through the peaks and valleys of thesis production was a constant source of v a l i d a t i o n . His u n f a i l i n g energetic enthusiasm and openness to dialogue added to the richness of t h i s experience. This thesis would not have been possible-without the cooperation of news anchors, make-up a r t i s t s , producers and d i r e c t o r s . The time taken' from busy .schedules and the willingness to discuss t h e i r industry and expertise with an outsider f e l t l i k e an act of f a i t h . Their contributions were invaluable to my understanding of c r e d i b i l i t y c u l t i v a t i o n , just as I hope myanalysis w i l l broaden t h e i r s . I also thank my family and friends for t h e i r b e l i e f i n me. v INTRODUCTION This t h e s i s provides an a n a l y s i s of t e l e v i s i o n news anchor c r e d i b i l i t y c u l t i v a t i o n and i t s c o n t r i b u t i o n t o audience l o y a l t y and the i d e n t i t y of a s t a t i o n . Audience c o n s t r u c t i o n and i n s t i t u t i o n a l i d e n t i t y are c e r t a i n l y not concerns r e l e v a n t o n l y to those i n the t e l e v i s i o n i n d u s t r y . Lawyers, p h y s i c i a n s and insurance agents a l s o need to garner the t r u s t of t h e i r own t a r g e t audiences, namely prospective c l i e n t s and p a t i e n t s . Perceptions of the tr u s t w o r t h i n e s s of those who f i l l these and other occupational r o l e s c o n t r i b u t e to the i d e n t i t y of t h e i r i n s t i t u t i o n a l s e t t i n g s and the a u t h o r i t y of t h e i r occupations as a whole. While the focus of t h i s t h e s i s could have been on any of a v a r i e t y of other ' c a l l i n g s ' , anchors were chosen f o r the f o l l o w i n g reasons: (1) The s i z e of t h e i r audience on a d a i l y b a s i s f a r surpasses the p o r t i o n of the populace who r e g u l a r l y greets those who work i n most other occupations; and (2) The o b v i o u s l y staged q u a l i t y of t e l e v i s i o n news productions makes the anchor performance r i p e f o r a n a l y s i s . A f u s i o n of the t h e o r e t i c a l works of . Anthony Giddens (1990), Joshua Meyrowitz (1985; 1994), E r i c s o n , Baranek & Chan (1987, 1989, 1991) and Erv i n g Goffman (1967; 1969; 1971; [1959] 1973) forms the core a n a l y t i c a l framework f o r t h i s s o c i o l o g i c a l problem. Giddens' notions about t r u s t r e l a t i o n s h i p s i n the modern era are a p p l i e d s p e c i f i c a l l y to t e l e v i s i o n viewers and t h e i r need t o ' b l i n d l y t r u s t ' news anchors and the a u t h e n t i c i t y 1 of the messages they d e l i v e r . Meyrowitz's i n s i g h t s i n t o the power of the t e l e v i s i o n medium serve to c o n t e x t u a l i z e the c u l t i v a t i o n of c r e d i b i l i t y w i t h i n the medium i t s e l f , not i n the a c t u a l content of the words that anchors are speaking. The works of E r i c s o n et a l strengthen Meyrowitz's 'medium theory' argument while l o c a l i z i n g the s i t e of c r e d i b i l i t y c o n s t r u c t i o n w i t h i n the s p e c i f i c parameters and s p e c i f i c a t i o n s of t e l e v i s i o n ' s entertainment format. . Both ^medium and format c o n s i d e r a t i o n s set the occupational stage.for. the adaptation of Goffman's p r i n c i p l e s which h i g h l i g h t the ' s t r a t e g i c s t a g i n g ' that i s r e q u i r e d f o r the c u l t i v a t i o n of anchor c r e d i b i l i t y and the e f f e c t i v e management of audience impressions. E m p i r i c a l data were provided by key employees of three t e l e v i s i o n s t a t i o n s that produce d a i l y l o c a l news i n a major t e l e v i s i o n market i n Canada. A t o t a l of 23 sources were interviewed, i n c l u d i n g 12 news anchors ( s i x men and s i x women), s i x producers, three news d i r e c t o r s , and two make-up p r o f e s s i o n a l s . They were s e l e c t e d according to the c r i t e r i a t hat they e i t h e r are, or spend considerable.time working w i t h , anchors. I assumed that those.! in-, these- ^occupational r o l e s would have at l e a s t a modest understanding of the f a c t o r s that c o n t r i b u t e to viewer perceptions of anchor t r u s t w o r t h i n e s s . The open-focused i n t e r v i e w was the chosen methodological t o o l . Questions were designed to e l i c i t i n f o r m a t i o n about c r e d i b i l i t y c u l t i v a t i o n from the frames of reference provided by these d i f f e r e n t i n d u s t r y r o l e s . The drawbacks of usi n g f a c e - t o -2 face i n t e r v i e w s as the s o l e data gathering technique are no secret (Deux & Wrightsman, 1988). I t i s c e r t a i n l y p o s s i b l e that I unknowingly e i t h e r discouraged or promoted c e r t a i n answers to i n t e r v i e w questions. I t i s a l s o p o s s i b l e that interviewees might, at times, have experienced e v a l u a t i o n apprehension and f e l t pressure to present themselves or t h e i r s t a t i o n i n a p a r t i c u l a r l i g h t . But d espite these and any other l i m i t a t i o n s , the open-focused i n t e r v i e w method was- chosen, because i t allowed f o r c l a r i f i c a t i o n of unclear ..responses and more, comprehensive development of i n i t i a l l y b r i e f answers. I t a l s o provided a general c o n v e r s a t i o n a l d i r e c t i o n while l e a v i n g room to probe s p e c i f i c thoughts, experiences and observations t h a t were mentioned (Babbie, 1986) . This freedom to probe o f t e n provided d e t a i l e d e l a b o r a t i o n on c r i t i c a l i s s ues that I had not a n t i c i p a t e d p r i o r to the i n t e r v i e w sessions. My i n i t i a l contact w i t h respondents was by l e t t e r which i n c l u d e d a d e s c r i p t i o n of the research p r o j e c t and t h e i r r i g h t s as p o t e n t i a l p a r t i c i p a n t s . I made follow-up telephone c a l l s a f t e r m a i l i n g the i n t r o d u c t o r y package to ensure i t s r e c e i p t , address any concerns, and -schedule . i n t e r v i e w s w i t h those who agreed to be i n v o l v e d . Most i n t e r v i e w s took place i n the o c c u p a t i o n a l s e t t i n g : i n newsrooms, c a f e t e r i a s , p r i v a t e o f f i c e s and d r e s s i n g rooms. Other c o n s u l t a t i o n s took place i n c o f f e e shops l o c a t e d away from the s t a t i o n s . Each i n t e r v i e w l a s t e d approximately one hour. A l l respondents consented to the tape-r e c o r d i n g of i n t e r v i e w s w i t h the assurance that c o n f i d e n t i a l i t y 3 was guaranteed. In the f i r s t chapter of t h i s t h e s i s , e n t i t l e d 'Representing Success i n T e l e v i s i o n ' , the c e n t r a l arguments are e s t a b l i s h e d . I contend that audience l o y a l t y i s at the root of a s t a t i o n ' s economic success, and that viewer f a i t h f u l n e s s i s generated through newscasts which define a s t a t i o n ' s ' p e r s o n a l i t y ' w h i l e d i s t i n g u i s h i n g i t from cable channels and the l o c a l competition. I maintain that while s t o r y coverage .and ...topic s e l e c t i o n c e r t a i n l y c o n t r i b u t e to the^character of -l o c a l news productions, i t i s the t r u s t w o r t h i n e s s of the newscast image that i s at the heart of audience l o y a l t y . Viewer f a i t h f u l n e s s i s based on the pe r c e p t i o n that the staged appearance of j o u r n a l i s t i c e x c e l l e n c e i s an i n d i c a t i o n that the news on a p a r t i c u l a r s t a t i o n can be t r u s t e d . Newscasts aire conceptualized as t h e a t r i c a l p r e s e n t a t i o n s which fea t u r e a u r a l and v i s u a l "expressive equipment" (Goffman, [1959] 1973) that i s s t r a t e g i c a l l y d i s p l a y e d on the newscast se t . Things l i k e theme music and graphics are j u s t some components of the expressive package which . can suggest to viewers that a newscast i s not -only c r e d i b l e , .but d i s t i n c t i v e . I argue that while these and other inanimate f e a t u r e s are e s s e n t i a l r e p r e s e n t a t i o n s of c r e d i b i l i t y and d i s t i n c t i o n , , news anchors take centre stage because of t h e i r c a p a c i t y to p h y s i c a l l y embody these q u a l i t i e s . The t r u s t signs that news anchors p r o j e c t onto the t e l e v i s i o n screen have the persuasive power t o hook a ta r g e t audience when they r e f l e c t those viewers' t a s t e s and s e n s i b i l i t i e s . Trustworthy anchors not only 'anchor' r e l a t i o n s h i p s between s t a t i o n s and viewers, they a l s o anchor t r u s t i n the j o u r n a l i s t s , news sources and other p l a y e r s who a l s o appear on the screen. In the second and t h i r d chapters, e n t i t l e d 'A Way of Looking' and 'A Way of A c t i n g ' r e s p e c t i v e l y , the "personal f r o n t " (Goffman, [1959] 1973) of news anchors i s analyzed from the vantage p o i n t of f a c i a l -appearance, .bodily..decoration, and ways of a c t i n g , speaking ,and understanding. D e t a i l e d d e s c r i p t i o n s are used to i l l u s t r a t e how each of these image elements can e i t h e r enhance or undermine perceptions of newscast and s t a t i o n t r u s t w o r t h i n e s s . C h a r a c t e r i z a t i o n s of c r e d i b l e a c t i o n s and appearances are juxtaposed w i t h what i s considered untrustworthy and p o t e n t i a l l y damaging to newscast and s t a t i o n success. I contend that a c h i e f component of newscast b e l i e v a b i l i t y comes through c o n s t r u c t i o n of the appearance that a s t a t i o n ' s anchors have j o u r n a l i s t i c i n t e r e s t and f a c i l i t y . This component of image i s extremely powerful i n i t s . c a p a c i t y to/compensate f o r t r a n s g r e s s i o n s i n one or more, of the other-image elements.. This p o t e n t i a l , though, does not minimize the importance f o r anchors to c reate the i l l u s i o n of authentic i n t e r a c t i o n and conversation w i t h viewers. In other words, i t i s c r i t i c a l that anchors be good a c t o r s i n t h i s c u l t i v a t e d news play. Other signs of t r u s t that mark e f f e c t i v e anchors in c l u d e unassuming body props and faces that are " c a r i c a t u r e s " (Hartley, 1982) of the t a r g e t 5 audience. I argue that these s u p e r f i c i a l image components a l s o p l a y a key r o l e i n the development of viewer l o y a l t y . In the f i n a l chapter, e n t i t l e d 'Ways of Connecting', I suggest that audience assessments of the t o t a l i t y of an anchor's expressive equipment are the b a s i s upon which newscast l o y a l t y d e c i s i o n s are made. The d e s i r e to watch an anchor repeatedly i s determined by the extent to which that anchor embodies viewer preferences and p r o j e c t s those s e n s i b i l i t i e s onto the screen. Personal i d e n t i f i c a t i o n w i t h .a . p a r t i c u l a r * anchor serves as a " r e f l e x i v e p r o j e c t " (Giddens, 1990) f o r viewers by a s s u r i n g them of t h e i r own i d e n t i t y through a 'sense' of connection w i t h the news anchor's persona. The reflexive elemental anchor image system i s used t o e x p l a i n how numerous anchor-viewer connections are p o s s i b l e given the di v e r s e t a s t e s and perceptual tendencies of a l a r g e viewing audience. I conclude that ' b l i n d t r u s t ' i s most l i k e l y vested i n anchors who c u l t i v a t e an image of t h e i r own a c c e s s i b i l i t y . Anchors who look and act non-threatening while i n c l u d i n g the audience i n t h e i r t h e a t r i c a l p r e s e n t a t i o n s create the impression that t h e i r r e l a t i o n s h i p s w i t h 'viewers are "personal,, e g a l i t a r i a n and f a c e - t o - f a c e . C u l t i v a t i n g the i l l u s i o n of t h i s type of r e l a t i o n s h i p i s congruous w i t h equal access to media i n f o r m a t i o n - i t r e f l e c t s the j o i n t i n f o r m a t i o n a l worlds of anchors and viewers. While the perception of a c c e s s i b i l i t y i s a necessary i n g r e d i e n t i n the c o n s t r u c t i o n and maintenance of audience l o y a l t y , the " b u r e a u c r a t i z a t i o n of the s p i r i t " of anchors i s 6 j u s t as e s s e n t i a l (Goffman, [1959] 1973) . I e x p l a i n how p r e d i c t a b l e performances and image consistency feed the p s y c h o l o g i c a l needs of viewers and f u n c t i o n as the u l t i m a t e symbol of anchor t r u s t w o r t h i n e s s and s t a t i o n e x c e l l e n c e . CHAPTER ONE: REPRESENTING SUCCESS IN TELEVISION Local News and the Image of C r e d i b i l i t y and D i s t i n c t i o n P u b l i c and p r i v a t e t e l e v i s i o n broadcasters r e q u i r e l o y a l and expanding audiences. The audience i s the j u s t i f i c a t i o n f o r any s t a t i o n ' s existence and the key to a d v e r t i s i n g revenue (Er i c s o n , Baranek & Chan, 1987: 34; Ettema & Whitney, 1994: 5; Meyrowitz, 1985: 73). A t e l e v i s i o n s t a t i o n ' s s u r v i v a l and economic success at the l o c a l l e v e l depends not on l y on a r e l a t i o n s h i p w i t h i t s audience, but a l s o w i t h i n d i v i d u a l viewers. The importance of both r e l a t i o n s h i p s and t h e i r interdependence i s b r i e f l y explained by drawing on the complementary aspects of two otherwise opposing audience models. According to the commodity model, the audience i s conc e p t u a l i z e d as a "common c o i n of exchange" (Webster & Phalen, 1994: 30). The s i z e and composition of an audience are the key determinants of i t s economic value. E s s e n t i a l l y , a d v e r t i s e r s are i n the business of buying audiences from s t a t i o n s . The l o g i c i s the same whether a d v e r t i s e r s are a f t e r a share of the mass u n d i f f e r e n t i a t e d audience (Ericson,. Baranek & Chan, 1991: 44; 1987: 34) or a share of a s p e c i a l i z e d segment of that audience (Cantor, 1994: 162-4). The gre a t e r the share of the sought a f t e r audience that a s t a t i o n claims as i t s own, the more revenue a d v e r t i s e r s are w i l l i n g to pump i n t o the s t a t i o n i n exchange f o r a d v e r t i s i n g time. While the commodity model c o r r e c t l y addresses audiences as 8 e f f e c t i v e i n s t i t u t i o n a l commodities based on t h e i r power t o a t t r a c t a d v e r t i s e r s and generate revenue (Ettema & Whitney, 1994: 5), i t does not account f o r the e q u a l l y c r i t i c a l r e l a t i o n s h i p between t e l e v i s i o n s t a t i o n s and i n d i v i d u a l viewers. Despite claims that viewers "do not e x i s t as i n d i v i d u a l s " ( i b i d ) , they do. The marketplace model (Webster & Phalen, 1994: 27) addresses t h i s d e f i c i e n c y by suggesting that the audience i s an aggregate of i n d i v i d u a l consumers. who .make, .program choices i n a multichannel marketplace -to-suit. t h e i r , needs'and, t a s t e s . For the purpose of t h i s paper the audience i s conc e p t u a l i z e d as both a common c o i n of exchange and an assemblage of i n d i v i d u a l viewers w i t h decision-making power. The c o n s t r u c t i o n of an audience w i t h economic value hinges on a s t a t i o n ' s a b i l i t y to s e l l i t s programming to viewers. At the root of audience l o y a l t y i s the f a i t h f u l n e s s of i n d i v i d u a l audience members. An important way to encourage viewer l o y a l t y i s through l o c a l news programming. News i s not simply a requirement t o meet the demands of r e g u l a t o r s (Epstein, 1973: 48, 49), i t d i s t i n g u i s h e s l o c a l channels from the dozens-of others a v a i l a b l e to cable s u b s c r i b e r s . As one-^producer,i,pointed;-,out,, l o c a l news has a much bigger impact on the " p e r s o n a l i t y of a s t a t i o n " than most other programming. Local news i s a i r e d o n l y on l o c a l s t a t i o n s , u n l i k e other entertainment programs which can o f t e n be seen on both l o c a l and cable channels. For t h i s reason, l o c a l news has become the b a i t used to l u r e viewers from other programs d u p l i c a t e d elsewhere. One respondent c o n t e x t u a l i z e d 9 t h i s development: Ten or f i f t e e n years ago we didn't have much of a choice i n terms of viewing h a b i t s on t e l e v i s i o n . B a s i c a l l y , we had three channels so there wasn't much competition. There was enough money to go around f o r a l l of the s t a t i o n s t o su r v i v e i n the marketplace...but w i t h the p r o l i f e r a t i o n of cable the competition grew f i e r c e r and we r e a l l y had to - separate our product from the r e s t of the competition . S e i n f e l d i s going to be a v a i l a b l e not only on a l o c a l channel but i t can be a v a i l a b l e through many other TV s t a t i o n s ... and so you can't r e a l l y brand y o u r s e l f by saying that you have the best shows ... and so the question becomes, how do you create a t o t a l i t y to your brand that i s t o t a l l y d i f f e r e n t so there i s ..equity ..in-^that brand and people perceive there i s value i n that brand? One of the e a s i e s t ways you can do that and the best way you can do that i s through your news .... because nobody can compete w i t h us on that l e v e l , whether i t ' s an NBC s t a t i o n or a FOX s t a t i o n or any k i n d of network that might come i n t o t h i s market. They cannot compete w i t h our news. A s t a t i o n ' s l o c a l newscasts are b e l i e v e d by respondents to be the " f l a g s h i p shows" that e s t a b l i s h viewer l o y a l t y f o r not on l y those shows but a l s o f o r the s t a t i o n ' s other.entertainment programming where the " r e a l " money i s ' g e n e r a l l y : made (Matusow, 1983: 254). This l o g i c i s c o n s i s t e n t w i t h "audience flow" theory which suggests that a s i z e a b l e p o r t i o n of any audience w i l l s t ay tuned to a given s t a t i o n unless there i s a p r e s s i n g •reason to swi t c h channels, -(Epstein,, 1973: S3.,:. .9.4)-. In other words, programs i n h e r i t viewers from preceding programs and the most l o g i c a l place f o r l o c a l s t a t i o n s t o b u i l d a l o y a l audience i n a multichannel environment i s through l o c a l news. This i s deemed the best way f o r a l o c a l s t a t i o n t o maximize the chance that viewers w i l l watch S e i n f e l d or some other syndicated entertainment show on i t s s t a t i o n i n s t e a d of an imported cable channel. 10 L o c a l news not only d i f f e r e n t i a t e s l o c a l s t a t i o n s from cable s t a t i o n s , i t a l s o d i s t i n g u i s h e s l o c a l t e l e v i s i o n broadcasters from one another. Competition f o r l o c a l a d v e r t i s i n g d o l l a r s i s u l t i m a t e l y a l o c a l competition. The l o c a l s t a t i o n w i t h the most s u c c e s s f u l newscast i n a given time-s l o t stands t o generate the most revenue by passing on the l a r g e s t audience to the entertainment programs that f o l l o w the news. A l s o , research has shown that . i f .viewers,-respect the news on a given s t a t i o n , they tend .to have more ..respect f o r that channel's o v e r a l l programming compared to the competition (Matusow, 1983: 254). This suggests that a l o c a l TV s t a t i o n w i t h a respected news operation w i l l draw l o y a l viewers f o r not o n l y the news and the programs that f o l l o w , but a l s o f o r entertainment shows that a i r at other times of the day. One respondent i m p l i e d that viewers do, i n f a c t , l i n k t h e i r f a v o u r i t e newscast w i t h t h e i r f a v o u r i t e s t a t i o n . As a r e s u l t of that l i n k a g e they are l i k e l y to see what program i s on t h e i r p r e f e r r e d s t a t i o n when they f i r s t t u r n on t h e i r t e l e v i s i o n sets "because they f e e l comfortable ...with that .station... . . i t . makes the choices e a s i e r . " But what i s s u c c e s s f u l t e l e v i s i o n news? What i s i t about news that generates viewer l o y a l t y ? In a word, t r u s t . Trust i s d e f i n e d here as viewer confidence i n the r e l i a b i l i t y of the news production system, and i n the a u t h e n t i c i t y of the news that i s broadcast on a p a r t i c u l a r t e l e v i s i o n s t a t i o n (Giddens, 1990:34). Trustworthy news provides the c r i t i c a l l i n k between 11 s t a t i o n s and viewers. I t i s the bonding agent that cements s t a t i o n - v i e w e r r e l a t i o n s h i p s . L o c a l TV news i s the i d e a l s i t e f o r s t a t i o n s to win viewer t r u s t . This i s done by e x p l o i t i n g the complementary t r u s t needs of the news production system and members of.the audience. In t h i s p e r i o d of high modernity, t r u s t i s a n e c e s s i t y f o r expert systems that c o n s t r u c t , r e c o n s t r u c t , and disseminate vast amounts of inf o r m a t i o n about the ..world . .of.., .ey.ents (Giddens, 1990) . T e l e v i s i o n newscasts:.are.^components...of the. l a r g e r expert system of mass media news production which a l s o i n c l u d e s newspaper, magazine and r a d i o news. The s u r v i v a l of t h i s system depends upon t r u s t vested i n i t s competence and i n the a u t h e n t i c i t y of the knowledge i t provides. And whi l e t h i s •expert system i n general, and t e l e v i s i o n news i n p a r t i c u l a r , needs to be t r u s t e d , viewers need to t r u s t the newscasts they watch and the news production system as a whole. The t r u s t that viewers vest i n t h i s system i s ' b l i n d t r u s t ' which r e s t s upon f a i t h i n the proper working of the system. Those who watch TV news are t y p i c a l l y not aware ,~of; ' the .abstract .^.principles that govern news- production and'.'lack full:-:informat i o n ...about. the news s t o r i e s that are broadcast. Most viewers are u n l i k e l y to do exhaustive content checks on t h e i r own. The average viewer needs to t r u s t that d a i l y news productions are accurate representations of the news 'as i t happened', e s p e c i a l l y c o n s i d e r i n g the substantive nature of most newscasts. L o c a l t e l e v i s i o n news i s synonymous w i t h bad news. 12 I t p a i n t s a p i c t u r e of a r i s k y , unsafe community. U n s e t t l i n g s t o r i e s dominate d a i l y news - s t o r i e s about crime and scandal, sexual predators and t h e i r v i c t i m s , accidents and d i s a s t e r s ( E r i c s o n , Baranek & Chan, 1987: 44-50). Viewer t r u s t i n the a u t h e n t i c i t y of news about r i s k i s c r i t i c a l t o the extent that i t guides i n d i v i d u a l and/or c o l l e c t i v e a c t i o n (Giddens, 1990: 35) . I f a sexual predator i s on the loose, i n f o r m a t i o n about at t a c k p a t t e r n s , v i c t i m p r o f i l e s , and the scenes, of the crimes could reduce the danger of • viewers who may be at r i s k by a l t e r i n g t h e i r behaviour. Viewers are i n a p o s i t i o n t o t r u s t bad news f o r t h e i r own s a f e t y . Bad news i s o f t e n tempered w i t h good news that p r e v i o u s l y broadcast dangers are at bay, that the crime or d i s a s t e r i s under c o n t r o l , that the sexual predator i s behind bars (Ericson, Baranek &Chan, 1987: 44-50) . . Viewers are i n a p o s i t i o n to t r u s t the good news as much as the bad t o the extent that i t d i r e c t s , or r e d i r e c t s t h e i r a c t i v i t y f o r the purpose of maximizing personal and/or c o l l e c t i v e s a f e t y . Trustworthy news has two components: c r e d i b i l i t y and d i s t i n c t i o n . The c r e d i b i l i t y f a c t o r ..is•-.the- extent t o which a newscast i s b e l i e v a b l e . T h e " - d i s t i n c t i o n f a c t o r r e f e r s t o the p r o p e r t i e s of a newscast that d i f f e r e n t i a t e the news on competing s t a t i o n s and i s i n t e r t w i n e d w i t h c r e d i b i l i t y . One could argue, as many respondents d i d , that c r e d i b i l i t y and d i s t i n c t i o n are simply achieved through j o u r n a l i s t i c e x c e l l e n c e , through q u a l i t y news coverage according t o l o c a l i n d u s t r y standards g e n e r a l l y and s t a t i o n standards more s p e c i f i c a l l y . 13 The common i n d u s t r y argument i s that j o u r n a l i s t i c e x c e l l e n c e and q u a l i t y news coverage can somehow be measured by the extent to which a s t a t i o n ' s news i s on the l e a d i n g edge, by i t ' s depth, balance, accuracy, f a i r n e s s , i n t e g r i t y , and by the extent, comparatively, to which i t i s r e f i n e d and 'up to the minute'. But despite a s t a t i o n ' s standing i n the r a t i n g s , employees of each s t a t i o n argued that i t s news i s as good as, i f not a cut above, the r e s t according to .the k s o - c a l l e d ' o b j e c t i v e ' i n d i c a t o r s of trustworthy news. This b r i n g s i n t o question the extent t o which ' o b j e c t i v e ' j o u r n a l i s t i c e x c e l l e n c e p l a y s a r o l e i n e s t a b l i s h i n g s t a t i o n c r e d i b i l i t y , d i s t i n c t i o n , viewer l o y a l t y , and p u t t i n g one s t a t i o n ahead i n l o c a l r a t i n g s . And even i f i t i s true that a l l l o c a l s t a t i o n s provide f i r s t - r a t e news coverage, the argument put f o r t h here i s not enough to e x p l a i n d i f f e r e n t i a l r a t i n g s time and time again. There i s another problem w i t h t h i s argument. While employees of each s t a t i o n defended the j o u r n a l i s t i c i n t e g r i t y and s u p e r i o r s t a t u s of i t s news q u a l i t y , there was a l s o h e s i t a n t admission that there may not . r e a l l y be a l l that much d i f f e r e n c e between the ' q u a l i t y ' ofi? .news - on v.:compet-ing ..stations. One interviewee recognized that "there i s n ' t a great deal of d i f f e r e n c e i n the coverage of the main items". Another acknowledged that " a l l three newscasts are going to be about the same . . . there might be more j o u r n a l i s t i c i n t e g r i t y i n our pieces but that would be debatable, probably, by each of the s t a t i o n s . " And where ' o b j e c t i v e ' d i f f e r e n c e s of news q u a l i t y do 14 e x i s t i n the eyes of i n d u s t r y and/or s t a t i o n experts, there i s c e r t a i n l y no guarantee that audiences p i c k up on those d i f f e r e n c e s . The r e s u l t s of focus group s t u d i e s l e d one news d i r e c t o r t o the co n c l u s i o n that j o u r n a l i s t i c 'standards' do not n e c e s s a r i l y d i s t i n g u i s h competing s t a t i o n s i n the viewer's mind. We know that i f you show the same s t o r y done by three d i f f e r e n t s t a t i o n s to a focus group they don't see some of the j o u r n a l i s t i c d i f f e r e n c e s that we see. They don't n e c e s s a r i l y p i c k up on the things that we t h i n k are g l a r i n g l y obvious, you know, the-aspects.of ; t h e , s t o r y that were completely l e f t o u t ' o n ^ a n o t h e r 4 s t a t i o n ;or the balance element. Viewers cannot be expected to assess news q u a l i t y according t o the same c r i t e r i a that i n d u s t r y i n s i d e r s deem important. Members of the audience are, f o r the most p a r t , "'naive' s p e c t a t o r s " (Bourdieu, 1984: 4). News production p r a c t i c e s and standards are s e l f - r e f e r e n t i a l and i n t e r n a l to the p r o f e s s i o n . The notions of news q u a l i t y that serve as g u i d i n g f o r c e s w i t h i n the broadcast news i n d u s t r y only have meaning and value w i t h i n that i n d u s t r y and i n r e l a t i o n to i t s h i s t o r y . Viewers cannot p o s s i b l y judge news q u a l i t y w i t h the same c u l t u r a l competence that t e l e v i s i o n j o u r n a l i s t s - r e l y on :to judge'each other' s work. While i t may be d e s i r a b l e - t o .provide: viewers w i t h ' q u a l i t y ' news content, i t i s c e r t a i n l y not s u f f i c i e n t f o r winning viewer t r u s t . ' Q u a l i t y ' j o u r n a l i s m alone ( o b j e c t i v i t y , balance, accuracy, etc.) guarantees n e i t h e r audience respect nor s t a t i o n success i n terms of r a t i n g s and/or revenue. ' Q u a l i t y ' news coverage does not ensure that viewers w i l l p e r ceive the news t o be of high q u a l i t y . And i t c e r t a i n l y does not ensure that 15 viewers w i l l p erceive the news on one s t a t i o n to be more trust w o r t h y than news on competing l o c a l channels. I r o n i c a l l y , d e s p i t e s t a t i o n attempts to compete f o r viewers on the b a s i s of i n t e r n a l j o u r n a l i s t i c values, "by any o b j e c t i v e standard - there i s remarkably l i t t l e news on t e l e v i s i o n " (Meyrowitz, 1985: 90), and the scanty d e t a i l s that are provided tend to be f o r g o t t e n by those who watch TV news anyway (Ericson, Baranek & Chan, 1991: 29). Those t r u l y i n search.<;of lengthy 'and comprehensive l o c a l news coverage are f a r better.-served by newspapers which . o f f e r much l e s s redundant and s i m p l i f i e d s t o r i e s than TV news provides ( i b i d : 24) . The argument that viewer t r u s t i s simply won through o b j e c t i v e i n d i c a t o r s of ' q u a l i t y ' s t o r y coverage and t o p i c s e l e c t i o n i s , c l e a r l y , f a u l t y . I t f a i l s to e x p l a i n why so many people f e e l that t e l e v i s i o n provides the most "trustworthy" news compared to other news sources (Meyrowitz, 1985: 106) and undermines the complexity of how viewer t r u s t i s a c t u a l l y won. The key t o winning viewer t r u s t has l e s s t o do w i t h i n d u s t r y standards of ' q u a l i t y ' news content as de f i n e d above, and more to do w i t h the p r o j e c t i o n -of'•" a trustworthy image that i s staged. The i n t e n t here i s not to draw -a sharp d i s t i n c t i o n between the two, or to suggest that the c o n s t r u c t i o n of appearances i s completely separate from c o n s i d e r a t i o n s of balance, f a c t u a l i t y , e t c . The poin t to underscore i s that ' q u a l i t y ' t e l e v i s i o n news depends f i r s t and foremost on 'staged appearances' and viewer perceptions of those appearances (Goffman, [1959] 1973). Viewer perceptions of c r e d i b i l i t y and 16 d i s t i n c t i o n come not simply through o b j e c t i v e content i n d i c a t o r s of those q u a l i t i e s , but through t r u s t i n the t e l e v i s e d images that represent those q u a l i t i e s ( G r i f f i n , 1992: 139; Meyrowitz, 1985: 62; Wexler, 1986: 247). There i s no other way of seeing and e x p e r i e n c i n g c r e d i b i l i t y and d i s t i n c t i o n and commanding respect. T e l e v i s i o n i s , a f t e r a l l , a medium of per c e p t i o n s , a medium of images, of s u b j e c t i v e impressions (Meyrowitz, 1994: 57) . In the words of one producer, : ".our^business i s b u i l t on perceptions ... you're dealingJ.withvxpure,fperoeptions a l l of the time." I t only makes sense to c u l t i v a t e the image of c r e d i b i l i t y , d i s t i n c t i o n , and j o u r n a l i s t i c e x c e l l e n c e , e s p e c i a l l y since viewers remember TV images, more than s p e c i f i c d e t a i l s about news content (Ericson, Baranek & Chan, 1991: 29). What I have i m p l i e d but not s t a t e d thus f a r i s a 'medium theory' (Meyrowitz, 1985; 1994) approach to • understanding the c o m p l e x i t i e s of why t e l e v i s i o n news i s considered by viewers to be the most b e l i e v a b l e . Audience t r u s t generated on the b a s i s of c r e d i b l e images and s t r a t e g i c appearances p o i n t s t o the power of the medium and i t s c a p a c i t y t o ^command; «;respect/ whi l e •revealing very l i t t l e , i n the^wayfl'o'f-^detailedv.information; • The e f f e c t s of the medium on viewer perceptions has l e s s to w i t h the news that i s conveyed and more to do w i t h the a c t u a l method of i t s t r a n s m i s s i o n . Trust i n the a u t h e n t i c i t y of TV news, content i s underscored by viewers' p r e d i s p o s i t i o n to t r u s t the technology, and the nature of the imagery that i s p r o j e c t e d on t e l e v i s i o n . 17 TV has sewn the seeds f o r i t s own b l i n d acceptance by-p l a y i n g a p i v o t a l r o l e i n the transformation of c u l t u r e i n the mid and l a t e t w e n t i e t h century. S o c i a l o r g a n i z a t i o n , ways of t h i n k i n g , a c t i n g and being have a l l been a l t e r e d through the impact of the t e l e v i s i o n medium. TV has not simply changed the consciousness of a c u l t u r e , i t has reshaped the very f a b r i c of s o c i a l r e a l i t y and how people experience i t . The medium has created a c u l t u r e which m i r r o r s i t s ownvimagevand, as a r e s u l t , has become the way people experience ,.'individual,j,.and c o l l e c t i v e e x i s t e n c e . TV has set the stage f o r i t s own domination by c r e a t i n g and r e i n f o r c i n g c u l t u r a l assumptions that ' r e a l i t y ' a c t u a l l y happens " i n , on and through t e l e v i s i o n " (Meyrowitz, 1994: 72). Trust i n • t h e medium breeds t r u s t i n - t h e message which i s shaped and d e f i n e d by the unique format and .expressive c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s of t e l e v i s i o n . TV i s an expressive p l a t f o r m which feeds a c u l t u r e ' s a d d i c t i o n to sensory embellishment. This i s why assessments of the a u t h e n t i c i t y of TV news are made more on the b a s i s of what 4:he '• news..rlooks, ...sounds and ' f e e l s ' l i k e , than on the a c t u a l - essence of news content. The c u l t i v a t i o n of b e l i e v a b l e images f o r d i s p l a y on the e l e c t r o n i c stage of d a i l y experience i s d r i v e n by the format of t e l e v i s i o n which s t i m u l a t e s audience perceptions of the a u t h o r i t a t i v e c e r t a i n t y of both the message and the medium. TV news i s constructed and d e l i v e r e d w i t h i n the parameters of an entertainment format (Ericson, Baranek & Chan, 1991: 36; 18 Snow, 1994: 47). Format c o n s i d e r a t i o n s , l i k e c r e d i b l e and d i s t i n c t i v e images, are at l e a s t as, i f not more, important that a c t u a l news content (Snow, 1994: 34, 35, 40). In f a c t , the entertainment format a c t u a l l y heightens the n e c e s s i t y f o r a trustworthy image since i t , l i k e the TV a d v e r t i s i n g format i t i s modelled a f t e r , o f f e r s viewers no opportunity t o judge or challenge the t r u t h claims that are presented ( E r i c s o n , Baranek & Chan, 1991: 35-37). Te 1 e v i s i o n . news i s . not.. about d i s c u s s i o n and debate, i t i s about trust:;that^there..is-jno..need f o r debate, that t r u t h claims need not be challenged. The entertainment format demands that d a i l y events be s e n s a t i o n a l i z e d through dramatic and c a p t i v a t i n g sounds and v i s u a l s that are i n t e r s p e r s e d w i t h short c l i p s of people a s s e r t i n g t h e i r knowledge and a u t h o r i t y . A trustworthy image serves as a p r o t e c t i v e mechanism to s h i e l d from viewers that TV news i s as much a product of the c r e a t i v i t y and imagination of j o u r n a l i s t s and sources as i t i s an ' o b j e c t i v e ' r e p r e s e n t a t i o n of the s t o r i e s that are covered ( i b i d : 26) . A trustworthy image i s p i v o t a l s i n c e the purpose of ;;TV*:news ,:is-:to /convince viewers that i t d e l i v e r s accurate and .•relTable:;;accountsu:of,, the ' t r u t h ' as opposed to s u b j e c t i v e , e n t e r t a i n i n g , r e c o n s t r u c t i o n s of r e a l i t y designed to meet format s p e c i f i c a t i o n s (Lasch, 1979: 137, 142). But what i s a- trustworthy newscast image that represents c r e d i b i l i t y and d i s t i n c t i o n ? The answer to t h i s question i s audience s p e c i f i c . A producer s u c c i n c t l y s t a t e d that news, i n the end, i s about "meeting the needs and expectations of t a r g e t 19 groups." The c o n s t r u c t i o n and p r o j e c t i o n of a trustworthy image r e q u i r e s that s t a t i o n s not only tap i n t o the t a s t e s of d e s i r e d viewers, but c l a i m those t a s t e s as t h e i r own, and d i s p l a y them durin g t h e i r d a i l y news shows (Bourdieu, 1984). A t r u s t w o r t h y image comes through e f f e c t i v e d i s p l a y s of expressive equipment -through the show of signs and symbols which r e f l e c t the t a s t e s , the values, of a s t a t i o n ' s t a r g e t news audience (Goffman [1959] 1973). The u l t i m a t e image -of.-distinct - c r e d i b i L i t y i s one that s a t i s f i e s the t r u s t needs of d e s i r e d viewers by appealing t o t h e i r p a r t i c u l a r s e n s i b i l i t i e s . T e l e v i s i o n news i s a t h e a t r i c a l production (Cayley, c i t e d i n E r i c s o n , Baranek & Chan, 1987: 51). The TV screen, or the " f r o n t r e g i o n " of a news program, i s an elaborate staged s e t t i n g f u l l of a l l kinds of expressive equipment designed t o e l i c i t viewer t r u s t (Goffman [1959] 1973: 22, 107, 134). Since t e l e v i s i o n i s a v i s u a l , audible medium, anything that appears on the screen and emanates from the speaker i s a stage prop w i t h the expressive c a p a c i t y to represent c r e d i b i l i t y and d i s t i n c t i o n . The choice of~- news ^ content, Ehowjai-t^'s organized, w r i t t e n and f i l m e d , are among••'itlie.'*many^;sub.jre.ctl\'v;.e^elements of a set which c o n t r i b u t e to the f e e l of a newscast, the image of a s t a t i o n . Graphics, logos and background elements together w i t h theme music, the presence or absence of -news.desks and opening animation are other important props which a l s o suggest t o viewers, 'we can be t r u s t e d ' , 'we have i n t e g r i t y ' , 'we hope you f e e l at home i n t h i s newscast s e t t i n g ' . 20 Although d i f f e r e n c e s may be s u b t l e i n some cases, expressive equipment does d i f f e r from s t a t i o n to s t a t i o n i n sound, c o l o u r , design and combination. A d i s t i n c t i v e s t y l e and a c r e d i b l e image r e s t on the ornamentation of the screen viewers' experience when they t a k e • i n a newscast on t e l e v i s i o n . A tr u s t w o r t h y image of j o u r n a l i s t i c e x c e l l e n c e comes not simply through i n d u s t r y notions of su p e r i o r s t o r y coverage and t o p i c s e l e c t i o n , but through the expressive- qualiti-es r,of;.anything that appears on the screen includingits.*'..labelLing-.; ^packaging and p r e s e n t a t i o n . News Anchors: The Embodiment of D i s t i n c t i v e C r e d i b i l i t y S u c c e s s f u l bodies are at the core of any s u c c e s s f u l o r g a n i z a t i o n a l image (Featherstone, 1991: 191; Turner, 1984: 111) . As pieces of "expressive equipment", TV news anchors are, i n many ways, more e f f e c t i v e than non-human p a r t s of the s e t t i n g (Goffman [1959] 1973:220). While content, graphics and logos are important c o n t r i b u t o r s to a s t a t i o n ' s image, they don't have the same power anchors do to ^ p h y s i c a l l y '-embody ^ c r e d i b i l i t y and d i s t i n c t i o n . The value of'news>vanchors, :li'es;-in^their a b i l i t y to p e r s o n i f y both of these t r u s t components and to p r o j e c t that t r u s t w o r t h i n e s s to the viewing audience. One respondent captured the power of t h i s p o t e n t i a l when he dec l a r e d that "the anchor i s the message". Whether anchors are aware of i t or not, t h e i r body language speaks volumes to the p u b l i c . I t provides a d e f i n i t i o n of the 21 s e l f , of t h e i r personal s i t u a t i o n (Goffman [1959] 1973; 1961; 1971; S h i l l i n g , 1993; Turner, 1984). T h e i r t e l e v i s i o n image r e f l e c t s not only t h e i r character but a l s o t h e i r values, b e l i e f s , emotions, a t t i t u d e s , t a s t e s and a e s t h e t i c i d e a l s (Bourdieu, -1984;. Featherstone, 1991; S h i l l i n g , 1993). A l l of these q u a l i t i e s a v a i l a b l e f o r viewer assessment i d e a l l y suggest to the audience that the anchor i n question i s a t r u s t w o r t h y messenger. Delvi n g i n t o the complexities.iofran anchor's image r e q u i r e s the v i s u a l i z a t i o n of t h e i r "personal f r o n t " (Goffman [1959] 1973: 24) as a composite of signs and symbols which can be broken down i n t o two general types ( F i n k e l s t e i n , 1991). Some components of t h e i r personal f r o n t are authentic and genuine, and exude the core, d i s t i n c t i v e essence of the anchor-person as a unique inner and outer b e h a v i o r a l , s p i r i t u a l , v e r b a l and v i s u a l person. These components are e i t h e r impossible, or extremely d i f f i c u l t to change. They i n c l u d e gender, age, s i z e and race together w i t h p e r s o n a l i t y , v o c a l q u a l i t y , innate f a c i l i t i e s and charisma. Physiognomypis^incibudedihere top: the s i z e and shape of t h e i r • 1 ip*st,vseyes^iearsi/'.f.-chin.,-ariose and. t e e t h , and the unique combination of these features on t h e i r face. Other a u t h e n t i c components of an anchor's image i n c l u d e t h e i r d i s p o s i t i o n , how they experience l i f e and the accumulation of t h e i r l i f e experiences. These f a c t o r s a l l c o n t r i b u t e to an anchor's character - t h e i r values, a t t i t u d e s , p e r s o n a l i t y and t a s t e s . 22 A l l these components of an anchor's personal f r o n t are r e l a t i v e l y f i x e d . They do not vary g r e a t l y , i f at a l l , from one day to the next except, p o s s i b l y , through therapy, surgery, or a d d i t i o n a l l i f e experience. These elements of an anchor's image are, e s s e n t i a l l y , what, c o n t r i b u t e to remarkable d i f f e r e n c e s between anchors themselves, t h e i r newscasts, and competing t e l e v i s i o n s t a t i o n s . An anchor's embodiment of a u t h e n t i c d i s t i n c t i o n cannot be d u p l i c a t e d : by another .anchor or a d i f f e r e n t s t a t i o n . Other components of an anchor's personal f r o n t are c u l t i v a t e d , nurtured or manipulated. These signs and symbols c o n s i s t of the more s u p e r f i c i a l elements of an anchor-person's image that are s t y l e d and shaped. They i n c l u d e the c o l o u r and design of things l i k e c l o t h i n g , make-up, je w e l r y and h a i r : anything that enhances b o d i l y appearance. Speech i s malleable too. A d e s i r e d pace, tone and'cadence can be nurtured. Other c u l t i v a t e d components of an anchor's personal f r o n t i n c l u d e the s t y l e of r e a l and imagined i n t e r a c t i o n , p l u s any p r a c t i c a l and t h e a t r i c a l s k i l l s that can. be, or have been, picked-up. These c u l t i v a t e d components . of ".fan;, anchor' s f r o n t are r e l a t i v e l y u n f i x e d and can be e a s i l y manipulated. They are, e s s e n t i a l l y , what engender the perception of anchors as c r e d i b l e purveyors of l o c a l news and other events from around the world and across the n a t i o n . The embodiment of c u l t i v a t e d c r e d i b i l i t y l o o k s , sounds and f e e l s remarkably s i m i l a r between anchors at the same and competing l o c a l s t a t i o n s . News anchors, from t h i s 23 p e r s p e c t i v e , are r e l a t i v e l y interchangeable. The signs of t r u s t that mark an e f f e c t i v e anchor are comprehensible w i t h i n the shadowy confines of the f u s i o n of opposing elements j u s t presented. I t must be made c l e a r that c u l t i v a t e d c r e d i b i l i t y and authentic d i s t i n c t i o n are t y p o l o g i e s f o r the a n a l y s i s i n the f o l l o w i n g chapters of t h i s paper. The boundaries of both c a t e g o r i e s are permeable, and elements of each are interwoven w i t h the other., .But before, moving,on. to the s p e c i f i c t r u s t signs expected of .anchors,:,in i t h e 1 local., broadcast r e g i o n s t u d i e d , i t i s important to c l a r i f y how t h e i r o v e r a l l image serves t o 'anchor' the t r u s t needs of s t a t i o n s and viewers. C l e a r l y , a news anchor's image i s extremely potent i n i t s c a p a c i t y to communicate numerous messages to a t e l e v i s i o n audience. I t provides viewers w i t h not only a d e f i n i t i o n of t h e i r personal s i t u a t i o n but a l s o w i t h a d e f i n i t i o n of the newscast and the t e l e v i s i o n s t a t i o n (Edelman, 1964; Goffman, [1959] 1973; 1961). A d i s t i n c t l y c r e d i b l e anchor represents the s t a t i o n and serves as a f r o n t for-,the,-ientire';;organ'izata:on.. , This - i s why news anchor image * i s so ^important.. .. :Tt can. de f i n e the s t a t i o n as trustworthy i n the mind of the audience. I t only makes sense f o r executives i n t e l e v i s i o n t o use bodies as o r g a n i z a t i o n a l emblems to represent t h e i r p o s i t i o n ( F i n k l e s t e i n , 1991; Hochschild, 1983). T e l e v i s i o n i n general, and the TV news format i n p a r t i c u l a r , has an edge over other mass media news formats when 24 i t comes to generating audience t r u s t . T e l e v i s i o n f a c i l i t a t e s the d i s p l a y of embodied t r u s t signs i n a way that n e i t h e r p r i n t nor r a d i o can (Ericson, Baranek & Chan, 1991) . Newspapers and magazines, on the one hand, are forced to nurture reader t r u s t s t r i c t l y through s t a t i c v i s u a l i n f o r m a t i o n about i t s 'trustworthy' r e p r e s e n t a t i v e s i n c l u d i n g , importantly, sources as a u t h o r i z e d knowers (Ericson, Baranek & Chan, 1987; 1989) . Readers must base t h e i r judgements about a paper.'s.character and b e l i e v a b i l i t y on the printed-words and t i n y s t i l l photographs of e d i t o r s , r e p o r t e r s and columnists and news sources. Radio, on the other hand, attempts to c u l t i v a t e l i s t e n e r t r u s t through the f l u i d a u d i t o r y cues of i t s announcers but f a i l s t o provide l i s t e n e r s w i t h v i s u a l i n f o r m a t i o n about them. Both p r i n t and r a d i o are r e s t r i c t i v e formats. N e i t h e r medium can o f f e r t h e i r audience a comprehensive r e p r e s e n t a t i o n of t h e i r spokespeople. Viewer assessments of t h e i r t r u s t w o r t h i n e s s are based l a r g e l y on imagination, mystery and l i m i t e d expressive i n f o r m a t i o n . The most e f f e c t i v e way to generate audience t r u s t and l o y a l t y i s not through mystery,•)but through audience perceptions that there i s very l i t t l e mystery.about those who f r o n t a media o r g a n i z a t i o n . T e l e v i s i o n i s the l e a s t mysterious of a l l news media ( i b i d ) . I t s r i c h a u d i t o r y and v i s u a l dimensions are l i f e -l i k e . T e l e v i s i o n news anchors are presented t o viewers through moving, t a l k i n g p i c t u r e s . The audience i s given f a r more, and much r i c h e r , expressive i n f o r m a t i o n about TV anchors than they are about the announcers and w r i t e r s that f r o n t r a d i o and p r i n t 25 news o r g a n i z a t i o n s . The format features of t e l e v i s i o n ensure that c h a r a c t e r assessments of anchors are based, not on mystery, but on the abundance of authentic and c u l t i v a t e d expressive signs that they p r o j e c t onto the t e l e v i s i o n screen. The TV screen i s not simply an elaborate staged s e t t i n g f u l l of expressive equipment, i t i s a l s o the "access p o i n t " which connects viewers to s t a t i o n s and the news pro d u c t i o n system (Giddens, 1990: 83-88). Since anchors-:have the power to de f i n e s t a t i o n s as trustworthy, i t : i s c r i t i c a l that they appear at t h i s access p o i n t . Through t h e i r r e g u l a r t e l e v i s i o n appearances, anchors provide the l i n k between viewer and s t a t i o n t r u s t ( i b i d : 115) . Viewer t r u s t i n p a r t i c u l a r s t a t i o n s and newscasts depends on perceptions of the anchors' b e l i e v a b i l i t y and on a sense of connection w i t h them ( i b i d : 113-115) . Personal t r u s t r e l a t i o n s w i t h anchors are powerful and p s y c h o l o g i c a l l y rewarding f o r viewers. E f f e c t i v e anchors who p r o j e c t signs of t r u s t can make those who watch them f e e l safe and secure about the news they d e l i v e r - that i t i s accurate and r e l i a b l e . The presence of news • anchors at TV'-s access p o i n t can l i t e r a l l y 'anchor' the complementary'trust-needs, of s t a t i o n s and viewers i n a way that the expert news production system i t s e l f cannot. The 'anchoring' e f f e c t , though, i s not a given. There i s no guarantee that a s t a t i o n ' s d e s i r e d audience w i l l p e r c e i v e i t s anchors t o be trustworthy ( i b i d : 90-99) . As mentioned, expressive t r u s t signs are s u b j e c t i v e , not o b j e c t i v e , i n d i c a t o r s 26 of t r u s t w o r t h i n e s s . Anchors embody d i s t i n c t i v e c r e d i b i l i t y only to the extent that the audience i s convinced that they represent those q u a l i t i e s . For t h i s reason, the t e l e v i s i o n screen that connects viewers w i t h anchors i s a place of t e n s i o n and v u l n e r a b i l i t y f o r both audiences and s t a t i o n s . Viewer d e c i s i o n s about which s t a t i o n provides the most trustworthy news hinges on t h e i r c haracter assessments of the var i o u s anchors. I t only makes sense that viewers are. drawn. to watch...newscasts hosted by anchors that d i s p l a y authentic,-and . c u l t i v a t e d , , . q u a l i t i e s that they recognize to be d i s t i n c t l y c r e d i b l e . This s u b j e c t i v e component means that viewer t r u s t must be worked at and nego t i a t e d w i t h the audience. I have already s t a t e d that the goal f o r s t a t i o n s i s to win sought a f t e r viewers by f u l f i l l i n g t h e i r t r u s t -needs during l o c a l news productions. I a l s o have argued that s t a t i o n s do t h i s by tapping and f l a u n t i n g the t a s t e s and s e n s i b i l i t i e s of those viewers. I f the f r o n t of the anchor and, hence, the s t a t i o n p l a y s on the a f f e c t i o n s of d e s i r e d viewers, commands t h e i r respect, and displaysithe^appropriate. s.igns;.:;of c r e d i b i l i t y and d i s t i n c t i o n , i t w i l l murtur.e laudience. ...loyalty and b r i n g success t o the s t a t i o n . D i s p l a y i n g the t r u s t needs of viewers, though, r e q u i r e s that s t a t i o n s and anchors have some understanding of who t h e i r t a r g e t audience i s (Cantor, 1994; Ettema & Whitney, 1994). Each of the three TV news operations s t u d i e d i s d r i v e n by an audiencemaking philosophy which I have coined ' i n t e r c a s t i n g ' . 27 I n t e r c a s t i n g i s l i t e r a l l y the f u s i o n of narrow and broadcasting. The narrowcasting dimension represents a contemporary t r e n d i n t e l e v i s i o n audience t a r g e t i n g (Barnes & Thomson, 1994; Cantor, 1994) . The goal i s to capture a s p e c i f i c segment of 'the mass audience. The broadcasting dimension represents the t r a d i t i o n a l audience t a r g e t i n g approach (Ericson, Baranek & Chan, 1991; Meyrowitz, 1985). The goal i s to a t t r a c t a l a r g e share of the mass u n d i f f e r e n t i a t e d audience. :-Both- .^components of t h i s i n t e r c a s t i n g philosophy shape- .^respondents'... ..accounts of the s u b j e c t i v e q u a l i t i e s of an e f f e c t i v e news anchor persona. Respondents from each s t a t i o n c l e a r l y c i t e d the d e s i r e to draw a 'younger' segment of the mass audience. While the s p e c i f i c t a r g e t range v a r i e s s l i g h t l y between s t a t i o n s , the attempt t o connect w i t h the 25-49 y e a r , o l d age group is>common to a l l three. Interview data suggest that t h i s tendency towards narrowcasting i s p a r t i a l l y d r i v e n by pressure from a d v e r t i s e r s who are c u r r e n t l y a f t e r t h i s p a r t i c u l a r segment of the audience, e s p e c i a l l y those i n t h e i r e a r l y to m i d - t h i r t i e s . The b e l i e f i s that brand l o y a l t y f o r products is--developed d u r i n g these years. The push to a t t r a c t t h i s segment of the audience i s a l s o f u e l l e d by the s t a t i o n s themselves and i s informed by the a d v e r t i s i n g philosophy j u s t mentioned. Many respondents s t r e s s e d the importance of a t t r a c t i n g viewers when they are 'young' si n c e t h i s i s when they are most l i k e l y t o develop s t a t i o n l o y a l t y as w e l l . I f , however, any of the three s t a t i o n s 28 were committed only to t h i s narrowcasting approach, t h e i r programming and imagery would be designed t o appeal o n l y t o the t r u s t needs of a c t u a l and p o t e n t i a l viewers w i t h i n the t a r g e t demographic. CITY-TV i n Toronto, Ontario i s one example of a s t a t i o n w i t h an unwavering commitment to narrowcasting. I t s ' d i s c o - j o u r n a l i s m ' newscast s t y l e i s designed t o appeal s p e c i f i c a l l y to the young 'Much Music' generation. While the image of i t s anchors and a l l other-expressive.-.equipment on the set are t a i l o r e d to the needs .-and,''tastes of t h i s , s p e c i f i c t a r g e t group, the newscasts are sure to t u r n o f f many other viewers. The s t a t i o n s i n the l o c a l news market s t u d i e d are not w i l l i n g t o take that r i s k . Each s t a t i o n ' s commitment to a t t r a c t a 'younger' demographic i s tempered by the d e s i r e to remain a c c e s s i b l e to a c t u a l and p o t e n t i a l viewers outside of the 25-49 age bracket. News anchor imagery, then, must not only c a t e r to the needs of younger viewers, but a l s o serve the t r u s t needs of the e n t i r e mass audience. The most e f f e c t i v e anchor image f o r a broadcast audience i s one l e a s t l i k e l y to be considered untrustworthy by the multitude of d i v e r s e viewers that- :might be watching. An anchor persona considered "Least Objectionable" (Meyrowitz, 1985: 73) t o the masses i s more l i k e l y t o remain on more t e l e v i s i o n screens than one w i t h high appeal to o n l y a c e r t a i n segment of the heterogeneous aggregate. One anchor aware of both the narrow and broadcasting dimensions to her s t a t i o n ' s audiencemaking approach s t a t e d t h a t , 29 "Hopefully we can make a younger audience i n t e r e s t e d i n our program without f o r f e i t i n g the viewers we know we can already depend on which i s g e n e r a l l y an o l d e r audience." Another respondent from a d i f f e r e n t s t a t i o n a l s o s t r e s s e d the importance of r e t a i n i n g a l a r g e share of the mass . audience w h i l e at the same time appealing to the s p e c i f i e d 'younger' demographic. Demographics have become more important than sheer numbers over the l a s t , say, f i v e or s i x years. But f o r us, we hope that we c a t e r t o a l l kinds of people, .all,;kinds.;.-.of. ages, a l l kinds of job d e s c r i p t i o n s :and" so on. We,don't program s p e c i f i c a l l y f o r anyone, although .segments of\the;program do. These comments c l e a r l y suggest that audience s p e c i a l i z a t i o n , while important, does not o v e r r i d e the attempt to b o l s t e r t o t a l audience s i z e . On one l e v e l , i n t e r c a s t i n g can be understood through i t s r e l a t i o n s h i p t o the ' a d v e r t i s i n g i n d u s t r y . I f e f f e c t i v e , i t not only serves to appease a d v e r t i s e r s who want to develop brand l o y a l t y i n the 'younger' segment of the viewing audience, but a l s o s a t i s f i e s a d v e r t i s e r s who are impressed by mass audience numbers (Barnes & Thomson, 1994: 85, 87, 91). On a d i f f e r e n t l e v e l , . i n t e r c a s t i n g i s informed by the awareness that :news,:audiences..are, d i f f i c u l t t o t a r g e t . According t o one producer, those that are i n t e r e s t e d , i n • c u r r e n t ' e v e n t s t u r n i t on and they can be i n any age group. Even though at times there i s an e f f o r t made to put a younger s p i n on t h i n g s , those who watch news, watch news. Those who don't,, there's no way you're going to get them anyway. This b e l i e f i s what keeps these s t a t i o n s from r e l i n q u i s h i n g t h e i r e f f o r t s to reach the mass audience while attempting, simultaneously, to develop 'younger' viewer l o y a l t y . 30 The challenge, then, f o r anchors i n t h i s TV news r e g i o n i s ba l a n c i n g the t r u s t needs of an i n t e r c a s t audience through t h e i r p r o j e c t e d o n - a i r imagery. Their authentic and c u l t i v a t e d signs and symbols must appear d i s t i n c t i v e and c r e d i b l e t o 'younger' members of the audience while not appearing untrustworthy t o any others who might be watching. The s p e c i f i c signs of anchor t r u s t o u t l i n e d i n the f o l l o w i n g chapters are those considered to best meet the demands of t h i s i n t e r c a s t . .audience, both the narrow and broadcasting dimensions. 31 CHAPTER TWO: A WAY OF LOOKING Beauty, the Beast, and Real Looking Anchors A f i t t i n g place to begin i s w i t h the unadorned body, the naked face, the most b a s i c element of o n - a i r appearance that c o n t r i b u t e s to the authentic d i s t i n c t i v e n e s s of anchors and s t a t i o n s . Everyone, except p o s s i b l y i d e n t i c a l twins, has a d i f f e r e n t f a c i a l appearance. But despite the ...wide range of looks that e x i s t i n the general p o p u l a t i o n , t h e r e are l i m i t s w i t h i n that range that are d e s i r a b l e , and outside of which can cause problems f o r news anchors on t e l e v i s i o n . In other words, a d i s t i n c t i v e face i s an e s s e n t i a l given, but not s u i t a b l e i f too r a r e or a t y p i c a l . Crossing the boundaries of acceptable l i m i t s i s b e l i e v e d to undermine the c r e d i b i l i t y o f, and a t t r a c t i o n t o , the anchor, t h e i r newscast, and the TV s t a t i o n . Any attempt to ca t e g o r i z e f a c i a l appearance along an ' o b j e c t i v e ' continuum i n v o l v e s t r e a d i n g on t e r r i t o r y t h a t , f o r some, could be considered not only provocative and o b j e c t i o n a b l e , but a l s o impossible on grounds that any assessment of. beauty or un a t t r a c t i v e n e s s i s s u b j e c t i v e and. i n d i v i d u a l . ...The goal here i s not t o challenge that stance, i t i s one on which there i s f u l l agreement. S u b j e c t i v i t y i s , a f t e r a l l , at the foundation of t h i s a n a l y s i s . But o b j e c t i f y i n g appearance and a s s i g n i n g v a r i o u s looks to se c t i o n s along a continuum of a t t r a c t i v e n e s s i s e s s e n t i a l to the understanding of the r o l e v a r i o u s looks are b e l i e v e d t o p l a y i n the s u b j e c t i v e assessments of an audience. 32 With t h i s i n mind, o b j e c t i f y i n g the unacceptable extremes of f a c i a l appearance i s c r i t i c a l f o r f u l l comprehension of what a c t u a l l y i s deemed l e g i t i m a t e . At one extreme i s ' p e r f e c t ' l o o k i n g people: the o u t s t a n d i n g l y handsome, the f l a w l e s s l y b e a u t i f u l , those whose face appears as though i t may have been const r u c t e d by a cosmetic surgeon. Some interviewees r e f e r r e d t o t h i s as "Barbie and Ken" or the " c l a s s i c American 1 cookie c u t t e r anchor" that has high appeal „. south v.of the Canadian border. One make-up a r t i s t . r e c a l l e d her impression of an anchorman who once worked, f o r a short time, i n t h i s market and f i t t h i s d e s c r i p t i o n : "He was the t i n y p e r f e c t l i t t l e person. He looked l i k e he came out of a box. You j u s t c a r r i e d him i n , took him out of the box, and sat him i n the c h a i r . That's very American, we're not i n that market." One producer s t a t e d t h i s same p o i n t d i f f e r e n t l y when she s a i d that an anchor "can't be too good l o o k i n g because could you imagine a supermodel reading the news? They j u s t wouldn't b r i n g the c r e d i b i l i t y " . Several other producers and d i r e c t o r s agreed w i t h t h i s p e r s p e c t i v e and r e f e r r e d to themselves as : viewers when .they ..suggested that people are l e s s l i k e l y to trust~news.."anchors,.:that..look unflawed and u n r e a l . 1 T h i s and other references to 'American' anchors i s i n no way meant to imply a p a r a l l e l a n a l y s i s of what c o n s t i t u t e s trustworthy anchor expressions w i t h i n the United States context. For the purpose of t h i s t h e s i s , respondent references to 'American' anchors should be i n t e r p r e t e d o n l y as attempts t o e s t a b l i s h l o c a l market i d e n t i t y as d i s t i n c t and separate from t h e i r United States counterparts which have i n f i l t r a t e d cable s t a t i o n s l o c a l l y . 33 ' P e r f e c t ' looks can be counterproductive i n attempts to c u l t i v a t e a c r e d i b l e newscast and s t a t i o n image because 'p e r f e c t ' l o o k i n g people are so c l o s e l y l i n k e d w i t h Hollywood, the movies, and the high f a s h i o n i n d u s t r y . In the words of another producer, the news " i s not a f a s h i o n show" and h i s s t a t i o n "doesn't want to look as i f i t ' s j u s t p u t t i n g p r e t t y people on the a i r " without any 'foundation f o r what they're doing. Even though TV news i s as-.much .entertainment as soap operas, f a s h i o n shows and. feature .films (Ericson, Baranek & Chan, 1991: 26, 27), most producers and d i r e c t o r s i n t h i s TV market s a i d they want to draw a d i s t i n c t i o n between news and these other forms of entertainment. They don't want viewers t o equate news anchors w i t h the s t a r s of other t h e a t r i c a l p r e s e n t a t i o n s . ' P e r f e c t ' looking-anchors make . i t . d i f f i c u l t f o r viewers t o make t h i s d i s t i n c t i o n s ince movie s t a r s , models and soap opera characters are o f t e n featured s o l e l y on the b a s i s of t h e i r extremely a t t r a c t i v e appearance. A l s o , these other genres are promoted as f i c t i o n and the s u p e r f i c i a l a t t r i b u t e s of the s t a r r i n g characters help to^promo.te'viewers'.-escape i n t o f antasy and o t h e r w o r l d l i n e s s . News, "however,- i s . .promoted as n e i t h e r f i c t i o n nor fantasy and the task of anchors i s not t o propel viewers i n t o the world of escape but i n t o grim d a i l y r e a l i t y . The chance that ' p e r f e c t ' l o o k i n g anchors w i l l complement the se r i o u s tone of the genre and be perceived by viewers t o be t e l l i n g the ' t r u t h ' and to understand the news events they are promoting i s undermined by the s t e r e o t y p i c a l impression that 34 extremely good-looking people are s u p e r f i c i a l and, somehow, not i n t e l l i g e n t . I n s i d e r s i n t h i s t e l e v i s i o n market are u n w i l l i n g to r i s k the unfounded perception that o v e r l y a t t r a c t i v e anchors are more i n t e r e s t e d i n being ' s t a r s ' than s e r i o u s , seasoned, tr u s t w o r t h y messengers. 'Barbie and Ken' not only have the p o t e n t i a l of appearing t o l a c k c r e d i b i l i t y , they a l s o have the c a p a c i t y t c make viewers f e e l u gly. Images, naturally-invite.:comparisonSc..(Featherstone, 1991: 78), but the face of an -anchor.should not be so e x q u i s i t e that i t encourages viewers to r e f l e c t on what they do not, and might never look l i k e . The idea behind a d i s t i n c t i v e , c r e d i b l e image i s not to make viewers f e e l challenged or threatened i n terms of the embodiment of t h e i r own authentic d i s t i n c t i v e n e s s . An informant a r t i c u l a t e d t h i s p o i n t while r e f l e c t i n g on her f e e l i n g s as a viewer about the anchors at her s t a t i o n : Our people are a t t r a c t i v e but they're'not stunning. L i k e , they're not unusual.-. Most of- our people, i f you saw them j u s t out i n the general p u b l i c , you wouldn't stop on the s t r e e t and say, "Isn't that a fabulous l o o k i n g person?" You might n o t i c e them but you wouldn't gaze at them i n stunned s i l e n c e . We don't want Barbie and Ken reading the news. I don't want to feel.;.competitiv.e'while..l'.m watching the news. I don't want to. b e'interrupted by. worrying about comparing myself to that person. ' P e r f e c t ' l o o k i n g anchors run the r i s k of o f f e n d i n g viewers by making them f e e l u n a t t r a c t i v e and i n f e r i o r through t h e i r own comparisons w i t h them. ' I f an anchor's looks leave viewers f e e l i n g l e s s a t t r a c t i v e than before they tuned i n t o the news on that channel, they may choose to d i s l i k e that anchor and stop watching that newscast, reducing any chance of developing a ^ 35 sense of l o y a l t y to that anchor, newscast or s t a t i o n . I t could, of course, be argued that the extreme a t t r a c t i v e n e s s of other e n t e r t a i n e r s could cause e q u a l l y d e v a s t a t i n g audience comparisons. While t h i s c e r t a i n l y i s p o s s i b l e i t i s important to r e s t a t e that those characters are supposed t o embody otherness and fantasy which i s the a n t i t h e s i s of the grounded, serious,"everyday r e a l i t y that anchors are h i r e d t o represent. The i m p l i c a t i o n s of viewer comparisons of ;.their own f a c i a l appearance w i t h the looks of anchors and other dramatic ch a r a c t e r s are s u r e l y t i e d to the d i f f e r e n t sets of assumptions upon which the r e s p e c t i v e genres are based. The purpose here i s not t o delve i n t o a d e t a i l e d comparative a n a l y s i s of the impact that e x q u i s i t e l o o k i n g anchors and other e n t e r t a i n e r s are b e l i e v e d t o have on the l o y a l t y of an audience. The p o i n t to be made based on i n t e r v i e w data i s simply that ' p e r f e c t ' l o o k i n g anchors are " f a t a l l y a t t r a c t i v e " (Bourdieu, 1984: 193) t o the extent that s t a t i o n c r e d i b i l i t y and viewer esteem i s challenged or threatened. Transcending the norms•><of .human-.'facial .'appearance can a l s o occur at the opposite end -of :the • a t t r a c t i v e n e s s continuum. F a c i a l appearance at the extreme of u n a t t r a c t i v e n e s s i s e q u a l l y u n d e s i r a b l e f o r t e l e v i s i o n news anchors f o r s i m i l a r reasons. According t o -various respondents, a person w i t h an "obvious p h y s i c a l deformity", "scars" or " b i r t h d e f e c t s " w i l l , most l i k e l y , not break i n t o t h i s s ide of the business. N e i t h e r w i l l someone w i t h "buck t e e t h " , "excessive weight" or "gross acne". 36 One s t a t i o n executive claimed that " r e p u l s i v e people wouldn't a t t r a c t an audience... maybe there's a c u r i o s i t y f a c t o r that would l a s t f o r a couple of days, but beyond that people don't l i k e t o look up and see u n a t t r a c t i v e people." The t h r e a t that the s o - c a l l e d ' r e p u l s i v e ' poses to s t a t i o n success and viewer l o y a l t y i s s i m i l a r to the problem posed by the ' p e r f e c t ' people, the r a v i s h i n g . Again, c r e d i b i l i t y i s at r i s k . Extremely u n a t t r a c t i v e people • are,•..at.. the mercy of i n v a l i d a t e d , s t e r e o t y p i c a l ;assumptions- that such people are s t u p i d or simple. And while ' r e p u l s i v e ' people are u n l i k e l y to make others f e e l competitive or i n f e r i o r , they s t i l l i n v i t e comparisons that may be unpleasant reminders, f o r some, of what they, themselves, look l i k e ; and f o r others, what they might, someday, resemble. From t h i s perspective,-the u n a t t r a c t i v e are no l e s s p o t e n t i a l l y threathening to viewers than the stunning. An extremely imperfect l o o k i n g anchor i s ' f a t a l l y u n a t t r a c t i v e ' to the extent that e i t h e r s t a t i o n c r e d i b i l i t y i s undermined, or viewer f e a r s and s e n s i t i v i t i e s are challenged or threatened. E i t h e r extreme of f a c i a l appearance i s . n o t the:type of au t h e n t i c d i s t i n c t i o n that i n s i d e r s ' i n y t h i s ^ t e l e v i s i o m m a r k e t say would be e f f e c t i v e on t h e i r s t a t i o n s . One producer and former anchor spoke f o r h i s s t a t i o n , viewers, and the l o c a l i n d u s t r y i n general when he s t a t e d b l u n t l y : "You don't want them to say, 'Gee, i s that one ever u g l y ! ' ; or, 'That one i s so p r e t t y I can't b e l i e v e it!'...You've got to be middle of the road somewhere." The a b i l i t y t o 37 a r t i c u l a t e the accepted standard comes through the process of e l i m i n a t i o n . Any type of face that f a l l s between the extremes on the a t t r a c t i v e n e s s continuum i s considered i d e a l . The requirement i s that an anchor's face look a u t h e n t i c a l l y d i s t i n c t to the extent that the anchor appears pleasant, not j a r r i n g . The wide range of pleasant looks that f a l l somewhere i n the middle are b e l i e v e d to be experienced by viewers as comfortable, non-threatening and c r e d i b l e . News anchors w i t h a ""''.middle-of-the-road' ^appearance are b e l i e v e d by many respondents to be perceived by viewers as " r e a l people". To be sure, any assessments of ' r e a l i t y ' and ' r e a l ' looks are based n e i t h e r on o b j e c t i v e nor q u a n t i f i a b l e f a c i a l c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s but on s u b j e c t i v e viewer assessments that anchors r e f l e c t what most people i n . t h e i r - own r e a l i t y a c t u a l l y look l i k e (Hartley, 1982: 12). Interview data suggest that ' r e a l ' l o o k i n g anchors are a " c a r i c a t u r e " of the mass audience ( i b i d : 96). They have a down-to-earth, everyday f a c i a l appearance and don't look so d i f f e r e n t from the average viewer that they seem ' a l i e n ' . A news producer r e c a l l e d .two ^ examples: of the r o l e . / r e a l ' looks have played i n the e f f e c t i v e n e s s of anchors. His d e s c r i p t i o n s i l l u s t r a t e t h i s l o g i c at work i n d i f f e r e n t ways. He s a i d the anchorman i n question "doesn't look l i k e a Ken d o l l , he looks more c r e d i b l e i n that s u b t l e way because he's l e s s handsome and l e s s p e r f e c t , viewers w i l l a c t u a l l y g i v e him more credence." The anchorwoman he r e f e r r e d t o was "the g i r l next 38 door image". He s a i d "she wasn't a supermodel, but was n i c e l o o k i n g , trustworthy and f r i e n d l y " . The p r i n c i p l e s at p l a y i n these d e s c r i p t i o n s and the sentiments expressed w i t h respect to the news anchor appearance standard suggest a 'vox pop' s e n s i b i l i t y and the attempt to minimize the appearance gap between anchors and viewers (Lasch, 1979: 159, 162) . The f a c i a l appearance, then, of ' r e a l ' l o o k i n g anchors does not cross the ' f a t a l ' boundaries of attractiveness..already-mentioned. Those whose looks are w i t h i n the->stated-"..limits .are.„..considered t o be perc e i v e d by viewers as the most trustworthy. P e r f e c t l o o k i n g news anchors, according to the s t a t e d anchor i d e a l , are aut h e n t i c and c r e d i b l e because they don't look 'unreal'. Before moving on to the a n a l y s i s of another component of news anchor body language, i t i s important to acknowledge.that there are always exceptions to r u l e s . In the current and past h i s t o r y of t h i s t e l e v i s i o n market ' e x c e p t i o n a l ' l o o k i n g anchors who come c l o s e to or transcend the outer appearance l i m i t s have, i n f a c t , made i t to a i r . Their success or f a i l u r e w i t h viewers and r a t i n g s has depended, -largely-, -on .the^extent_:to which, other -components of t h e i r o n - a i r -image- ;counteract.,their. extreme looks and the challenges they create. For these people, and those l i k e them, other elements of t h e i r t e l e v i s i o n persona take on a heightened importance i n t h e i r a b i l i t y t o compensate f o r t h e i r p o t e n t i a l l y ' f a t a l ' appearance and the t h r e a t s that appearance can pose t o c r e d i b i l i t y . 39 News Anchors as Business Executives or Bankers The bodies and faces of news anchors serve as canvases and hangers on which other signs and symbols can be d i s p l a y e d on the s e t . Things l i k e c l o t h i n g , make-up, je w e l r y and h a i r are 'selected and combined f o r show on the a i r . I d e a l l y , the choices made w i l l c o n t r i b u t e to the c u l t i v a t i o n of the d e s i r e d impression of d i s t i n c t c r e d i b i l i t y . What i s and i s not acceptable i s best analyzed .in a ..'similar.,, f a s h i o n t o the f a c i a l appearance standards i n the: previous..section. .What e x i s t s , along the grooming continuum i s the wide range . of f a c i a l p a i n t s , h a i r s t y l e s , c l o t h e s and a c c e s s o r i e s that could p o s s i b l y be used to enhance an anchor's appearance. But there are l i m i t s w i t h i n t h i s range that are d e s i r a b l e , and outside of which are considered unacceptable f o r news .anchors .on t e l e v i s i o n . In other words, not a l l costumes are b e l i e v e d to be i n o f f e n s i v e to the masses or to r e f l e c t the c r e d i b i l i t y r e q u i r e d by s t a t i o n s and viewers of anchors. The a n a l y s i s of a trustworthy costume comes, p a r t l y , through accounts of what is'-vconsideredridntoierable. The ' f a t a l ' extremes of ornament at i o n ^ mark ;the ^boundaries -.between what i s and i s not considered too unique or d i s t i n c t i v e . Excessive d i s t i n c t i v e n e s s i n f a c i a l and b o d i l y d e c o r a t i o n i s e x a c t l y what employees i n t h i s t e l e v i s i o n market s a i d i s too p r e c a r i o u s i n i t s c a p a c i t y t o e l i c i t p o t e n t i a l l y damaging audience percep t i o n s . In the words of various respondents, the ' f a t a l ' extremes to be avoided i n c l u d e anything that could be considered 40 by viewers too " f l a s h y " , "trendy", "weird" or " d i s h e v e l l e d " . A l s o on the l i s t of things they s a i d should be sidestepped are those that could be construed as too "cheap", "expensive", "casual" or "formal". The s t y l e of an anchor's costume l e a s t l i k e l y t o offend a viewer's b e t t e r judgement and/or the p r e f e r r e d character of a s t a t i o n and i t s announcers, i s a s t y l e t h a t w i l l most l i k e l y not be thought of as too adventurous or w i l d given the r e s t of the mewscastusetting..The wide range of s p e c i f i c i l l - s u i t e d body • .props -that - were -mentioned dur i n g i n t e r v i e w s i n c l u d e "denim s h i r t s " , "the l a t e s t fashions from P a r i s " , and anything "low cut", as w e l l as "pin s t r i p e d s u i t s " and " b i g chunky e a r r i n g s and necklaces". Quantity i s another concern. Some s a i d i t i s a bad idea to c u l t i v a t e the p e r c e p t i o n that an anchor has too many costumes. The f o l l o w i n g quote i s from a woman who, over the years, has a s s i s t e d w i t h anchors' wardrobes: I don't b e l i e v e they should have too many c l o t h e s because then I t h i n k i t sends a message to people that are watching that they are somehow r i c h e r or b e t t e r . . . I t ' s almost l i k e you can have the p u b l i c b u i l d up a resentment t o them, I would t h i n k , i f they're always-coming:in..with great new s t u f f t h a t ' s f l a s h y and trendy. As p r e v i o u s l y s t a t e d , images i n v i t e comparisons (Featherstone, 1991: 78). Based on t h i s .supposition, the costumes of an anchor should not be so e x q u i s i t e or p l e n t i f u l t h a t they encourage viewers to r e f l e c t on what they do not, and might never have i n t h e i r own c l o s e t s . The idea behind a trust w o r t h y costume i s not to make viewers f e e l challenged or threatened i n terms of the c u l t i v a t i o n of t h e i r own d i s t i n c t l y 41 c r e d i b l e p u b l i c persona. A l s o on the 'out' l i s t i s o v e r l y done make-up, coloured eye-shadow and l i p g l o s s . Long h a i r , f o r men and women, i s a l s o deemed taboo, as i s 'blond lacquered h a i r and h a i r that i s ' b u l l e t p r o o f . H a i r that f i t s these d e s c r i p t i o n s i s considered t o make news anchors look too much l i k e 'Barbie and Ken'. The p o t e n t i a l e f f e c t on viewers i s p a r t i c u l a r l y ' f a t a l ' , e s p e c i a l l y i f combined w i t h a face a l s o .perfect ,and-chiselled. One news d i r e c t o r r e c a l l e d her impression'of -an anchoretearn she saw i n a d i f f e r e n t TV market that f i t t h i s d e s c r i p t i o n . She used them as an example of what i s in a p p r o p r i a t e and p o t e n t i a l l y damaging. We always c a l l e d i t the Barbie and Ken show because they r e a l l y d i d look l i k e Ken and Barbie d o l l s and they came across that way. And I f o r one, as a viewer, never f o r one minute b e l i e v e d that they had any j o u r n a l i s t i c c r e d i b i l i t y whatsoever...And I t h i n k that most Canadian s t a t i o n s have, e i t h e r c o n s c i o u s l y or not, t r i e d to stay away from that to a c e r t a i n extent because i t has been more of an American t h i n g t o have your presenters j u s t be the l a t e s t i n the hot look i n f a s h i o n . The f a s h i o n show analogy and reference t o 'Barbie and Ken' anchors that are shallow i n d i v i d u a l s who care more about how they look than w i t h the words>they a r e s p e a k i n g ..again suggests a d e s i r e t o separate c r e d i b l e news from, s t y l i z e d . e n t e r t a i n m e n t programming. P e r f e c t l y s c u l p t e d and s h e l l a c k e d h a i r i s no more d e s i r a b l e than c u r l y , u n c o n t r o l l a b l e h a i r w i t h a mind of i t s own. The unwanted pe r c e p t i o n i s that c u r l y , t w i s t e d l o c k s r e f l e c t a s i m i l a r c h a r a c t e r of the anchor whose head i t ' s on. According t o one woman who has worked w i t h anchors' h a i r , n a t u r a l c u r l s 42 and perms have the tendency to make them seem " f l a k y " . She s a i d " i t makes them look l i k e they're spinny, l i k e they j u s t don't have i t organized". T e l e v i s i o n technology enhances the p o s s i b i l i t y of t h i s negative audience perc e p t i o n . I f a person w i t h c u r l y h a i r i s i n f r o n t of a chroma-key background, the chroma-key w i l l show through the spaces i n s i d e of, and between, the c u r l s . The r e s u l t , on screen, i s e i t h e r green or blue patches a l l over the person's head. Coloured patches s c a t t e r e d throughout a head of c u r l s r ;could ;>be perceived ;by viewers as q u i t e odd. I f anything could make an anchor appear ' a l i e n ' , t h i s would be i t . Combine spinny and f l a k y w i t h random green or blue splotches and the o v e r a l l impression, while c e r t a i n l y d i s t i n c t i v e , could be i n s u l t i n g to the audience and threaten c r e d i b i l i t y by not appearing q u i t e ' s e r i o u s ' enough f o r the d a i l y l o c a l news genre. The ' f a t a l ' . iregion on the; grooming continuum a l s o i n c l u d e s unpainted anchor faces. The term ' f a t a l ' i s h i g h l y appropriate here s i n c e that i s how most anchors described t h e i r o n - a i r appearance when t h e i r face .is .under ::hot / l i g h t s and without proper c o l o u r , powder or .t£o.undatdon..v^Some-i:anc.hors said., they look l i k e a "ghost", others thought they looked " s i c k l y " . Make-up experts s t r e s s e d t h i s p o i n t too. The naked face on camera, they s a i d , looks very " g r i t t y " , "sweaty" and "blotchy". I t could be argued that t h i s looks ' r e a l ' , but, most l i k e l y , not pleasant or healthy. Another poi n t mentioned was that male anchors w i t h t h e i r beard l i n e not covered could create the 43 impression that they are s h i f t y . Any of the l i s t e d extremes that surpass the ' f a t a l ' boundaries on the grooming continuum are l e a s t l i k e l y t o be considered c r e d i b l e on t h e i r own, or i n combination w i t h an extreme f a c i a l appearance. Ornamentation most l i k e l y t o not engender viewer t r u s t , i s a l s o p o t e n t i a l l y annoying t o news watchers and i s , i n most cases, avoided when p o s s i b l e r e g a r d l e s s of anchor or s t a t i o n . A trustworthy news anchor -costume, -that f a l l s w i t h i n the acceptable l i m i t s i s l e a s t l i k e l y to draw any undue a t t e n t i o n t o the costume i t s e l f or the anchor underneath i t . One anchorman's adornment dictum, "I don't want anybody to n o t i c e " , i s the b a s i c g u i d e l i n e f o l l o w e d by other anchors a l s o faced w i t h complex grooming choices. An unassuming uniform i s considered by respondents to be "generic", " s t a i d " and " n e u t r a l " . Other catchwords ^ commonly used by producers, groomers and anchors are "conservative" and "mainstream p r o f e s s i o n a l " . What these terms t r a n s l a t e i n t o on the bodies of anchors are 's e r i o u s ' c l o t h e s which, b a s i c a l l y , are s u i t s , t i e s and s h i r t s f o r men and the equiv a l e n t f o r women. Face ,paint, on men, should not be n o t i c e a b l e and on women i t should appear as n a t u r a l as p o s s i b l e . The goal i s simply to counteract the 'deadly' e f f e c t s of harsh l i g h t s . Conservative h a i r f o r male anchors i s not too c l o s e -cropped, but short. This i s a l s o an op t i o n f o r women. Other choices f o r female anchors come under the r u b r i c of 'serious h a i r ' . A woman from one s t a t i o n ' s grooming department 44 e x p l a i n e d : A: When we t a l k about h a i r i n t h i s business we t a l k about s e r i o u s h a i r . You have se r i o u s h a i r f o r news, and you can have Mary Hart h a i r i f you're doing that k i n d of entertainment or t a b l o i d show. So ev e r y t h i n g has a d i f f e r e n t k i n d of look to i t . So you want s e r i o u s h a i r f o r news. Q: What i s s e r i o u s h a i r ? A: Bobs. Predominantly bobs. Q: What i s i t about bobs? A: Because i t doesn't go ;anywhere . It.'just-stays put and i t ' s generic and i-t','s-«always . i n , . . and . i t . ' s c l a s s i c . I t ' s l i k e having a navy blazer.; I t never-goes out of s t y l e . There are v a r i a t i o n s on the theme of i t , but i t ' s s t i l l a bob. A producer continued t h i s e xplanation when questioned on the same 'serious h a i r ' i s s u e : Q: What i s i t about h a i r t h a t ' s d e f i n e d as s e r i o u s and h a i r t h a t ' s defined as not serious? A: I t ' s hard to grasp, but don't you make that c o n c l u s i o n when you're watching someone? Two anchors could be saying the same t h i n g , but they p r o j e c t a s l i g h t l y d i f f e r e n t image. You know, b i g poofy l a y e r s versus b l u n t . Maybe the words you use to describe the h a i r could almost be used to describe t h e i r s t y l e . Both comments r e i n f o r c e p r e v i o u s l y made arguments which suggest the d e s i r e to d i s t i n g u i s h news anchors from •.entertainers who are f e a t u r e d i n other genres. •These and other respondents are convinced t h a t powerful connections . can be. made between an anchor's character and the s t y l e of t h e i r t r e s s e s . Generic h a i r that doesn't a t t r a c t undue a t t e n t i o n i s considered a p p r o p r i a t e l y c o n s e r v a t i v e and s e r i o u s f o r the d e s i r e d tone of l o c a l news productions. H a i r designed i n t h i s f a s h i o n i s b e l i e v e d by many i n the i n d u s t r y to f a c i l i t a t e audience perceptions of 45 c r e d i b i l i t y through i t ' s embodiment on anchors' heads. Respondents o f t e n used analogous reasoning (Shearing & E r i c s o n , 1991: 492-96) to convey the o v e r a l l s e n s i b i l i t y of the grooming s t y l e expected of anchors. T y p i c a l l y , comparisons were .made w i t h the. ornamentation s t y l e s of those who work i n other i n d u s t r i e s . The comments of t h i s female anchor r e f l e c t her attempt t o provide the i n t e r v i e w e r w i t h a v e h i c l e f o r grasping the s e n s i b i l i t y out of which she .feels she nought . , .-.and ought not, present h e r s e l f . I don't always wear a s u i t , but whatever i t i s I'm wearing would be the same type of t h i n g as a s u i t . I guess l i k e a business executive... or i f you went to see the manager of the bank to get a loan, what i s the bank manager wearing? Probably a s u i t and a t i e , or i f i t ' s a woman, a s u i t . And i f they were wearing a . m i n i - m i n i - s k i r t and had b i g red h a i r and twenty e a r r i n g s i t j u s t wouldn't look a p p r o p r i a t e . I t wouldn't be that c r e d i b l e . You'd t h i n k t h i s person doesn't look the way I expect a serio u s bank person t o look. Others interviewed a l s o r e f e r r e d t o executives-and'bankers as having the appropriate •'look', that i s . s u i t a b l e f o r anchors. The s p e c i f i c analogies chosen r e f l e c t not only s i m i l a r i t i e s i n appropriate wardrobe, but a l s o i n terms of the f u n c t i o n the s t a t e d i d e a l costume i s b e l i e v e d to-.play. -Anchors, bankers and business executives appear •: ready 'to get down to . business' , t o d i s c u s s ' s e r i o u s ' issues l i k e high finance and d a i l y l o c a l news. T h e i r 'look', together w i t h the r e s t of t h e i r personal f r o n t , serves t o enhance the p o s s i b i l i t y of a t t r a c t i n g , the t r u s t and/or money of e i t h e r c l i e n t s or an audience. The 'look' of anchors c o n t r i b u t e s t o t h e i r power to a t t r a c t viewers, and through that power the p o t e n t i a l to a t t r a c t l u c r a t i v e a d v e r t i s i n g revenue. 46 Another source of evidence that conservative f a c i a l and b o d i l y d e c o r a t i o n i s considered the most c r e d i b l e i s in-house focus group s t u d i e s . As described by one interviewee: We've done forums i n the past and have had young doctors and other p r o f e s s i o n a l s i n the audience. And people seem to b e l i e v e somebody who's wearing a t i e more than somebody who has an open s h i r t . . . the response i n the audience f o r the person who's wearing the t i e i s that they know what they're t a l k i n g about as opposed to the person who i s n ' t . So image i s r e a l l y important that way. One r e s u l t i s that anchors ..are. .often considered interchangeable i n terms of Wtheir:overall r o u t e r ^ appearance . The c o n c l u s i o n of one anchor about"the adornment of h e r s e l f and her competitors i s that they " a l l end up l o o k i n g the same somehow." A news d i r e c t o r echoed t h i s sentiment by suggesting that " o u t s i d e r s l o o k i n g i n at'the s i t u a t i o n probably wouldn't see a huge d i f f e r e n c e " . What i s suggested here and s t a t e d by others i s that news anchors are r e l a t i v e l y i n d i s t i n g u i s h a b l e i n terms of t h e i r t r a d i t i o n a l ornamentation and packaging. I t must be noted, though, that no two c o n s e r v a t i v e costumes are i d e n t i c a l . On the o v e r a l l s c a l e they are, of course, extremely s i m i l a r and are u n l i k e l y to be o f f e n s i v e or t h r e a t e n i n g t o viewers. Most ...are a l s o sure to be considered s u i t a b l y c r e d i b l e . But i t cannot be denied that at the l e v e l of s p e c i f i c s , w i t h i n the narrow range of what i s deemed l e g i t i m a t e , there are, i n f a c t , v a r i a t i o n s between anchors and s t a t i o n s r e g a r d l e s s of how minor and s u b t l e those d i f f e r e n c e s are. W i t h i n the s t a t e d wardrobe r e s t r i c t i o n s there i s always room f o r a p a r t i c u l a r s t a t i o n t o have i t s anchors' costumes compliment the 47 d e s i r e d , d i s t i n c t i v e s t y l e of that s t a t i o n and a l l other props on the newscast set - i n c l u d i n g the body props of any other anchors present. Without a t t e n t i o n t o such c r i t i c a l d e t a i l s the o v e r a l l balance of the p i c t u r e on viewers' screens w i l l be ' o f f . The message to viewers about t h e i r t a s t e s , as r e f l e c t e d through TV newscast p i c t u r e s , w i l l not be congruous i f the t o t a l i t y of a s t a t i o n ' s expressive equipment i s not i n t e r n a l l y balanced and c o n s i s t e n t . .What t h i s means .in..terms of wardrobe i s that a s t a t i o n ' s anchorsvcan ..groom: themselves i n a manner that i s e i t h e r more or l e s s conservative. The p a r t i c u l a r d i r e c t i o n i s , i d e a l l y , i n alignment w i t h the s t a t i o n ' s dominant s t y l e and not too extreme i n e i t h e r d i r e c t i o n . One producer, whose s t a t i o n ' s d e s i r e d image i s s l i g h t l y l e s s c o n s e r v a t i v e , s t r e s s e d the importance of f i n d i n g ways to a l t e r wardrobe, to set y o u r s e l f apart so you can say, 'We're a l o t hipper than the anchors at other l o c a l s t a t i o n s . ' But you don't want to be so h i p that the overlap audience that you need to have i s a l i e n a t e d . . . I t ' s k i n d of a r i s k y t h i n g t o be g e t t i n g i n t o because you know that anybody who t h i n k s that some f a s h i o n i s a goofy f a s h i o n , which i s predominantly going to be your o l d e r viewers, are going to look at i t and say, ' I t looks r i d i c u l o u s ! ' . . .So you don't want to a l i e n a t e anybody. I guess i t ' s .a .sort of t i m i d , c o n s e r v a t i v e approach to being avant-garde. This producer's comments exemplify both the l i m i t s and p o s s i b i l i t i e s , the need f o r d i s t i n c t i o n and c r e d i b i l i t y , and the c a p a c i t y f o r both q u a l i t i e s to be expressed on the bodies of anchors through the d i s p l a y of costumes that don't transcend the ' f a t a l ' boundaries of e i t h e r i n d u s t r y or s t a t i o n standards. W i t h i n the parameters j u s t mentioned, anchors e i t h e r do t h e i r own shopping or are r e g u l a r l y s u p p l i e d by a l o c a l r e t a i l e r 48 or designer. The point stressed here i s that anchors are always granted f i n a l veto power over what they wear, despite the r e s t r i c t i o n s and l i m i t s placed on t h e i r choices. They make in d i v i d u a l selections based not only on what i s acceptable, but also on t h e i r own authentic, d i s t i n c t i v e taste and st y l e , however subtly that may be ref l e c t e d . The same l o g i c i s applied to make-up and hair. Also d i s t i n c t i v e i s the way each anchor 'wears' what they have on,- how t h e i r grooming,,choices enhance t h e i r d i s t i n c t i v e , trustworthy f a c i a l ' appearance,, and how both components of image interact with other aspects of t h e i r persona on-air. 49 CHAPTER THREE: A WAY OF ACTING Anchors as Characters and the People Who Play Them The personal f r o n t of news anchors i s more than bone s t r u c t u r e , l i p s , c l o t h i n g and h a i r . I t a l s o i n c l u d e s t h e i r demeanour, t h e i r manner, t h e i r way of i n t e r a c t i n g w i t h viewers on the a i r . The expected way of being i s w e l l summarized by a male anchor who s a i d that h i s " c a r d i n a l r u l e .has-always been 'be y o u r s e l f " . This way of t h i n k i n g > about -an ..appropriate way of being i s c o n s i s t e n t regardless of respondent. Another male anchor w i t h many years of experience r e c a l l e d r e c e i v i n g 'be y o u r s e l f advice as a young burgeoning broadcaster. He was t o l d t h i s was the way to be i f he was going t o do w e l l i n t h i s business. A female anchor a r t i c u l a t e d t h i s same p o i n t d i f f e r e n t l y while r e f l e c t i n g on her fans and the reasons f o r why they might l i k e her. She s a i d , "I t h i n k what appeals t o people about me i s the genuineness that comes across. I'm not t r y i n g t o be something that I'm not." In other words, 'being y o u r s e l f on the set and w i t h viewers i s • b e l i e v e d •to; be. iperceived as being genuine and r e a l . According to i n d u s t r y i n s i d e r s , 'being y o u r s e l f i s the only way f o r news anchors t o be. A news d i r e c t o r suggested that t h i s only makes sense s i n c e " t e l e v i s i o n anchors are n o t • a c t o r s . " What they•are i n s t e a d , he s a i d , are " r e a l people" that viewers can r e l a t e t o . At the root of t h i s reasoning, and the problem w i t h i t , i s the assumption that i n t e r a c t i o n between viewers and anchors i s 50 f a c e - t o - f a c e and authentic, even though the i n t e r a c t i o n i s mediated through e l e c t r o n i c s (Meyrowitz, 1985). This may be t r u e , to some extent, from the viewers' p e r s p e c t i v e , s i n c e they observe the faces and conduct of anchors as they appear on the screens of t h e i r t e l e v i s i o n - s e t s . However, i t i s not t r u e from the p e r s p e c t i v e of anchors who, while i n the s t u d i o d e l i v e r i n g the news, have no s i g h t , whatsoever, of any member of t h e i r audience. The l i v e interaction-'-.fromthe ^vantage p o i n t of anchors i s , to be sure, e%ectr>6nd'cally ^mediated,, but n e i t h e r genuine nor f a c e - t o - f a c e . I t must a l s o be noted that the flow of images and i n f o r m a t i o n i s not r e c i p r o c a l . I t i s e n t i r e l y one way except f o r o c c a s i o n a l viewer c a l l s or l e t t e r s of p r a i s e and complaint. In t h i s sense, the supposed i n t e r a c t i o n between anchors and t h e i r audience i s not i n t e r a c t i o n at a l l . A u t hentic face-to-face ' i n t e r a c t i o n ' between viewers and those they watch' anchor l o c a l (newscasts i s an i l l u s i o n of r e a l i t y that i s staged (Lasch, 1979: 160). Despite the argument that anchors are not a c t o r s , they are. With no p h y s i c a l presence of audience members, anchors >act as i f they are, i n f a c t , present, as i f they are together 1 on .the set exchanging images and i n f o r m a t i o n while s i t t i n g f a c e - t o - f a c e . News anchors act as i f the s o - c a l l e d face-to-face ' i n t e r a c t i o n ' i s w i t h s e n t i e n t members of the t e l e v i s i o n audience, not w i t h the inanimate lens of the camera that i s a c t u a l l y p o s i t i o n e d i n f r o n t of t h e i r face. This 'be y o u r s e l f philosophy as expressed by those c i t e d , 51 and other respondents, i s u s e f u l f o r anchors, not l i t e r a l l y , but as a model f o r t h e i r expected o n - a i r a c t i o n (Shearing & E r i c s o n , 1991 4 92-96) . The best character f o r anchors to p o r t r a y i n t h i s c u l t i v a t e d news p l a y i s themselves, the person they know best. This approach, i n the end, i s the one b e l i e v e d most l i k e l y to appear to viewers most c r e d i b l e . a n d genuine. The analogous reasoning o u t l i n e d here i s not u n l i k e the p a r a l l e l l o g i c used to i n c i t e - a n c h o r s to groom ' as i f ' they were bankers_or exec u t i v e s . 'Being y o u r s e l f on the - a i r and w i t h viewers i s a l s o a s u b j e c t i v e metaphor which suggests a s e n s i b i l i t y a p p ropriate to anchoring: 'Being y o u r s e l f , f o r anchors, means a c t i n g that way. Those w i t h the a b i l i t y to create the i l l u s i o n of a u t h e n t i c i n t e r a c t i o n are s a i d by respondents to "melt the l e n s " and "go r i g h t through the camera" as though the camera was the gateway to r e a l . face-to-face i n t e r a c t i o n . The camera's true f u n c t i o n , though, i s to simply f a c i l i t a t e the c r e a t i o n of t h i s i l l u s i o n . I t i s important t o note that t h i s s t a g i n g i s not v o i d of genuine a u t h e n t i c i t y s i n c e the models 'for.action are,- - e s s e n t i a l l y , based on r e a l , d i s t i n c t i v e , i n d i v i d u a l .people, that i s the anchors out s i d e of t h e i r p r o f e s s i o n a l r o l e and costume. Anchors who do not act themselves while o n - a i r are s a i d to give questionable performances .through t h e i r i n a b i l i t y to c o n s t r u c t the i l l u s i o n of a ' r e a l ' way of being w i t h people who aren't there. One male anchor i l l u s t r a t e d t h i s p o i n t through h i s r e c o l l e c t i o n of an anchorwoman who, years ago, switched 52 c h a r a c t e r s . He s a i d she stopped a c t i n g h e r s e l f based on the advice of t a l e n t coaches, and the r e s u l t o n - a i r was d i s a s t r o u s . There was t h i s anchor who was b r i l l i a n t . She was r e a l l y -b r i g h t , very a t t r a c t i v e . She would have been great. But she went t o t h i s t r a i n i n g s e s s i o n and, i n my o p i n i o n , they r u i n e d her. You know, they j u s t t r i e d to make her do thi n g s she wasn't comfortable w i t h . They s a i d , "you should do t h i s when you read, you should do that when you read" and "hold eye contact a f t e r every sentence" and a l l these b i z a r r e t h i n g s that somebody t h i n k s works...but I've always been of the o p i n i o n that you e i t h e r be y o u r s e l f or i t doesn't work, and i t didn't work f o r her. She f o l l o w e d a l l of those. r u l e s and looked., to me, very uncomfortable, k i n d of scolding...you could j u s t t e l l i t was a facade there. The facade of any-anchor,should not be apparent,:but l i k e l y w i l l be i f t h e i r act i s based on another person, r e a l or imagined. .Meyrowitz (1985: 105) s t a t e s that expressive messages are extremely i n d i v i d u a l . This i s why i t i s so d i f f i c u l t f o r most people to c o r r e c t l y i m i t a t e someone e l s e ' s expressions, or to create expressions as d i c t a t e d by another i n d i v i d u a l . According t o one veteran anchorman, "don't t r y to be a copy of somebody e l s e , or y o u ' l l j u s t be a bad copy." In cases where the pretence i s d i s c e r n a b l e , as i n the case j u s t mentioned, viewers may be uncomfortable w i t h the anchor's manner, d i s t r u s t them and what they're saying, and t h e r e f o r e .question the i n t e g r i t y of the e n t i r e news production. The best way f o r the act of.anchors to seem au t h e n t i c and c r e d i b l e i s f o r them to not act as characters which do not r e f l e c t t h e i r own e s s e n t i a l , personal image o f f - a i r . The i l l u s i o n of authentic demeanour i s best achieved when anchors use themselves as models f o r how to act on the screen. What i s d i s t i n c t i v e about anchors at the same and competing s t a t i o n s , 53 w i t h respect t o demeanour and ways of ' i n t e r a c t i n g ' , i s the characters t h e i r r o l e s are based on and the people who p l a y them. While i t may be d i f f i c u l t , as Meyrowitz s t a t e s , t o p l a y the r o l e of someone e l s e and to a c c u r a t e l y mimic t h e i r expressions, i t i s no easy task f o r anchors to act out the r o l e of themselves and t o a c c u r a t e l y mimic t h e i r own expressions. The challenge i s e s p e c i a l l y evident f o r young anchors s t i l l developing t h e i r a c t i n g p o t e n t i a l as anchors. One young anchor s a i d that 'being y o u r s e l f i s hard, and that " i t takes a while to be n a t u r a l and f i n d y o u r s e l f o n - a i r " . In other words, i t takes time and p r a c t i c e t o get the act down pat. Other anchors w i t h many years i n the business spoke d i f f e r e n t l y . They didn't say they ' t r y ' to be who they are o n - a i r , they j u s t 'are'. The act of being n a t u r a l , over time, becomes not an act at a l l (Goffman, 1971: 239, 259). Peter Berger's (1963: 98) c l a s s i c l i n e captures the essence of t h i s process: " I t i s very d i f f i c u l t to pretend i n t h i s world. Normally, one becomes what one p l a y s a t . " I t i s c r i t i c a l to mention that news anchors not only 'become' t h e i r r o l e s w i t h respect to demeanour, they a l s o become, over time and w i t h experience, the expectations of other components of t h e i r image and appearance. The f o l l o w i n g example i l l u s t r a t e s Berger's p r i n c i p l e i n progress from the p e r s p e c t i v e of a young anchor i n t r a n s i t i o n from ' a c t i n g ' a p p r o p r i a t e l y t o 'being' who he i s n a t u r a l l y . 54 A: I took out the e a r r i n g . Q: Why? A: Because I f i g u r e d that i n d a i l y news people don't want to see a guy w i t h a g o l d stud. Q: So you j u s t made that d e c i s i o n ? No one t o l d you? A: Ya. Q: Why? A: Well I can't do things that are completely o f f the w a l l because there are g u i d e l i n e s and there's a format which I have to f o l l o w . . .However, I want to do what i s r i g h t f o r me. What I'm doing I'm doing f o r me. I'm not doing i t f o r the s t a t i o n . Removing the e a r r i n g was f o r me, not the s t a t i o n . . . I t ' s who I am. The perceived t a s t e of the s t a t i o n and genre i s 'becoming' t h i s anchor's own s e n s i b i l i t y i n terms of who he i s and how he r e f l e c t s h i s a l t e r e d t a s t e through h i s grooming as an anchor. This , combined w i t h other components of an anchor's image are a l l p a r t of the 'act' that becomes ' n a t u r a l ' f o r them. Anchors who come across as d i s t i n c t i v e and c r e d i b l e , do so through t h e i r a b i l i t y t o 'act' themselves and then 'become' o n - a i r , and i n the s t u d i o w i t h absent audiences, who they are as i n d i v i d u a l s . C u l t i v a t i n g the I l l u s i o n of Authentic Conversation The staged i l l u s i o n of authentic i n t e r a c t i o n i s b o l s t e r e d by the standard upon which the news i s supposed to be read by anchors. I n t e g r a l to the appearance of r e a l i n t e r a c t i o n i s the c a p a c i t y f o r anchors to create the p e r c e p t i o n that they are engaging i n conversation w i t h viewers that i s a l s o genuine. A n a l y s i s of t h i s d e s i r e d reading s t y l e suggests 55 j u x t a p o s i t i o n w i t h the ' f a t a l ' way of speaking c h a r a c t e r i s t i c of anchors i n previous times. I t used to be commonplace f o r anchors t o read t h e i r s c r i p t s as i f they were news gods making pronouncements. They appeared as bigger than l i f e a u t h o r i t y f i g u r e s t a l k i n g at the audience i n the s t y l e of United States n a t i o n a l news legend Walter Cronkite. The impact of t h i s s t y l e of p r e s e n t a t i o n was r e i n f o r c e d by what respondents r e f e r r e d to as the " b i g b a l l s y " , "deep booming" anchor v o i c e . This dominant reading method was deemed unacceptable i n the . l o c a l market s t u d i e d . One news d i r e c t o r expounded the thoughts of many respondents when he s a i d , " I t ' s an o l d format that doesn't f l y anymore." A u t o c r a t i c anchors who shout at the camera while p r o j e c t i n g t h e i r v o i c e s run the r i s k of being p e r c e i v e d by audience members as p a t r o n i z i n g . Not only i s t h i s s t y l e considered by many interviewees to be p o t e n t i a l l y o f f e n s i v e and 'o f f p u t t i n g ' by being too s t i f f and preachy, i t i s a l s o r i d d l e d w i t h c r e d i b i l i t y problems because i t seems a r t i f i c i a l and phoney. News god anchors and t h e i r way of speaking at imagined viewers i s f a r too removed from the i l l u s i o n of a u t h e n t i c c o n v e r s a t i o n w i t h viewers i n r e a l i t y . A make-up a r t i s t commented on the t r a n s f o r m a t i o n i n news reading s t y l e s , from the one j u s t mentioned to the new format c u r r e n t l y i n f a s h i o n . She took the p e r s p e c t i v e of h e r s e l f , f r i e n d s , colleagues, and people everywhere, as viewers watching. Now we want to be on a l e v e l where we f e e l r e a l l y comfortable, l i k e they're our buddies i n s t e a d of being our mentors. Because the world now wants to assume that i t knows more than i t d i d before. We as humans, i n s t e a d of 56 saying "teach me a lesson", are saying " j u s t inform me, don't teach me, j u s t t e l l me." The current 'standard, the proper c u l t i v a t i o n , i s anchors reading s c r i p t e d news as i f viewers are t h e i r personal f r i e n d s they are t e l l i n g i n t i m a t e s t o r i e s t o . A news d i r e c t o r r e c i t e d the advice he gives p o t e n t i a l young anchors before he screen t e s t s them: " I t ' s l i k e you and your best f r i e n d are meeting over the back yard fence and you're recounting something t h a t ' s happened." Audience members should not get the sense that anchors are doing what they're doing, reading news o f f a Teleprompter. The s e n s i b i l i t y embedded i n the news d i r e c t o r ' s aphorism can be s t a t e d d i f f e r e n t l y . While anchors are pretending to be engaged i n an int i m a t e exchange, they shouldn't g i v e the impression that they are, b a s i c a l l y , alone on the set t a l k i n g at a camera and to themselves. E f f e c t i v e anchors are good a c t o r s , not only i n t h e i r a b i l i t y to act themselves, but a l s o i n t h e i r a b i l i t y to ' l i f t the words o f f the page', as i f the s t o r i e s they are reading are spontaneous, u n s c r i p t e d and i n t e r a c t i v e . This p r e s c r i b e d s e n s i b i l i t y i s supposed to t r a n s l a t e i n t o a way of speaking t h a t , i n s t y l e , tone and volume, i s c o n v e r s a t i o n a l and ch a t t y (Meyrowitz, 1985: 105). One young anchor working hard to p e r f e c t t h i s s t o r y t e l l i n g method i s convinced that " i f you're t a l k i n g i n a c o n v e r s a t i o n a l tone i t ' s much e a s i e r f o r a person to l i s t e n to you than i f you're shouting at them". The i n t e n t , i n p a r t , i s to make viewers f e e l as though they are on the same l e v e l as anchors, that they are 57 not being t a l k e d down to, that anchors are ' r e a l ' people that they can r e l a t e t o . News anchors are considered more c r e d i b l e and e a s i e r to i d e n t i f y w i t h i f the voi c e s they use t o t e l l s t o r i e s are ' r e a l ' sounding, not l i k e the voi c e s of old-time anchors. The deep booming v o i c e of times past has given way to v o c a l q u a l i t y standards that are much more relaxed. A producer who has been i n t h i s business f o r years s a i d that,.these days, anchors "don't a l l have great v o i c e s " and as long as they are comprehensible and a r t i c u l a t e they don't have t o . There are, of course, f a t a l l i m i t s not t o be transgressed, which i n c l u d e any type of v o i c e that could sound i r r i t a t i n g to those i n the audience that are a c t u a l l y l i s t e n i n g to what i s being s a i d . The range of the acceptable i n c l u d e s any v o c a l q u a l i t y l i k e l y to be comfortable and pleasant. The l o g i c used here i s not u n l i k e the reasoning used to e x p l a i n the value of imperfect anchor faces. Real v o i c e and r e a l faces are more trustworthy because they pose l e s s of a t h r e a t . Anchors who are e f f e c t i v e s t o r y t e l l e r s are not that way simply because of t h e i r a c t i n g a b i l i t y or t h e i r tone, volume or v o c a l q u a l i t y . T h e i r c a p a c i t y to ' l i f t the words o f f the page', to act 'conve r s a t i o n a l and chatty', i s contingent upon the s c r i p t they are reading and how, and by whom, i t was w r i t t e n . An e f f e c t i v e s c r i p t f o r l o c a l news should look somewhat l i k e a t r a n s c r i p t of a s t o r y that was a c t u a l l y t o l d , not l i k e an academic paper r i d d l e d w i t h b i g words, complex thoughts and 58 semi-colons. The fundamental r u l e i s c o l l o q u i a l language and frequent use of the words 'us' and 'you'. The b e l i e f i s that t h i s w r i t i n g technique w i l l make the s c r i p t 'close t o home and perso n a l ' and easy f o r the anchor to not only a ct, but to read. The attempt i s to bridge the gap of p h y s i c a l d i s t a n c e between anchors and viewers by p e r s o n a l i z i n g the news. A veteran producer s t r e s s e d the importance of t h i s casual w r i t i n g approach, and the power of t h i s type of script.-to. draw viewers i n t o i d e n t i f y w i t h announcers through the'words coming out of t h e i r mouths. We tend t o p e r s o n a l i z e our news a l o t more than they do i n the major networks. The word 'you' w i l l pop up i n our i n t r o and about f i v e or s i x times during the course of a show to t r y to go r i g h t through the TV sets and grab 'em by the t h r o a t s and slam t h e i r heads i n t o the screen ... That's a b i g secret i n l o c a l t e l e v i s i o n I t h i n k . You never see the n a t i o n a l news doing t h a t , or very damned r a r e l y . You never see them i n v i t i n g you to p e r s o n a l l y i d e n t i f y w i t h something i n one of t h e i r s t o r i e s . This personal s t y l e of w r i t i n g l o c a l news i s b e l i e v e d by respondents t o help anchors appear as though they have something important to t e l l i n d i v i d u a l viewers. The ver n a c u l a r i s the one most l i k e l y used by many i n the audience i n everyday casual v e r b a l encounters, and the one l e a s t l i k e l y to be misunderstood. C o n s t r u c t i n g the i l l u s i o n of authentic conversation i s b e l i e v e d p o s s i b l e through the s u b t l e t i e s of the s c r i p t e d word. The t r i c k t o w r i t i n g s c r i p t s that enhance the a c c e s s i b i l i t y and t r u s t w o r t h i n e s s of anchors amounts to more than the technique j u s t mentioned. E f f e c t i v e s c r i p t s and s t o r i e s - that when read by anchors sound as i f they are not w r i t t e n - are 5 9 s c r i p t e d i n a manner that r e f l e c t s how p a r t i c u l a r anchors themselves would be most i n c l i n e d to t e l l those s t o r i e s . How d i f f e r e n t anchors would choose to recount a given s t o r y i s l i k e l y not the same, but d i s t i n c t i v e . I f s c r i p t s are not t a i l o r e d to the personal s t y l e s of anchors, there i s a g r e a t e r chance that the news they are reading w i l l not come across as s t o r i e s , but as w r i t t e n pronouncements that destroy the i l l u s i o n of a u t h e n t i c conversation. Some anchors w r i t e t h e i r - own . s c r i p t s , . but others have s p e c i a l w r i t e r s or producers re s p o n s i b l e f o r s c r i p t p r e p a r a t i o n . Anchors w i t h producers and w r i t e r s to do the work f o r them are the ones most l i k e l y to run i n t o c r e d i b i l i t y and a u t h e n t i c i t y problems w i t h the audience. One producer gave a d e t a i l e d comparison of anchors who do and don't get i n v o l v e d i n how t h e i r s c r i p t s are w r i t t e n , and the d i f f e r e n t i a l outcomes i n t h e i r e f f e c t i v e n e s s as d i s t i n c t i v e , trustworthy c o n v e r s a t i o n a l s t o r y t e l l e r s . The anchors who are not i n v o l v e d i n the w r i t i n g process w i l l have t r o u b l e d e l i v e r i n g i n a c o n v e r s a t i o n a l s t y l e because i t ' s not a conversation. They're o f t e n reading something f o r the f i r s t time. They haven't w r i t t e n i t themselves so i t ' s not their-own c o n v e r s a t i o n a l . s t y l e . And I f i n d that i f you're t r y i n g to emulate someone's s t y l e i t never sounds l i k e t h e i r own. And so i t can never be c o n v e r s a t i o n a l because i t ' s always going to sound s l i g h t l y s t i l t e d . And so I t h i n k that the anchors who don't w r i t e have a harder time w i t h t h a t , d e f i n i t e l y . Because they're reading someone e l s e ' s words so how can i t sound l i k e t h e i r own? The anchors who are i n v o l v e d i n the w r i t i n g can read i t , get to know i t a b i t , change i t to s u i t t h e i r personal s t y l e , and I t h i n k then i t does sound more c o n v e r s a t i o n a l , l i k e they're t a l k i n g to you, not j u s t reading, which I guess i s the u l t i m a t e g o a l . The message here, w i t h respect t o ways of speaking, i s 60 i d e n t i c a l t o the message made w i t h respect t o ways of being. Expressive messages are i n d i v i d u a l i z e d , at l e a s t w i t h i n the format c o n s t r a i n t s of the t e l e v i s i o n medium and l o c a l s t a t i o n ' s s t y l e . This i n d i v i d u a l i z a t i o n i s why i t can be d i f f i c u l t f o r anchors t o c o r r e c t l y i m i t a t e the c o n v e r s a t i o n a l s t y l e of t e l l i n g s t o r i e s as w r i t t e n by another i n d i v i d u a l . In cases where the facade i s transparent, viewers may be uncomfortable w i t h the anchor's way of speaking, d i s t r u s t them and t h e i r , news s t o r i e s , and question the v a l i d i t y of the news show ,they are p e r c e i v i n g . The best way f o r anchors to seem authentic and c r e d i b l e i s f o r them t o get i n v o l v e d i n the process of w r i t i n g the s t o r i e s they pretend are t h e i r s , are spontaneous, and haven't been w r i t t e n . Although the speaking s t y l e s of past and present are d i s s i m i l a r , what they have i n common i s that they both are c u l t i v a t e d . N e i t h e r , i n r e a l i t y , i s any more genuine i n terms of two-way dialogue or face-to-face i n t e r a c t i o n . The fundamental d i s t i n c t i o n between the two s t y l e s , d e s p i t e the aforementioned s i m i l a r i t y , i s what each s t y l e manufactures. The o l d s t y l e of reading manufactures a u t h o r i t y . over viewers; r e p r e s e n t i n g the anchor as teacher, mentor, or .parent speaking a t the audience. The new s t y l e of reading manufactures intimacy with viewers; hence, the anchor as buddy, confidant or f r i e n d having a - conversation with i n d i v i d u a l audience members. Although the dialogue between viewers and anchors has nothing at a l l t o do w i t h a c t u a l conversation, the l a t t e r s t y l e i s b e l i e v e d by respondents t o be more powerful than the former i n i t s 6 1 c a p a c i t y to b r i n g anchors and viewers together. I t i s c r i t i c a l to consider that not a l l e l e c t r o n i c a l l y mediated t e l e v i s i o n 'conversation' i s c u l t i v a t e d , s c r i p t e d or acted t o the extent j u s t mentioned. To be sure, ' l i f t i n g the words o f f the page' i s r e q u i r e d f o r anchors to appear as i f they are t e l l i n g s t o r i e s t o , and conversing w i t h , viewers. But i n l o c a l TV news, anchors do have conversations that are r e c i p r o c a l , authentic and i n t e r a c t i v e . Not ,<al,l, conversations are i l l u s i o n s , or as r i g i d as the rones that are pretended. L i v e mediated face-to-face conversation i s not a dialogue between anchors and viewers. The exchange takes place between anchors, news sources, r e p o r t e r s and co-hosts. The l i v e i n t e r a c t i o n occurs w i t h e i t h e r both p a r t i e s i n the s t u d i o , or w i t h j u s t one i n the s t u d i o and the other on the screen v i a s a t e l l i t e or repeater w h i l e a c t u a l l y out i n the f i e l d at some s p e c i f i e d event or l o c a t i o n . The l i v e s t u d i o i n t e r v i e w and casual banter among hosts before commercials or at the c l o s e of the show are ' r e a l ' c onversations. So are those -between studio.: anchors and e i t h e r r e p o r t e r s or news sources speaking -from out i n the f i e l d . I t could, of course, be argued that these conversations are not aut h e n t i c and are j u s t as c u l t i v a t e d as those between anchors and viewers that are complete f a b r i c a t i o n s . E r v i n g Goffman maintains that all conversations are c u l t i v a t e d and that we a l l do face-work i n our everyday encounters whether on t e l e v i s i o n , i n the o f f i c e or out on the s t r e e t ([1959] 1973; 1961; 1967; 62 1969; 1971). Other grounds that could be used to support t h i s argument are the format r e s t r i c t i o n s placed on any v e r b a l utterance to keep w i t h i n the boundaries of a s t a t i o n ' s s p e c i f i e d news program i n terms of allowable seconds f o r t a l k i n g and acceptable content of any o n - a i r i n t e r a c t i o n . While these arguments bear t r u t h s that cannot be denied, they are not enough to counteract the r e a l i t y that l i v e , r e c i p r o c a l c o n v e r s a t i o n between two people does, i n f a c t , take place \in„instances l i k e the ones described. Both - p a r t i c i p a n t s - are .seen and. heard i n t e r a c t i n g . In t h i s sense, the conversations are a u t h e n t i c . This i s more than can be s a i d about the 'supposed' conversations between anchors and t h e i r audience that i s n ' t even present. The opportunity these moments provide f o r viewers i s t o catch a glimpse of how anchors behave i n r e a l i n t e r a c t i o n w i t h people a u d i b l y and v i s i b l y w i t h them on t e l e v i s i o n . One i n d u s t r y i n s i d e r used an analogy to suggest the appropriate s e n s i b i l i t y t o be brought to anchors' authentic c o n v e r s a t i o n a l moments by the anchors themselves and by those i n the audience. As a c l a s s i c example of the e f f e c t d e s i r e d , .she r e f e r r e d t o a p a r t i c u l a r s t u d i o anchor' s Mve-rapport-with, j o u r n a l i s t s and how "she doesn't come across as being the anchor and they're the r e p o r t e r , i t ' s l i k e she's c h a t t i n g w i t h her f r i e n d and you're l i s t e n i n g i n on the conversation." The primary r o l e of viewers s h i f t s s l i g h t l y w h i l e they observe and l i s t e n to anchors conversing w i t h others. The 'viewer as f r i e n d ' trope becomes, momentarily, the 'viewer as 63 f r i e n d eavesdropping' a l l e g o r y . There i s , of course, an a l t e r n a t i v e : the 'viewer as f r i e n d and s i l e n t group member' homology. The beauty of on-screen authentic c o n v e r s a t i o n i s that i t leaves viewers w i t h these two options f o r how they'd l i k e t o f i t i n t o t h i s drama. An anchor's r e a l , t e l e v i s e d conversations could, on the one hand, appeal t o a viewer's mischievous tendencies by opening the window f o r them t o f e e l as i f they are anonymously l i s t e n i n g , .to something, they are not supposed to hear being s a i d . On the other hand, i t i s commonplace f o r anchors to f r e q u e n t l y glance i n t o the lens of the camera during l i v e i n t e r a c t i o n w i t h performers. This could appeal t o any d e s i r e s of i n c l u s i o n through i n t e r p r e t a t i o n s that anchors are l o o k i n g i n d i v i d u a l l y at them, the viewers, hence l e a v i n g viewers f e e l i n g s p e c i a l enough to be p r i v y t o what i s being s a i d . What becomes evident here, and must not be f o r g o t t e n , i s that viewers, l i k e anchors, are not only r e a l people, they are ac t o r s too, and part of the production. Regardless of the r o l e that audience members choose, they ..either: ..will , or won't l i k e how anchors r e l a t e to others.' on the ...show.,and/or to them, • while others are the f o c a l p o i n t of an anchor's a t t e n t i o n . But si n c e viewers are granted the power to s e l e c t the r o l e they p l a y dur i n g an anchor's momentary authentic conversations w i t h others on the stage, they may be l e s s i n c l i n e d to be c r i t i c a l of the anchor s i n c e they are preoccupied while i n d u l g i n g i n some aspect of t h e i r own d i s t i n c t i v e character as they watch and l i s t e n t o 64 these p o r t i o n s of the newscast u n f o l d . Anchors as Journalists and I n t e l l i g e n t People Viewers are not only s i l e n t a c t o r s who are part of the show while s i t t i n g and watching a newscast from the "back re g i o n " of t h e i r homes, they a l s o enter the " f r o n t region" of TV news productions when they appear i n news s t o r i e s as e i t h e r the focus of events deemed newsworthy, -or as sources -who, provide the l e g i t i m a c y , c r i t i c i s m and/or^opinionated .comments e s s e n t i a l to the s t o r y ' s p l o t development w i t h i n the context and format of the show (Ericson, Baranek & Chan, 1989; Goffman [1959] 1973; Meyrowitz, 1985; Thompson, 1995). Viewers, l i k e anchors, are not on l y r e a l people and e f f e c t i v e a c t o r s , they are a l s o pieces of expressive equipment who embody the t a s t e s and s e n s i b i l i t i e s of themselves as audience members when they appear on a show. The ' r e a l ' people that viewers can p o t e n t i a l l y r e l a t e to i n c l u d e both anchors and themselves, or some aspect of t h e i r own demographic make-up, or t h e i r h i s t o r y , t h e i r f u t u r e , or current l i f e context as r e f l e c t e d through .sound and p i c t u r e s at some po i n t d u r i n g the show. The question to ponder i s t h i s : How l i k e l y are viewers to admit that t h e i r own persona i s n e i t h e r d i s t i n c t i v e nor c r e d i b l e ? I t i s p l a u s i b l e that viewers could draw an a s s o c i a t i v e l i n k by a t t r i b u t i n g t h e i r own d i s t i n c t i v e c r e d i b i l i t y they see r e f l e c t e d on the screen to the anchors who embody those same q u a l i t i e s and introduce the s t o r i e s t h a t they l i t e r a l l y , or f i g u r a t i v e l y , appear i n . 65 Respondents b e l i e v e d that the i n c l u s i v e n e s s of t e l e v i s i o n newscasts provides anchors w i t h a s o l i d v e h i c l e f o r e s t a b l i s h i n g and m a i n t a i n i n g c r e d i b i l i t y i n the eyes of the audience. Anchors v e n t u r i n g out of the s t u d i o and i n t o the s t r e e t s t o r e c r u i t viewers to d i s p l a y as actors on the screen i s considered, by many, the most c r i t i c a l component of image when i t comes to viewer assessments of t h e i r t r u s t w o r t h i n e s s and i n t e l l i g e n c e . The image i s that of an anchor .who i s .not . . v S i m p l y ^ . a . , ' t a l k i n g head', but a l s o a j o u r n a l i s t . i T h i s . image .is Joelieved t o be powerful enough to compensate f o r ' f a t a l ' t r a n s g r e s s i o n s i n one or more other image elements. The overarching b e l i e f i s that TV news viewers are a dubious l o t . One producer explained the crux of the challenge by suggesting t h a t , w i t h respect to anchors, "viewers have to know that there's something behind the facade, that they've got some a c t u a l i n t e l l i g e n c e there." Another producer from a d i f f e r e n t s t a t i o n c l a r i f i e d the problem through h i s suggestion that viewer a f f e c t i o n s toward anchors are based, not simply on p e r s o n a l i t y and looks, but a l s o on perceptions:that athe., anchors they watch understand the issuesvtheyrare •talking.about. A: People r e a l l y a c t u a l l y want c r e d i b i l i t y when they t h i n k about i t . They want to be able to t r u s t the information...and i f you h i r e somebody p u r e l y f o r cosmetic reasons, that doesn't engender t r u s t . The viewers are not going to t r u s t somebody who's j u s t there to sound and look the p a r t . They want to know that the s t o r y that t h i s person i s reading to them hasn't been w r i t t e n by somebody e l s e and they're j u s t a mouth piece. Q: How would the audience know that? 66 A: Well the f i r s t t h i n g that they do i s they suspect i t . And i n f a c t they suspect i t of everybody... t h a t they're j u s t there to dress up a s e t . While the facade of c r e d i b i l i t y as embodied on the faces and bodies of anchors, and through t h e i r ways of a c t i n g and t a l k i n g w i t h viewers are important and not denied, they are not enough s i n g u l a r l y or j o i n t l y to quash p o t e n t i a l viewer concerns about an anchor's substance. The facade of c r e d i b i l i t y b e l i e v e d to c a r r y the most weight independently i s the one based on the p e r c e p t i o n that an anchor has s o m e ^ j o u r n a l i s t i c i n t e r e s t , depth and a b i l i t y . The anchor's c a p a c i t y t o t e l l s t o r i e s w e l l i s b e l i e v e d t o depend on audience knowledge that they know how t o , and sometimes do, develop s t o r y content themselves. There are s e v e r a l ways f o r viewers t o l e a r n about an anchor's a b i l i t y to p l a y the r o l e of a news-minded j o u r n a l i s t . The most obvious way i s through t e l e v i s i o n footage of the anchor i n the f i e l d , p o i n t i n g a microphone i n the face of p o t e n t i a l or a c t u a l audience members who are making guest a c t i n g appearances i n t h e i r s t o r i e s and on the show. Several respondents are convinced that an anchor's c r e d i b i l i t y i s -embodied -and . " b u i l t -i n " i f , before they ever s i t i n the anchor.chair, they are known to have made r e g u l a r newscast appearances i n a j o u r n a l i s t i c c a p a c i t y w i t h i n the same broadcast region that they, e v e n t u a l l y , end up anchoring. One producer who agreed w i t h t h i s p e r s p e c t i v e c i t e d the success of one anchor whose pr o g r e s s i o n i n the business evolved i n the suggested d i r e c t i o n . She's the f i r s t one that we've had who has not had a problem w i t h the audience i n terms of c r e d i b i l i t y because 67 she worked f o r us as a r e p o r t e r f o r f i v e years before she s t a r t e d anchoring the news. So f o r the audience that we already had, c r e d i b i l i t y was b u i l t - i n . They had seen her s t o r i e s and so they knew who she was and what she could do. Another producer from a d i f f e r e n t TV s t a t i o n agreed w i t h t h i s philosophy. He s a i d i t i s a bad idea t o l e t a s p i r i n g anchors do that job before s u f f i c i e n t work has been done to f o s t e r audience impressions that there i s a j o u r n a l i s t i c component to t h e i r o v e r a l l image. I t h i n k at t h i s s t a t i o n we'd be i n c l i n e d not to^ put them on the a i r anchoring r i g h t away. We'd be i n c l i n e d t o have them be a r e p o r t e r f o r a couple of years . f i r s t because I t h i n k t h a t ' s what we've got to show the audience, that t h i s person has been out there d i g g i n g and gauging and doing s t o r i e s and got that c r e d e n t i a l f i r s t before we put them i n the anchor c h a i r . The presumption that i s evident i n these comments i s that viewers are more i n c l i n e d to t r u s t anchors i f they've witnessed t h e i r development and t h e i r savvy as r e p o r t e r s . The d e s i r e d and indeed necessary perception i s that an anchor's prime concern i s , and always was, news and j o u r n a l i s m , not a c t i n g or modelling. Of course t h i s i s a debatable p r o p o s i t i o n s i n c e the data thus f a r have shown that e f f e c t i v e anchoring and the c u l t i v a t i o n of c r e d i b i l i t y r e q u i r e the a p p r o p r i a t i o n of techniques and i n s i g h t s from each one of these o c c u p a t i o n a l areas. A l s o i m p l i e d i s the r e q u i s i t e viewer impression that an i n v i t a t i o n to s i t i n the anchor c h a i r i s earned through i n v e s t i g a t i v e a b i l i t y , b r a i n power and cleverness, not granted s o l e l y on the a b i l i t y to look, sound and act c r e d i b l e , non-t h r e a t e n i n g and pleasant. P r o v i d i n g viewers w i t h the opportunity t o observe, f i r s t -68 hand, an anchor's ascent i n the business i s the scenario p r e f e r r e d . This i s not always p o s s i b l e , though, e s p e c i a l l y f o r anchors who c u l t i v a t e d t h e i r c r e d i b i l i t y and developed j o u r n a l i s t i c a l l y i n regions other than the one s t u d i e d . One anchor w i t h a lengthy r e p o r t i n g h i s t o r y gained h i s ' j o u r n a l i s t i c spurs' i n s e v e r a l Canadian provinces and c i t i e s . He i s convinced that the w r i t i n g and r e p o r t i n g a b i l i t i e s he developed elsewhere are what c l i n c h e d f o r him the anchor job he's now i n . I got t h i s job because of my r e p o r t i n g experience, because they wanted someone who was not j u s t a news reader. They wanted someone who...can b r i n g a c e r t a i n c r e d i b i l i t y and a u t h o r i t y t o the program. Um, at l e a s t t h a t ' s what, when I asked them, "Why do you want me?" that was the e x p l a n a t i o n that was given. C r e d i b i l i t y c u l t i v a t e d i n other centres i s not u n d e s i r a b l e , i t j u s t creates other challenges. How does an audience know that imported anchors, l i k e the one j u s t r e f e r r e d t o , care about the news and have the h i s t o r i e s they take p r i d e in? How do s t a t i o n s ensure that viewers a t t r i b u t e the a u t h o r i t y and c r e d i b i l i t y the anchors are b e l i e v e d to exude during a newscast to t h e i r j o u r n a l i s t i c past, not j u s t t o t h e i r face, v o i c e , a c t i n g a b i l i t y or c l o t h e s ? The r e s o l u t i o n of t h i s dilemma i s best understood by adopting the l o g i c that Meyrowitz (1985: 50) has used: He suggests that any i n f o r m a t i o n an audience has about an i n d i v i d u a l ' s behaviour from other s i t u a t i o n s i s taken i n t o account when observing that person execute performances. I t o n l y makes sense, then, f o r s t a t i o n s to r e l y on background d e t a i l s provided by p r i n t r e p o r t e r s of the j o u r n a l i s t i c past of 69 the imported anchors that have been h i r e d . What i s hoped i s t h a t , based on what i s w r i t t e n , viewers w i l l be convinced that newcomers from other markets are already c r e d i b l e , seasoned, tru s t w o r t h y messengers. The news d i r e c t o r of the experienced r e p o r t e r described above explained how unknown i n f o r m a t i o n about h i s background i s disseminated to the p u b l i c . S t o r i e s get w r i t t e n about him i n TV Guide or the newspaper or wherever and they r e f e r to h i s background and people read that and they remember t h a t , and they have a sense that he knows what he's t a l k i n g ..about because he' s been out there i n the f i e l d , he was -a n a t i o n a l 'reporter, he has a l o t of experience. This reasoning i s not u n l i k e the l o g i c used to j u s t i f y the importance of having a s p i r i n g announcers act as r e p o r t e r s before anchoring the news. The key d i f f e r e n c e i s that the i n f o r m a t i o n viewers r e c e i v e about immigrant anchors i s second-hand. The anchor's image i s constructed and expressed f o r viewers by a w r i t e r w i t h a c l e v e r pen, not by the viewers themselves a c t u a l l y w i t n e s s i n g on t h e i r own p i c t u r e s of the anchor c o n s t r u c t i n g t h e i r own c r e d i b i l i t y on l o c a l s t r e e t s w i t h a microphone i n hand. B i o g r a p h i c a l a r t i c l e s , i f they must be r e l i e d on, f u n c t i o n as i f they are an anchor's .reference l e t t e r s that are posted p u b l i c l y f o r the audience. I t i s hoped that the chain of thought i n the minds of those who peruse the a r t i c l e s goes something l i k e t h i s : I f s t a t i o n s and viewers elsewhere supported an anchor's j o u r n a l i s t i c presence and o n - a i r c r e d i b i l i t y development, that anchor must, then, be worthy of the anchor c h a i r they have been given to s i t i n . The purpose i s 70 t o l a y to r e s t any audience s p e c u l a t i o n that the stranger w r i t t e n about cannot be t r u s t e d as e i t h e r a ' f r i e n d ' or w i t h the s c r i p t s they w r i t e and the performance they have been h i r e d to c a r r y out. S t a t i o n s and newsrooms can hope, but not assume, that t a r g e t e d and other viewers read a r t i c l e s w r i t t e n about o u t s i d e r s h i r e d t o anchor t h e i r news, or about anchors that are l o c a l l y grown. Assumptions cannot be made, e i t h e r , that everyone i n the broadcast r e g i o n w i l l have witnessed, heard. :or-«r.ead the s t o r i e s that anchors have, i n the • past, reported von .or. .written during t h e i r developmental days i n t h i s market i n t e l e v i s i o n , p r i n t or r a d i o . One way that s t a t i o n s compliment b i o g r a p h i c a l a r t i c l e s and other 'evidence' of anchors' past j o u r n a l i s t i c c r e d e n t i a l s i s w i t h promotional footage. >Pictures are presented of a s t a t i o n ' s anchors surrounded by props which suggest t o viewers that these people a c t u a l l y spend time working i n the f i e l d or newsroom, whether they do or not. One example from a s t a t i o n i n the broadcast r e g i o n s t u d i e d i s the p i c t o r i a l image of an anchor team s p o r t i n g s u i t s and s e r i o u s f a c i a l expressions walking b r i s k l y down the outside steps-of a 'downtown . of f i c e b u i l d i n g . The image creates the impression that the anchor team i s heading back to the s t a t i o n a f t e r having j u s t r e t r i e v e d important i n f o r m a t i o n to be a i r e d on t h e i r newscast that evening. I t a l s o suggests that the important i n f o r m a t i o n comes from b i g , important i n s t i t u t i o n s symbolized by the o f f i c e b u i l d i n g , and that the team has j u s t been ' i n s i d e ' t h i s i n s t i t u t i o n to get the 71 scoop. Such images are o f t e n d i s p l a y e d at the beginning of newscasts or during newscast promotions that a i r on s t a t i o n s throughout the day. Another t a c t i c used to i n c i t e audience perceptions that anchors are trustworthy, knowledgeable and i n t e r e s t e d i n the news they d e l i v e r i s based not on past l a u r e l s or promotional images, but on images of them a c t u a l l y i n v o l v e d i n l i v e and packaged j o u r n a l i s m during the shows that they,anchor weekly or d a i l y . The news d i r e c t o r of one s t a t i o n that .prides i t s e l f on the ongoing j o u r n a l i s t i c e f f o r t s of i t s anchors s a i d that "they go out and r e p o r t , they b r i n g you news, they're not j u s t reading i t . They're part and p a r c e l of the process of g e t t i n g i t to you." The f o l l o w i n g comment of an anchor who works f o r t h i s news d i r e c t o r - r e f l e c t s h i s understanding of the impression he i s hoping to c u l t i v a t e by r e p o r t i n g on s t o r i e s . H o p e f u l l y because I'm out there, because I'm a r e p o r t e r as w e l l as a host I encourage the b e l i e f that i t ' s up to the minute and that I'm i n v o l v e d w i t h t h i n g s , that I'm not j u s t s i t t i n g behind a desk somewhere w i t h some guy handing me a bunch of paper, that I'm i n v o l v e d w i t h the s t a t i o n , that I'm i n v o l v e d w i t h the news gathering so that I know what's going on, that I'm not j u s t a meat puppet. Viewers are given clues that an anchor';s.packaged, e d i t e d s t o r y d u r i n g a newscast i s , i n f a c t , t h e i r work. One i n d i c a t i o n i s that the anchor's v o i c e can be heard n a r r a t i n g the r e p o r t . The other c l u e i s a v i s u a l image, shown at l e a s t once, of the anchor on the screen w i t h an i n t e r v i e w subject at the l o c a t i o n where the s t o r y was shot. Often the r e p o r t i n g anchor moves t h e i r head up and down to i n d i c a t e t h e i r understanding of what 72 i s going on, a gesture sometimes r e f e r r e d to as the 'knowing nod' . L i v e j o u r n a l i s m i s best described as the contemporaneous i n t e r v i e w between anchor and source while both are i n the s t u d i o , or while the source i s elsewhere. I t i s important t o note, though, that l i v e j o u r n a l i s m i s r a r e l y ' l i v e ' i n the sense of being at the a c t u a l news event as i t i s u n f o l d i n g . I t i s simply same-time conversation about events.that have happened or are o c c u r i n g at another location.. This type .of j o u r n a l i s m i s not on l y unedited, but experienced simultaneously by anchor, source and audience. I t i s the k i n d of news production that f a c i l i t a t e s the d i s p l a y of not only an anchor's c o n v e r s a t i o n a l a b i l i t i e s , but a l s o t h e i r i n t e l l e c t . One anchor who i s confident w i t h h i s c a p a c i t y to c a r r y ..of f:.these .moments*, b e l i e v e s t h a t they do serve as more than i n d i c a t o r s of an anchor's s o c i a l s k i l l s and i n t e r a c t i v e approach. He s a i d they a l s o r e v e a l the experience and depth, or la c k thereof, of the anchor i n focus. I t h i n k i t ' s probably more i n the u n s c r i p t e d moments of a t e l e v i s i o n broadcast, when you're doing an i n t e r v i e w , f o r example, that you r e v e a l that there i s a depth of knowledge there. And I'm t o l d that ipeople.recognize ; t h a t . And i n a d d i t i o n to the newscast< s we o c c a s i o n a l l y do forums, s o r t of town h a l l t h i n g s , and people have s a i d t o me t h a t , " I t ' s i n t e r e s t i n g , there's a dimension to you that we see when you're doing the forums that we don't see when you're reading the news and i t suggests q u i t e a l e v e l of j o u r n a l i s t i c experience and j o u r n a l i s t i c depth." Part of an e f f e c t i v e anchor's a b i l i t y to appear smart and 'deep' i s due to t h e i r a b i l i t y to d i s p l a y knowledge and experience through l i v e f ace-to-face i n t e r a c t i o n w i t h others on the screen. However, they can add to t h i s appearance through a 73 quick mind and l i s t e n i n g s k i l l s which demonstrate that the person can 'think on t h e i r f e e t ' . One anchor, according to her producer, gained the necessary-image of j o u r n a l i s t i c c r e d i b i l i t y not through v i s u a l d i s p l a y s of her as a f i e l d r e p o r t e r , but through the sounds and s i g h t s of her as a l i v e s t u d i o i n t e r v i e w e r . Her a b i l i t y t o perform t h i s task s e t s her apart from others who e i t h e r don't r e l y on or have, t o the same extent, the aforementioned. ..attributes and s k i l l s . L i s t e n i n g and t h i n k i n g , -«said the producer, are what p u l l s her through i n t e r v i e w s as i f she i s prepared, even when she i s n ' t . They a l s o f a c i l i t a t e the impression that she i s not only c r e d i b l e , but genuine. I t h i n k she has proven h e r s e l f c o n s i d e r a b l y i n the way t h a t she handles l i v e i n t e r v i e w s because she l i s t e n s , which i s very, very important. Many anchors don't. Many anchors a l l over the world'don't l i s t e n . They're t h i n k i n g of the next question, they're not l i s t e n i n g t o what the person i s saying. She l i s t e n s . She could be completely unprepared f o r an i n t e r v i e w i n the sense that she knows the background, she knows the topic...she's comfortable w i t h t h a t , but wouldn't have s c r i p t e d questions. And she could s t i l l handle i t f a n t a s t i c a l l y w e l l , whereas other anchors would look at the s c r i p t e d questions and not t h i n k . She's q u i t e comfortable w i t h doing that and w i l l l i s t e n and w i l l formulate a question based . on what i s s a i d . And t o me t h a t ' s one of the f a c t o r s : t h a t - r e a l l y . c o n t r i b u t e s t o her c r e d i b i l i t y because there'.s a'"situation ?where you have to prove y o u r s e l f . The c r e d i b l e p e rception created by t h i s anchor.is a u t h e n t i c s i n c e what she says and asks during her i n t e r v i e w s i s what comes to mind at that second. Her questions and words are not s c r i p t e d by h e r s e l f or others; hence, she doesn't appear unknowledgeable or u n i n t e l l i g e n t through audience perceptions that she i s unable t o f o l l o w a t r a i n of thought or respond, 74 n a t u r a l l y , t o another's comments which, according t o the producer, many anchors, do. They r e l y on the c u l t i v a t e d 'act' of conversing at times when that act i s not c a l l e d f o r . When used i n a p p r o p r i a t e l y , c u l t i v a t e d conversations based on s c r i p t e d m a t e r i a l i n t e r f e r e w i t h the authentic i n t e r a c t i o n that i s supposed to c h a r a c t e r i z e l i v e i n t e r v i e w s . L i v e i n t e r v i e w s k i l l s not only enhance image, they are a l s o an i n c r e a s i n g n e c e s s i t y .since the ..technology t h a t d r i v e s present-day t e l e v i s i o n f a c i l i t a t e s :'.more frequent use of t h i s j o u r n a l i s t i c v e h i c l e . According to one anchor who d e s c r i b e d the t r a n s i t i o n , changes i n the medium allo w f o r , and d i c t a t e , more immediacy. I t ' s j u s t an e v o l u t i o n , r e a l l y i t i s . . . t h e r e are more o p p o r t u n i t i e s given the technology and the way the i n f o r m a t i o n i s gathered and the way the i n f o r m a t i o n can be put on the a i r . L i k e , you couldn't go l i v e t o whatever was happening before. You couldn't s i t i n your l i v i n g room and watch the coup, or attempted coup i n Russia while you were having tea and cookies. That was impossible. Now that i s p o s s i b l e and i t makes for.news coverage which i s completely d i f f e r e n t . I mean, a l l the l i v e r e p o r t s , they're not s c r i p t e d , none of that i s s c r i p t e d . I t i s happening as you are seeing i t . In other words, anchors are o f t e n forced to be i n v o l v e d i n the process of l i v e news as ^ i t " i s -being, .produced, not simply to act as presenters of news that they, or others, have e d i t e d and packaged. With in f o r m a t i o n t r a v e l l i n g so much f a s t e r than i t used t o , t h i s anchor s a i d she i s o f t e n f o r c e d t o d i s c u s s the p a r t i c u l a r s of p i c t u r e s and issues she i s seeing and hearing about f o r the f i r s t time, along w i t h viewers. During t h i s process of mutual production she may have a few notes about what 75 i s going on, but no d e t a i l e d s c r i p t to f o l l o w . In terms of the proper image c o n s t r u c t i o n during these moments, she, l i k e others i n the same p o s i t i o n , i s e n t i r e l y on her own to prove h e r s e l f . The producer l a s t quoted i s convinced that t h i s f u t u r e t r e n d i n anchor imaging i s one that r e l i e s on anchors to take i n c r e a s i n g c o n t r o l over t h e i r d i s p l a y of j o u r n a l i s t i c c r e d i b i l i t y and d i s t i n c t i o n . These q u a l i t i e s as represented through embodied and expressive -images of,-depth, c u r i o s i t y , a t t e n t i v e n e s s and i n t e r r o g a t i o n . You won't have time f o r a w r i t e r t o s i t down and s c r i p t your questions f o r you, and do the research f o r you, and have i t a l l there f o r you. And because you won't have a s c r i p t t o t u r n to.the anchors are going to have to t h i n k . Imagine! But I t h i n k that w i l l i n c r e a s i n g l y be the way. And the o l d school seems to be that there were w r i t e r s , there was an anchor, a s t r i c t d i v i s i o n of labour. And now I t h i n k the l i n e s are b l u r r i n g . . . and perhaps some of the : o l d school of anchors are going-to-have..trouble adapting .to t h a t . M u l t i - t a s k i n g and the i n t e r p l a y of t a l k i n g , a c t i n g , t h i n k i n g and "asking, may Tiot only .be a challenge f o r seasoned anchors entrenched i n t r a d i t i o n a l j o u r n a l i s t i c and anchoring methods, but a l s o f o r any others i n the f i e l d hoping t o c u l t i v a t e and s u s t a i n the d e s i r e d j o u r n a l i s t i c i m a g e s o l e l y on the' b a s i s of those conventional methods. Anchors cannot be assured that an image of c r e d i b i l i t y e s t a b l i s h e d through the d i s p l a y of past and present packaged news r e p o r t i n g a b i l i t y , w i l l compensate, e n d l e s s l y , f o r substantive or other d e f i c i e n c i e s when i t comes to the d i s p l a y of t h e i r l i v e j o u r n a l i s t i c p r o f i c i e n c y . In other words, anchors who have b u i l t , or are hoping to c o n s t r u c t , t h e i r j o u r n a l i s t i c image w i t h 76 s t e l l a r packaged r e p o r t i n g c r e d e n t i a l s could damage that image i f t h e i r l i v e , u n s c r i p t e d j o u r n a l i s t i c performances are not convincing. There i s no guarantee that the c a r r y over e f f e c t Meyrowitz speaks of w i l l compensate i n d e f i n i t e l y f o r c o n t r a d i c t o r y evidence of the j o u r n a l i s t i c c r e d i b i l i t y of an anchor's image. The t r a d i t i o n a l legacy of packaged.journalism can no longer come to the a i d of, or be r e l i e d on, by anchors t r y i n g t o develop or s u s t a i n an i n t e l l i g e n t image when.; they r e a l l y don't know what they're t a l k i n g about and/or don't care about the words coming out of t h e i r mouths. The p o t e n t i a l f o r such dependence was f a c i l i t a t e d i n the past by o p p o r t u n i t i e s t o piggyback on the s k i l l s of e d i t o r s , producers, w r i t e r s or others h i r e d t o help -anchors out w i t h t h e i r act.. This behind-the-scenes help could f u n c t i o n to cover-up what anchors themselves couldn't, or didn't want t o , c a r r y out. P o s s i b i l i t i e s to p r o j e c t the facade of a b i l i t y are becoming l e s s frequent w i t h the i n c r e a s i n g p o p u l a r i t y of l i v e anchor i n t e r v i e w s . The p r o t e c t i v e mechanisms b u i l t i n t o ' conventional j o u r n a l i s m are absent i n the r e p o r t i n g method'increasingly 1, used.. . The mounting pressure on anchors to prove t h e i r 'smarts' t o viewers singlehandedly i s l i n k e d to the d i f f e r e n t i a l o p p o r t u n i t i e s embedded i n l i v e and packaged j o u r n a l i s m to create i l l u s i o n s and engage i n r e a l i t y . While the f i e l d report and i t ' s image message i s more d i c t a t o r i a l and manipulated, and the l i v e i n t e r v i e w more 77 c o n v e r s a t i o n a l , i n t e r a c t i v e and genuine, these d i s t i n c t i o n s are not absolute. The explanations provided could l e a d one t o draw the c o n c l u s i o n that l i v e r e p o r t i n g by anchors i s , i n a l l cases, an a u t h e n t i c , c r e d i b l e d i s p l a y of an anchor's i n t e l l e c t and d i s t i n c t i v e s o c i a l a b i l i t i e s . This i s , i n most cases, tr u e s i n c e l i v e work, as opposed to packaged, e d i t e d j o u r n a l i s m , can be observed and l i s t e n e d to i n i t s e n t i r e t y . I t i s unedited, w i t h no chance t o cover-up an anchor's . p o t e n t i a l l y ' f a t a l ' performance mistakes. The i l l u s i o n , though, of the p r o j e c t e d r e a l i t y i s that i t i s , at times, p o s s i b l e t o pre-tape and e d i t ' l i v e ' i n t e r v i e w s . This i s done i n some cases. The q u a l i t y of images p r o j e c t e d to viewers during pre-taped i n t e r v i e w s are not u n l i k e those that are manipulated through the process i n v o l v e d i n t r a d i t i o n a l l y packaged news jo u r n a l i s m . Face-to-face i n t e r v i e w s p r o j e c t images to viewers r i d d l e d w i t h e i t h e r a u t h e n t i c i t y or c u l t i v a t i o n depending on whether they are l i v e or pre-recorded and condensed. The f l i p s i d e of t h i s c l a r i f i c a t i o n i s the assumption that an anchor's sustained i n t e r a c t i o n and d i s p l a y of unedited c u r i o s i t y , w i t , s o c i a l s k i l l s -and knowledge .is a v a i l a b l e to viewers only during l i v e i n t e r v i e w s , not through observations of t h e i r t r a d i t i o n a l j o u r n a l i s t i c productions. While t h i s i s c e r t a i n l y t r u e based on the images t e l e v i s e d , i t i s , i n f a c t , p o s s i b l e f o r viewers and others to experience those q u a l i t i e s f i r s t hand, whether acted or genuine, i f those people are w i t h the anchor i n the f i e l d as e i t h e r i n t e r v i e w subjects or curious 78 bystanders. This i s an opportunity f o r them to observe and l i s t e n to the l i v e f ace-to-face i n t e r a c t i o n i n i t s e n t i r e t y before the taped v e r s i o n i s taken back to the s t u d i o and transformed i n t o a r t that bridges the worlds of f i c t i o n and r e a l i t y , i . e . packaged news. Audience members have the o p p o r t u n i t y t o not only witness an anchor's l i v e j o u r n a l i s t i c performance i n the s t r e e t s of the community, but t o a l s o assess a l l other components of t h e i r personal front, as,they ,look and sound a u t h e n t i c a l l y , f a c e - t o - f a c e ; -their iimage., not. mediated e l e c t r o n i c a l l y . There i s , then, a l i v e , a u t h e n t i c component to t r a d i t i o n a l , packaged j o u r n a l i s m and the o p p o r t u n i t y f o r anchors to make ' f a t a l ' image e r r o r s before members of the audience. The p o i n t to be s t r e s s e d i s that the l i v e components of both types of j o u r n a l i s m o f f e r • v i e w e r s an otherwise u n a v a i l a b l e "sidestage" view of the t e l e v i s i o n news production (Meyrowitz, 1985: 47, 48). This makes i t i s p o s s i b l e f o r viewers to observe anchors demonstrating t h e i r f a l l i b i l i t y and ignorance through in a c c u r a t e statements and m i s i n t e r p r e t a t i o n s of sources' l i v e comments and news issues (Giddens, '1990;. Meyrowitz., .1985.): . Such d i s p l a y s of i n a p p r o p r i a t e behaviour anight ~not .,only^maker,..viewers question t h e i r p e rception of an anchor as a t r u s t w o r t h y messenger, but could a l s o r a i s e questions about the a u t h e n t i c i t y of the anchor's packaged productions. Viewers may wonder i f the anchor's e d i t e d work b e n e f i t s from a l a r g e r "backstage" r e h e a r s a l area where j o u r n a l i s t i c faux pas are hidden on a r e g u l a r b a s i s , which they are (Ericson, Baranek & Chan, 1989; 79 Goffman, [1959] 1973; Meyrowitz, 1985; Thompson, 1995). I f there are concerns about the discrepancy between an anchor's l i v e and packaged d i s p l a y s of i n t e l l i g e n c e , viewers may withdraw t h e i r t r u s t i n that anchor and vest i t i n another whose performances are more c o n s i s t e n t and don't r a i s e such doubts. I have already mentioned that t h i s component of image -anchors as knowledgeable and i n t e l l i g e n t i n d i v i d u a l s - can, i f •convincing, compensate f o r d e f i c i e n c i e s i n ,an anchor's other image elements. The reverse, however, i s not t r u e . Signs of t r u s t as expressed through an anchor's f a c i a l , d e c o r a t i v e , a c t i n g and/or t a l k i n g c r e d e n t i a l s are not b e l i e v e d powerful enough to counteract the damage done by an anchor who doesn't appear 'smart' enough. Not only are these other image components considered i n e f f e c t i v e compensatory mechanisms, they themselves run the r i s k of being exposed f o r what they are, namely signs of constructed c r e d i b i l i t y . To be sure, the d i s t i n c t i v e q u a l i t i e s they represent remain i n t a c t , but what can become apparent i s that t h e i r r e f l e c t i o n of c r e d i b i l i t y f u n c t i o n s , not as an i n d i c a t o r of authentic knowledge, s k i l l and a b i l i t y , but to support an anchor's c r e d i b i l i t y as constructed j o u r n a l i s t i c a l l y , and through 'apparent' i n t e r e s t , e f f o r t and f a c i l i t y . In other words, i f an anchor i s not able t o c a r r y o f f and d i s p l a y an i n t e l l i g e n t i l l u s i o n and/or the image of i t s r e a l i t y , the e f f e c t i v e n e s s of a l l other image elements are at r i s k of being rendered i n e f f e c t i v e i n what i s supposed t o be t h e i r e f f e c t i v e c a p a c i t y . T h e ir f u n c t i o n i s not t o p i c k up the 80 image s l a c k f o r anchors who perform repeated j o u r n a l i s t i c blunders. 81 CHAPTER FOUR: WAYS OF CONNECTING Cu l t i v a t i n g the I l l u s i o n of Authentic Relationships The ' b l i n d ' t r u s t viewers have i n the a u t h e n t i c i t y of the news on a p a r t i c u l a r channel i s vested not simply i n that s t a t i o n ' s news anchors, but i n the personal r e l a t i o n s h i p s that t h e i r expressive t r u s t signs impel. In the words of one producer, "viewers have personal . r e l a t i o n s h i p s ;.with anchors." This r e l a t i o n a l element, t h i s sense of connection, i s the t r u s t bond between viewers and the news production system and the key to audience l o y a l t y and the success of s t a t i o n s . Anchors' embodied t r u s t signs and viewer perceptions of anchor t r u s t w o r t h i n e s s are the foundational elements upon which viewer-anchor r e l a t i o n s h i p s are b u i l t . A l o y a l r e l a t i o n s h i p between an audience and s t a t i o n depends q u i t e h e a v i l y on how viewers ' f e e l ' about the anchors' a u t h e n t i c and c u l t i v a t e d expressive i n f o r m a t i o n (Meyrowitz, 1994: 58) . The d e s i r e f o r a r e l a t i o n s h i p w i t h a p a r t i c u l a r anchor b o i l s down to viewer-assessments "of t h e ' t o t a l i t y of that anchor's expressive equipment and-whether; or-not they consider i t t o be d i s t i n c t l y c r e d i b l e and one they can i d e n t i f y w i t h . The f o l l o w i n g comment i s from a producer who i s convinced of t h i s : I f an anchor makes an impression on you and you're comfortable w i t h them and i f you f i n d them b e l i e v a b l e and you can r e l a t e t o t h i s person, then you're going t o t u r n them on again. And i f you don't l i k e t hat k i n d of person then you u l t i m a t e l y won't watch. 82 This producer's thoughts are echoed by an anchor who agrees that viewer l o y a l t y and t r u s t i n a s t a t i o n i s based on the ' f e e l i n g ' of a personal connection w i t h the announcer who i s reading the news to them. I f they l i k e you, you've got them hooked and they won't watch anybody e l s e . I f they l i k e you then t h a t ' s what they want to see and i t doesn't matter what anything e l s e i s l i k e , or i f they can get b e t t e r news somewhere e l s e , or b e t t e r s p o r t s . I f they l i k e you as a person and they r e a l l y l i n k to you then t h e y ' l l j u s t watch you. The personal i d e n t i f i c a t i o n that- both respondents r e f e r r e d t o can be understood as a "ref l e x i v e p r o j e c t " :in '.which viewers are assured of t h e i r own i d e n t i t y through a sense of connection w i t h a news anchor's persona (Giddens, 1990: 124) . In other words, viewers become 'hooked' on anchors who provide them w i t h a " s o c i a l o r i e n t a t i o n " to themselves by r e f l e c t i n g back t o them t h e i r own d i s t i n c t i v e t a s t e s and values (Bourdieu, 1984: 466) . Each r e f l e x i v e r e l a t i o n s h i p between an anchor and audience member i s i n d i v i d u a l (Goffman [1959] 1973: 49). The s p e c i f i c reasons f o r why a viewer f e e l s a s p e c i a l connection w i t h a p a r t i c u l a r anchor are, to be.sure, m u l t i - d i m e n s i o n a l , j u s t as are the p l a u s i b l e combinations to .the image puzzle of any e f f e c t i v e l o c a l TV news anchor. This "complex " r e l a t i o n a l web i s r e f e r r e d to here as the reflexive elemental anchor image system. This system i s based on the a n a l y s i s presented i n previous chapters which i n d i c a t e s that each news anchor o f f e r s viewers a unique combination of authentic and c u l t i v a t e d expressive elements. Viewers are sure to perceive v a r i o u s combinations of c r e d i b i l i t y and d i s t i n c t i o n , or the l a c k of one or both of these 83 q u a l i t i e s , as they experience any given element of a news anchor's image. The unique perceptual path that each viewer f o l l o w s i s n e i t h e r c o n t r o l l e d e n t i r e l y nor completely p r e d i c t e d . Perceptual c o n t r o l and p r e d i c t i o n at t h i s micro l e v e l , the l e v e l of an anchor's s p e c i f i c components of image, i s not e s s e n t i a l . Viewers are f r e e to explore t h e i r perceptual tendencies based on t h e i r i n d i v i d u a l t a s t e s and character. The beauty of t h i s system i s . t h a t unique p e r c e p t u a l paths can l e a d t o a common perceptual d e s t i n a t i o n -•the d e s i r e f o r numerous viewers to b o l s t e r t h e i r i d e n t i t y by watching the same anchor again and again on t e l e v i s i o n . An anchor whose o v e r a l l image i s conducive to the formation of thousands of d i s t i n c t i v e and enduring r e l a t i o n s h i p s i s an "expressive s u p e r s t a r " (Meyrowitz, 1985: 107). Such anchors have the ..uncanny a b i l i t y to make demographically s i m i l a r and d i v e r s e i n d i v i d u a l s f e e l good about themselves while watching them. As I have argued, these personal r e l a t i o n s h i p s r e s t on viewer perceptions of an anchor's embodiment of recognizable trustworthy expressive elements and are the key., •to. .-audience l o y a l t y and s t a t i o n preferences. I t i s important to note that the personal r e l a t i o n s h i p s between viewers and anchors, while c e r t a i n l y d i s t i n c t i v e , are not a u t h e n t i c . They are j u s t as c u l t i v a t e d and u n i d i r e c t i o n a l as the conversations and i n t e r a c t i o n s between anchors and viewers that are acted. The i l l u s i o n of a u t h e n t i c i t y i s based on the ' f e e l i n g ' that viewers p e r s o n a l l y know t h e i r f a v o u r i t e 84 anchor when they don't, or the 'sense' that they have met them when they haven't ( i b i d : 105, 106, 119). Several respondents suggested that "anchors are i n v i t e d i n t o thousands of viewers' homes", but never i s there a formal i n v i t a t i o n or acceptance. Anchors v i s i t homes that they never-step foot i n and are hosted by ' f r i e n d s ' who are complete strangers to them. This 'sense' of personal involvement on the part of the audience i s nurtured not o n l y by anchors' embodied •trustworthiness...but a l s o by the t e l e v i s i o n medium which f a c i l i t a t e s 'the a c t u a l .^display of t h e i r e x pressive elements. For viewers, TV can cloud the s t r a n g e r - f r i e n d d i s t i n c t i o n by f o s t e r i n g the i l l u s i o n that anchors are p h y s i c a l l y i n the room w i t h them, not j u s t t h e i r a u r a l and v i s u a l r e f l e c t i o n s (Meyrowitz, 1985; 1994) .-But viewers .do : not- I n v i t e - anchors, i n t o t h e i r homes, only t h e i r t e l e v i s e d images. In other words, the ' r e l a t i o n s h i p s ' between viewers and anchors are staged, one-si d e d and disembedded, w i t h no l o c a l i z e d context f o r the i l l u s o r y f r i e n d s h i p s (Giddens, 1990). The 'sense' of a r e l a t i o n s h i p w i t h a favoured:, anchor .is .not .•an ...indication of shared experience or face-to-face - i n t e r a c t i o n . " I t i s a m i r r o r of the viewer's own persona and, simultaneously, an i n d i c a t i o n of the type of person that viewer a c t u a l l y would b e f r i e n d and i n v i t e i n t o t h e i r d w e l l i n g . The c u l t i v a t i o n of personal r e l a t i o n a l connections i s synonymous w i t h the c o n s t r u c t i o n and maintenance of viewer t r u s t i n TV news and the anchors at a s t a t i o n . The s p e c i f i c signs of 85 anchor t r u s t considered by respondents to be most e f f e c t i v e are those most conducive to the formation of n a r c i s s i s t i c a t t r a c t i o n s and i l l u s o r y f r i e n d s h i p s . The d i s t i n c t i o n between the ' f a t a l ' extremes and the range of the acceptable w i t h respect t o each of the image elements presented i s comprehensible w i t h i n the context of the type of a u t h o r i t y that news anchors do and do not possess. A u t h o r i t y i s based on .information E c o n t r o l GGiddens, 1990; Meyrowitz, 1985; 1994). A u t h o r i t i e s a r e e i t h e r : : ' experts' on some body of knowledge, or f r o n t expert o r g a n i z a t i o n s that have access to" and c o n t r o l over that knowledge. The nature of the i n f o r m a t i o n and the mode of i t s dissemination determine not o n l y who has access t o i t , but a l s o the nature of expert-audience t r u s t • r e l a t i o n s . A u t h o r i t i e s are most l i k e l y , t o be t r u s t e d i f t h e i r a u t h e n t i c and c u l t i v a t e d expressive elements promote and r e i n f o r c e the type of a s s o c i a t i o n that i s compatible w i t h t h e i r e x p e r t i s e . Signs of t r u s t are based e i t h e r on d i f f e r e n c e or sameness depending on whether the r e l a t i o n a l connection i s h i e r a r c h i c a l or e g a l i t a r i a n . L o c a l TV news anchors'^are -not v e x p e r t - s p e c i a l i s t s . They do not have the t r a d i t i o n a l a u t h o r i t y or extensive t r a i n i n g of p h y s i c i a n s , lawyers, or p r o f e s s o r s . The e x p e r t - s p e c i a l i s t ' s c l a i m to a u t h o r i t y comes through.mastery of a p a r t i c u l a r subject area, through in-depth knowledge about c e r t a i n l e g a l , academic or medical matters. This type of a u t h o r i t y i s based on deep understanding, not s u p e r f i c i a l awareness (Meyrowitz, 1985; 86 1994) . S p e c i a l i z e d i n f o r m a t i o n i s disseminated predominantly-through p r i n t media. I t i s a c c e s s i b l e o n l y to those w i t h the r e q u i s i t e l i t e r a c y s k i l l s f o r decoding messages laden w i t h s p e c i a l i s t l i n g o . H i g h l y coded s p e c i a l i z e d knowledge i s incomprehensible to the average i n d i v i d u a l . This e x c l u s i v i t y f o s t e r s p r i v a t e l i t e r a r y • c i r c l e s and d i s t i n c t i n f o r m a t i o n systems. The a u t h o r i t y of the expert -.special ist.....is founded not only on 'profound' comprehension of a s p e c i f i c body of i n f o r m a t i o n , but a l s o on the r e s t r i c t e d flow of that s p e c i a l i z e d wisdom ( i b i d ) . C o n t r o l over and access to compartmentalized knowledge promotes h i e r a r c h i c a l r e l a t i o n s h i p s between e x p e r t - s p e c i a l i s t s and l a y audiences. The a u t h o r i t y of 'the doctor, lawyer and academic gives them power over others who are unschooled i n the area of t h e i r s p e c i a l i z a t i o n . The d i s t i n c t i o n between those who 'know' and those who don't i s unambiguous. There i s a marked d i f f e r e n t i a t i o n i n s o c i a l s t a t u s between those w i t h understanding and those ignorant of. - the . i n t r i c a c i e s of the e x p e r t - s p e c i a l i s t ' s subject area ( i b i d ) . Most p a t i e n t s , c l i e n t s and other i n d i v i d u a l s who are denied access to the e x p e r t - s p e c i a l i s t ' s 'secret' i n f o r m a t i o n a l world have no choice but to t r u s t the a u t h e n t i c i t y of t h e i r a u t h o r i t y (Giddens, 1990) . This ' b l i n d t r u s t ' i s not simply p l a c e d i n the p r o f e s s i o n a l s themselves, but i n the i n s t i t u t i o n s they are a part of and the h i e r a r c h i c a l r e l a t i o n s h i p s invoked by t h e i r 87 expressive s i g n a l s . Dress, demeanour and v e r b a l i z a t i o n s that h i g h l i g h t i n a c c e s s i b i l i t y on a personal l e v e l are necessary r e f l e c t i o n s of the knowledge d i s p a r i t y (Meyrowitz, 1985; 1994). Separate i n f o r m a t i o n a l and s o c i a l spheres are compatible. The white l a b coat, aloofness and obscure terminology are j u s t some examples of how e x p e r t - s p e c i a l i s t s can r e i n f o r c e the d i s t i n c t i o n between themselves and those on a lower rung of the i n f o r m a t i o n a l s t a t u s h i e r a r c h y . These, and other expressive t a c t i c s suggest to the --public, -/superiority'.., 'mystery' , 'grandeur'. A trustworthy persona f o r those w i t h t h i s type of a u t h o r i t y i s one that i s somewhat ' a l i e n ' to the average mortal. While an ' a l i e n ' image i s most e f f e c t i v e f o r expert-s p e c i a l i s t s , i t i s undesirable f o r l o c a l TV news anchors who are e x p e r t - g e n e r a l i s t s . Interview data c l e a r l y suggest -that expressive signs that place distance between anchors and viewers are not o n l y untrustworthy but p o t e n t i a l l y ' f a t a l ' to s t a t i o n success. Anchors who look too extreme i n f a c i a l appearance and/or b o d i l y ornamentation can be t h r e a t e n i n g t o viewers, e s p e c i a l l y i f they speak .:and .act : o n - a i r ;as i f they are h i e r a r c h i c a l l y s u p e r i o r . Ways;of^looking.,and/acting are deemed unacceptable i f they do not suggest to viewers that the anchor i s a c c e s s i b l e . N a r c i s s i s t i c a t t r a c t i o n s and i l l u s o r y f r i e n d s h i p s are u n l i k e l y to develop i f an anchor's persona i s d i f f i c u l t f o r viewers to i d e n t i f y w i t h . The a u t h o r i t y of news anchors as e x p e r t - g e n e r a l i s t s i s very d i f f e r e n t from the a u t h o r i t y of e x p e r t - s p e c i a l i s t s . The 88 d i s t i n g u i s h i n g f a c t o r s e x p l a i n why personal ' r e l a t i o n s h i p s ' between viewers and anchors come through expressive elements th a t s t r e s s a f f i n i t y , not separateness. An anchor's c l a i m t o a u t h o r i t y comes not through in-depth knowledge about a p a r t i c u l a r subject, but through apparent comprehension of numerous t o p i c s . E f f e c t i v e anchors appear t o have at l e a s t a modest grasp of general s o c i a l knowledge i n c l u d i n g l o c a l t r a g e d i e s , medical breakthroughs and'high-profile l e g a l b a t t l e s . This type of a u t h o r i t y i s not vabout^focused •understanding but broad s o c i a l awareness. T e l e v i s i o n news i s a v a i l a b l e to the mass p u b l i c . Those w i t h and without extensive formal education have equal access t o the general s o c i a l i n f o r m a t i o n that news anchors present. Comprehension of t e l e v i s i o n news i s not l i t e r a c y dependent. The knowledge i s s i m p l i f i e d and fre e of jargon t o f a c i l i t a t e audience awareness and mass p u b l i c consumption. The s i x o'clock news i s a v a i l a b l e to anyone w i t h access t o a t e l e v i s i o n s e t . The a u t h o r i t y of the e x p e r t - g e n e r a l i s t i s not based on the r e s t r i c t e d flow of s p e c i a l i z e d /knowledge 'acquired through a fancy education. I t comes -through p e r c e p t i o n s of t h e i r broad s o c i a l awareness and t h e i r p r o v i s i o n of access to a common in f o r m a t i o n network. While the expert system of mass media news produ c t i o n has c o n t r o l over the a c q u i s i t i o n and d i s s e m i n a t i o n of s u p e r f i c i a l knowledge, TV anchors a c t u a l l y share that i n f o r m a t i o n . Equal access to common knowledge promotes e g a l i t a r i a n 89 r e l a t i o n s h i p s between anchors and t h e i r audiences. The a u t h o r i t y of anchors as e x p e r t - g e n e r a l i s t s puts them on equal f o o t i n g w i t h the average i n d i v i d u a l . The d i s t i n c t i o n between those who 'know' and those who don't i s ambiguous. There i s no marked d i f f e r e n t i a t i o n i n s o c i a l s t a t u s between those w i t h awareness and those ignorant of what was a i r e d on the l a t e s t newscast. The l a c k of d i s t i n c t i o n . i s based on the f a c t that those who don't 'know' easily-, could,.. since, the»,v.inf ormational worlds of anchors and viewers-: :are emerged >.(Meyrowitz, 1985; 1994) . News anchors do not monopolize the sharing of general i n f o r m a t i o n i n the same way e x p e r t - s p e c i a l i s t s attempt to c o n t r o l the d i s t r i b u t i o n of d e t a i l s about t h e i r r e s p e c t i v e s p e c i a l i z a t i o n s . Medical experts, for.example, and t h e i r h i g h l y s p e c i a l i z e d p u b l i c a t i o n s are the t r a d i t i o n a l means of access t o d e t a i l e d medical information. But news anchors and the r e p o r t e r s at t h e i r s t a t i o n s are not the only e x p e r t - g e n e r a l i s t s who share everyday p u b l i c information. D a i l y news about crime and d i s a s t e r can be accessed."vthroughi;£o.ther.,-:'rsour.ees w i t h i n the expert mass media news production system. News about r i s k i n a l o c a l community i s a l s o shared p u b l i c l y during hourly r a d i o newscasts and i n popular p r i n t p u b l i c a t i o n s (the morning t a b l o i d r e q u i r e s o n l y the most b a s i c l i t e r a c y s k i l l s ) . Since l o c a l news i s covered i n a more t i m e l y f a s h i o n on r a d i o and more in-depth i n newspapers i t i s p o s s i b l e f o r viewers to access these a d d i t i o n a l sources and become q u a s i -90 e x p e r t - g e n e r a l i s t s themselves. Audience members can e a s i l y g a i n awareness of the l a t e s t c r i t i c a l issues before anchors r e p o r t on them duri n g t h e i r n i g h t l y TV news programs. E g a l i t a r i a n r e l a t i o n s h i p s between anchors and audience members are r e i n f o r c e d by t h i s p o t e n t i a l . The p u b l i c ' s l a c k of dependence on TV anchors f o r general knowledge about current events does not undermine the need to t r u s t t h e i r a u t h o r i t y . Audience t r u s t i n the accuracy of t e l e v i s i o n news i s s t i l l c r i t i c a l . Those who. read papers and l i s t e n t o r a d i o may look to anchors f o r c o n f i r m a t i o n of news discovered elsewhere. And f o r those who watch TV to l e a r n about news they are not yet aware of, t r u s t i n the a u t h o r i t y of anchors i s e q u a l l y v i t a l . In e i t h e r case, viewers need t o t r u s t t hat the anchor i s t e l l i n g the ' t r u t h ' since the news has the power t o guide i n d i v i d u a l and/or c o l l e c t i v e behaviour to maximize s a f e t y i n an unsafe world (Giddens, 1990). ' B l i n d t r u s t ' i s most l i k e l y vested i n anchors who f o s t e r e g a l i t a r i a n personal connections through a non-threatening expressive image. Trusted anchors p r o j e c t a persona that i s f a m i l i a r on some l e v e l to the 'average 'mortal', they look, sound and act l i k e "average c i t i z e n s " (Meyrowitz, 1985; 1994). Ways of l o o k i n g and a c t i n g that feature a c c e s s i b i l i t y are necessary r e f l e c t i o n s of the j o i n t i n f o r m a t i o n a l realm of anchors and viewers. Anchors who not only look l i k e ' r e a l ' people , but in c l u d e the audience i n t h e i r t h e a t r i c a l p r e s e n t a t i o n s through i n t e r a c t i o n s and conversations i n v i t e viewers to p e r s o n a l l y 91 connect w i t h them. Featuring ' r e a l ' people i n packaged and l i v e j o u r n a l i s m are other v e h i c l e s f o r audience i n c l u s i o n i n the anchors' world. While the current push f o r e g a l i t a r i a n a l l i a n c e s i s e x p l a i n e d by the shared i n f o r m a t i o n network of anchors and audiences, i t does not account f o r why h i e r a r c h i c a l anchors w i t h a more d i s t a n t image once were but are no longer i n f a s h i o n . I r e f e r here to the l a r g e r than l i f e announcer who t a l k s a t the audience without any i l l u s i o n - . o f .^inclusion. I t .could be argued that t h i s former dominant s t y l e was modelled a f t e r the image of t r a d i t i o n a l a u t h o r i t y when t e l e v i s i o n was f i r s t i ntroduced t o the p u b l i c i n the 1950's. There was no other model of a u t h o r i t y to f o l l o w and the image of t r a d i t i o n a l a u t h o r i t y was unquestioned. The gradual transformation i n image, expectations simply p a r a l l e l e d the changing c u l t u r a l norms of s o c i a l r e l a t i o n s and h i e r a r c h y that were induced by t e l e v i s i o n and other e l e c t r o n i c media ( i b i d ) . T e l e v i s i o n has played a key r o l e i n undermining p u b l i c t r u s t i n t r a d i t i o n a l a u t h o r i t y . b y exposing p r i v a t e i n f o r m a t i o n through news coverage and .other-programming. "TV has l i f t e d many of the o l d v e i l s of secrecy" between e x p e r t - s p e c i a l i s t s and average c i t i z e n s by s i m p l i f y i n g complex d e t a i l s about many areas of s p e c i a l i z a t i o n (Meyrowitz, 1994: 68). This exposure has l e d to demands that all sources and forms of i n f o r m a t i o n be a c c e s s i b l e t o average c i t i z e n s . The r e s u l t of t h i s f o r c e d openness has been an i n c r e a s i n g d i s t r u s t of d i s t a n t a u t h o r i t y 92 and the r e j e c t i o n of 'mysterious' images that promote and r e i n f o r c e h i e r a r c h y . This has made i t c r i t i c a l f o r anchors to d i s t i n g u i s h t h e i r image from the t r a d i t i o n a l image of expert-s p e c i a l i s t s ' t o prevent the deco n s t r u c t i o n of t h e i r own a u t h o r i t y . C u l t i v a t i n g the i l l u s i o n of .authentic personal r e l a t i o n s h i p s i s not only more congruous w i t h e g a l i t a r i a n access to media i n f o r m a t i o n but a l s o gives power to the people which strengthens anchor t r u s t w o r t h i n e s s . L i v i n g Logos: Anchors as Consistent Image Representers While i t i s c e r t a i n l y necessary that an anchor's image be conducive to the formation of personal ' r e l a t i o n s h i p s ' , t h i s p o t e n t i a l i s not b e l i e v e d s u f f i c i e n t to e s t a b l i s h viewer t r u s t and audience l o y a l t y . One producer's comment captured the shared b e l i e f of most respondents: "You can't have an overnight se n s a t i o n w i t h an anchor." While i n i t i a l p erceptions of an anchor's d i s t i n c t c r e d i b i l i t y are b e l i e v e d powerful enough t o capture the a t t e n t i o n of viewers i n i t i a l l y , a c t u a l t r u s t bonds are not developed immediately.. I t .takes .-.time-to ...cultivate the i l l u s i o n of intimacy. One-^veteran J a n c h o r^recalled the years i t took t o g a i n p u b l i c t r u s t and e s t a b l i s h viewer l o y a l t y . I t took time to b u i l d that t r u s t w i t h the audience and the community and i t didn't happen i n two or three years. I t took many years f o r people to get to know me and to recognize me and to b u i l d a bond w i t h me ... I f you want people to l e t you i n t o t h e i r f a m i l y you've got t o g a i n t h e i r t r u s t and give them a chance to get to know you. Viewers need repeated o p p o r t u n i t i e s to s o l i d i f y t h e i r i n i t i a l i d e n t i f i c a t i o n w i t h an anchor's p a r t i c u l a r brand of d i s t i n c t 93 c r e d i b i l i t y . This process of r e f l e x i v e f a m i l i a r i z a t i o n n e c e s s i t a t e s c o n s i s t e n t image r e p r e s e n t a t i o n . In other words, n a r c i s s i s t i c a t t r a c t i o n s and i l l u s o r y f r i e n d s h i p s are more l i k e l y t o develop i f an anchor's image i s somewhat p r e d i c t a b l e and regimented. The v a r i o u s components of an anchor's persona should be presented i n a manner that i s c o n s i s t e n t w i t h t h e i r dominant s t y l e and contained w i t h i n the acceptable boundaries of l e g i t i m a t e expression. The f o l l o w i n g . comment i s from a respondent who s t r e s s e d the importance of image consistency. I t h i n k that viewers expect consistency because they've come to t r u s t t h i s person and they don't want them to change i n any way ... and most anchors would probably not make r a d i c a l changes because they understand that t h e i r acceptance i s something that you can't j e r k around too d r a m a t i c a l l y ... you've been i n v i t e d i n t o somebody's home and i f you're i n v i t e d back the next-time you shouldn't seem l i k e a d i f f e r e n t person. While i t i s important that anchors seem l i k e the same person through c o n s i s t e n t p r e s e n t a t i o n of t h e i r expressive equipment, i t i s e q u a l l y c r i t i c a l that they are. F a m i l i a r i t y a l s o depends on repeated exposure of the a c t u a l . anchors who embody d i s t i n c t c r e d i b i l i t y . "You've got to get your anchors i n place and keep them there because people l i k e ' t o know that those same people are going to be there every n i g h t " , s a i d one news d i r e c t o r . Image consistency at both the elemental and i n d i v i d u a l l e v e l s i s deemed necessary f o r the c o n s t r u c t i o n and maintenance of personal r e l a t i o n s h i p s and audience l o y a l t y . A l l of us, t o some extent, are "creatures of h a b i t " (Snow, 1994: 37). The consistency of an anchor's presence, s t y l e and 94 a c t i o n are no d i f f e r e n t than other forms of regimentation i n our l i v e s . We a l l have a propensity to act h a b i t u a l l y i n everyday casual and formal encounters. E r v i n g Goffman o f f e r s numerous d e t a i l e d accounts of how " s t r a t e g i c i n t e r a c t i o n " (1969) and " i n t e r a c t i o n r i t u a l s " (1967) are c h a r a c t e r i z e d by a high degree of r o u t i n i z a t i o n . A l s o laden w i t h r i t u a l i s how we present ourselves t o others i n our everyday p u b l i c and p r i v a t e l i v e s ( [1959] 1973) . Other forms of p r e d i c t a b i l i t y ^ p e r m e a t e , t he parameters of the personal worlds we navigate. Some s t a r t each day w i t h a hot cup of c o f f e e , while the morning shower i s more of a p r i o r i t y f o r o t hers. Work schedules, r e l i g i o n and f a m i l i a l d i v i s i o n of domestic labour a l l d i c t a t e some form of r e p e t i t i v e behaviour. H a b i t u a l a c t i o n , v o l u n t a r y and imposed, - can be .found.in every nook and cranny of d a i l y e xistence. R o u t i n i z e d s t r a t e g i e s give us a sense of s t a b i l i t y and c o n t r o l i n our personal l i v e s (Goffman, 1963; Snow, 1994). Some degree of r e g u l a r i t y i n s o c i a l i n t e r a c t i o n s and s o l i t a r y a c t i v i t y i n s t i l l s c o n t i n u i t y ^nd order i n ,a iworld t h a t i s otherwise f i l l e d w i t h chaos: "and; uncertainty... While i n j e c t i n g some s o l i d i t y and flow i n t o our l i v e s , h a b i t s t e m p o r a r i l y numb us t o the u n c o n t r o l l a b l e and problematic aspects of personal e x i s t e n c e . Snow (1994) argues that mass media are powerful f o r c e s i n the formation and p r e s e r v a t i o n of f e e l i n g s of personal c o n t r o l and d a i l y s o c i a l order. Newspapers and e l e c t r o n i c media are 95 c h a r a c t e r i z e d by s t r u c t u r a l and temporal r e g u l a r i t y . An i n d i v i d u a l ' s c o n s i s t e n t , r o u t i n i z e d behaviour i s f u e l l e d and maintained by these l a r g e r systematic forces that provide an e x t e r n a l sense of the f a m i l i a r . Media consistency comes t o be expected f o r the sustenance of an i n d i v i d u a l ' s own sense of personal s t a b i l i t y . The p r e d i c t a b l e flow of TV news programs i s p a r t i a l l y due to format c o n s i d e r a t i o n s ( G r i f f i n , 199.2)... Information i s organized according to content> .with . l o c a l , n a t i o n a l and world news presented before d e t a i l s about weather. Sports coverage f o l l o w s e v e r y t h i n g e l s e . This o r g a n i z a t i o n a l c o n s i s t e n c y i s strengthened by t r a n s i t i o n s between segments that are marked by commercials and s t a t i o n i d e n t i f i c a t i o n . A high degree of r e g u l a r i t y can a l s o be found w i t h i n each newscast.segment. Most news s t o r i e s , f o r example, are s i m i l a r l y s t r u c t u r e d . They begin w i t h an anchor i n t r o d u c t i o n , a t r a n s i t i o n to the r e p o r t e r , and video footage accompanied by a voice-over. The appearance of f a m i l i a r i t y comes p a r t i a l l y through these v a r i o u s forms of s t r u c t u r a l r e g u l a r i t y . Viewers-know»what to -expect each time they t u n e - i n to a newscast. While viewers can be assured of the s t r u c t u r a l s t a b i l i t y of the news, they can a l s o r e l y on the t i m i n g of the v a r i o u s programs. Noontime, supper hour and l a t e night newscasts a i r a t noon, a t dinnertime and j u s t before midnight. This regimented temporal o r g a n i z a t i o n can c o n t r i b u t e to the sustenance of personal schedules (Snow, 1994) . The standard t i m i n g of TV news 96 can t r i g g e r t r a n s i t i o n s between the va r i o u s components of one's d a i l y r o u t i n e . This p r e d i c t a b i l i t y can be counted on as a monitoring device to assess, as w e l l as 'time', scheduled d a i l y progress. Viewers need not only t r u s t the a u t h e n t i c i t y of news content, but a l s o i t s systematic p r e s e n t a t i o n and t i m i n g . While the s t r u c t u r a l and temporal aspects of TV news can be r e l i e d upon t o add a sense of order and flow t o the d a i l y l i v e s of viewers, news anchors make .a. -pivotal . c o n t r i b u t i o n . Viewer t r u s t i n the r e l i a b i l i t y ;of ^ inanimate .newscast f e a t u r e s are based on a more " p r i m i t i v e f a i t h " i n the r e l i a b i l i t y of people (Giddens, 1990: 97). Consistent anchors at the i n d i v i d u a l and elemental l e v e l s can be counted on t o maintain a " s i n g l e d e f i n i t i o n of the s i t u a t i o n " through t h e i r expressions, movements, appearance and mere presence (Goffman, . [1959] 1973; 1963; 1969). They o f f e r t h e i r audience a f a m i l i a r a l b e i t i l l u s o r y r e l a t i o n a l environment. Viewers can r e l y on t h e i r s o l i d i t y r e g a r d l e s s of any personal disappointments or d a i l y d i s r u p t i o n s . Image consistency not only'reinforces,viewer.perceptions of an anchor's d i s t i n c t c r e d i b i l i t y , ^ , i t -also .provides them w i t h the i l l u s i o n of i n t e r p e r s o n a l s t a b i l i t y . This combination of f a c t o r s i s b e l i e v e d by many respondents to c o n t r i b u t e to pa t t e r n s of viewer l o y a l t y . One anchor shared her s p e c u l a t i v e understanding of audience expectations of her own and other anchors' 'sameness': I t j u s t becomes a hab i t f o r people and t h a t ' s why they don't want you to change . . . the hab i t i s that at s i x 97 o'clock they t u r n t o our s t a t i o n and they know these two people and they want us to look the same and we're t h e i r f r i e n d s and they j u s t r e l a t e to us. And I guess i f something changes and they don't r e l a t e anymore they don't watch. They may t u r n to a d i f f e r e n t s t a t i o n or they may not watch at a l l . This comment suggests that h a b i t u a l viewing behaviour i s synonymous w i t h r e s i s t a n c e to change. Support f o r t h i s c l a i m comes from a news producer who r e c a l l e d the b i g drop i n r a t i n g s at h i s s t a t i o n years ago when a f a m i l i a r anchor team was rep l a c e d by a newcomer to the market: ;"They ;were both gone and suddenly there was t h i s new*guy.' tAnd--withouti.people knowing how good t h i s new guy was, they j u s t tuned out. So t h a t ' s the r i s k of making b i g changes." Other evidence comes d i r e c t l y from the viewers themselves and t h e i r phone c a l l s of complaint when the s t a b i l i t y of t h e i r r e l a t i o n s h i p w i t h an anchor i s threatened by an image change. The f o l l o w i n g comment i s from an anchor who r e c a l l e d the f l o o d of p r o t e s t c a l l s that came to the s t a t i o n when he wore a bow t i e , grew a moustache, and went on v a c a t i o n . I wore a bow t i e once and they hated i t ... I mean we got a hundred, two hundred c a l l s ^ from people-.who.,hated t h i s , bow t i e . They don't want you to change. ..They. don't want you to be any d i f f e r e n t than ^they've -known'..you f o r the l a s t f i v e , ten, f i f t e e n years. And I grew a moustache once and they went bonkers. Except i n that case I had i t f o r about three days before I shaved i t o f f . Well we got another hundred c a l l s , "Why d i d we shave i t o f f ? I r e a l l y l i k e d i t ! " ... They want that f a m i l i a r face d e l i v e r i n g the news every n i g h t : Even when you go on v a c a t i o n you get c a l l s , "Oh, i s he gone away again? When does he get back?" That k i n d of t h i n g . I t cannot be assumed that a l l c a l l e r s l i k e those mentioned a u t o m a t i c a l l y switch a l l e g i a n c e s to other anchors on d i f f e r e n t 98. s t a t i o n s . While t h e i r perceptual and r e l a t i o n a l e q u i l i b r i u m i s t e m p o r a r i l y u n s e t t l e d , i t w i l l l i k e l y be r e s t o r e d i f the image change i s e i t h e r reversed to i t s o r i g i n a l s t a t e , or adhered to c o n s i s t e n t l y a f t e r the switch. I t i s c e r t a i n l y p l a u s i b l e , though, that d r a s t i c changes to an anchor's image can l e a d to viewer reassessments of whether or not they r e a l l y 'know' the anchor they have decided to•make ' f r i e n d s ' w i t h . R e l a t i o n s h i p c o n t i n u a t i o n may a l s o be questioned i f . the .change does not r e f l e c t current c u l t u r a l norms of t r u s t w o r t h y expression<and the viewer's own d i s t i n c t i v e values and t a s t e s . Temporal, s t r u c t u r a l and image consistency can a l l f o s t e r h a b i t u a l viewing patterns by c o n t r i b u t i n g t o v an anchor's p r e d i c t a b i l i t y . A r o u t i n e presence and a s t a b l e ' r e l a t i o n s h i p ' are p s y c h o l o g i c a l l y r e l a x i n g • because they are founded . on h a b i t u a l behaviours and appearances (Giddens, 1990) . "At the end of the day", s t a t e d one anchor, "I may be a comfort f a c t o r f o r a l o t of viewers." Viewing h a b i t s that are b u i l t on c o n s i s t e n t perceptions of an anchor's image serve to b o l s t e r the p s y c h o l o g i c a l s e c u r i t y of audience • .members. ;:The .^capacity to t r u s t anchors and the a u t h e n t i c i t y of the news they ..deliver depends on the confidence that i s nurtured through image s t a b i l i t y . In other words, there i s a high degree of interdependence between r e l i a b i l i t y , p s y c h o l o g i c a l s e c u r i t y and the c a p a c i t y to t r u s t ( i b i d ) . I t i s understandable why viewers react as they do to s u b s t a n t i a l changes i n an anchor's persona. Not o n l y i s t h e i r 99 sense of s e c u r i t y shattered but t h e i r c a p a c i t y t o t r u s t i s te m p o r a r i l y shaken. Changes i n the i d e n t i t y of an anchor - some component of image or who they a c t u a l l y are - i s a l s o d i s r u p t i v e t o viewer i d e n t i t y since t h e i r s e l f - d e f i n i t i o n i s p a r t i a l l y d e f i n e d by the anchor they repeatedly watch. I t was e s t a b l i s h e d e a r l y on i n t h i s t h e s i s that watching TV news i s a " r e f l e x i v e p r o j e c t " (Giddens, 1990: 124; Bourdieu, 1984: 466). Just as an anchor's d i s t i n c t c r e d i b i l i t y r e f l e c t s back to l o y a l viewers t h e i r own d i s t i n c t i v e s e n s i b i i i t i e s , / p e r c e p t i o n s of an anchor's con s i s t e n c y i s a l s o r e f l e x i v e . The image c o n t i n u i t y of a favoured anchor i s c e n t r a l to viewers' f e e l i n g s of t h e i r own c o n t i n u i t y and c a p a c i t y to be trustworthy. I t f o l l o w s that breaks i n image consistency are p o i n t s of equal v u l n e r a b i l i t y f o r s t a t i o n s and audiences. Consistent image r e p r e s e n t a t i o n i s not on l y c r i t i c a l to the c u l t i v a t i o n and maintenance of viewer t r u s t i n a s t a t i o n , but a l s o b o l s t e r s viewer perceptions of t h e i r own p s y c h o l o g i c a l substance. Audience l o y a l t y to newscasts and s t a t i o n s i s no d i f f e r e n t than consumer t r u s t i n - the q u a l i t y -of products w i t h d i s t i n g u i s h e d brand names and -logos. .Nike, Coke .and Tide are a l l brand name products w i t h i d e n t i f y i n g symbols that over time have become a s s o c i a t e d w i t h e x c e l l e n c e . A s t a t i o n ' s programming i s the product of the s t a t i o n and the brand name i s the s t r i n g of l e t t e r s used f o r s t a t i o n i d e n t i f i c a t i o n (eg. CFCN or CKSA). The value of news anchors, from t h i s p e r s p e c t i v e , i s t h e i r c a p a c i t y to serve as the l i v i n g logos of not only t h e i r 100 newscasts but a l s o t h e i r s t a t i o n s . One producer didn't h e s i t a t e to s t a t e that anchors are "the walking, l i v i n g , b r e a t h i n g logo and the walking l i v i n g b reathing brand as w e l l of the whole TV s t a t i o n . " One anchor described himself as a logo while suggesting the perceptual connection he hopes viewers make when they see him i n the s t r e e t s and on h i s show. He s a i d the a n c h o r - s t a t i o n l i n k depends on a persona that i s u s u a l l y , i f not always, the same. I'm almost a brand name i s what I am. You know, I'm i d e n t i f i e d w i t h [ s t a t i o n ' c a l l l e t t e r s ] and s p e c i f i c a l l y w i t h my newscast. So j u s t l i k e a logo, your logo i s always the same and you don't change your logo. I'm k i n d of a logo that you put up there and when people see me they h o p e f u l l y t h i n k [ s t a t i o n c a l l l e t t e r s ] . I f anchors are to f u n c t i o n as e f f e c t i v e l i v i n g logos the " b u r e a u c r a t i z a t i o n " of t h e i r " s p i r i t " i s e s s e n t i a l (Goffman, [1959] 1973: 56). P r e d i c t a b l e and c o n t i n u a l expressive performances can symbolize anchor t r u s t w o r t h i n e s s and a q u a l i t y newscast and s t a t i o n . While there i s no d e f i n i t i v e answer to the question of how long i t takes f o r anchors to become synonymous w i t h the c a l l l e t t e r s of a s t a t i o n , several-respondents s a i d , i t takes many years. The time i t takes viewers t o make that a n c h o r - s t a t i o n l i n k may be c l o s e l y t i e d to the time i t takes f o r i l l u s o r y r e l a t i o n s h i p s between viewers and anchors to blossom. I f t h i s i s the case, i t only makes sense f o r s t a t i o n s t o s t a r t anchors when they are young. This gives time f o r these necessary processes to develop and f o r both s t a t i o n s and a d v e r t i s e r s t o reap the f i n a n c i a l b e n e f i t s from the l o y a l f o l l o w i n g s that 101 anchors develop. A news d i r e c t o r explained: You've got t o nurture young people on the way up because p a r t of the success i n anchors i s the e q u i t y you b u i l d i n them. So you i d e n t i f y those who can do i t , you s t a r t them young, and b u i l d them up and h o p e f u l l y t h e y ' l l s t a y w i t h you and the audience can watch that person grow up. The most e f f e c t i v e approach f o r l o c a l s t a t i o n s l i k e the ones s t u d i e d i s to nurture and r e t a i n a s t a b l e of anchors that r e f l e c t the t a s t e s and values of m u l t i p l e generations. This would appease both the younger and o l d e r segments of the i n t e r c a s t audience on the basis>of viewer i d e n t i f i c a t i o n w i t h an anchor's age and the dominant expressive s t y l e considered t r u s t w o r t h y by people of that same generation. While one set of anchors connects w i t h an e s t a b l i s h e d f o l l o w i n g , the younger group who i s newer to the audience works on f i r s t impressions and becoming a comfort f a c t o r i n the d a i l y l i v e s of the audience. This approach maximizes the chance of a c o n t i n u a l c y c l e of r e l a t i o n s h i p development. Even f o r viewers who do not i d e n t i f y w i t h age r e l a t e d expressive v a r i a b l e s , the r e p r e s e n t a t i o n of d i f f e r e n t generations provides viewers w i t h .more expressive combinations of embodied t r u s t w o r t h i n e s s to i d e n t i f y ..with. The sheer q u a n t i t y of anchors that a l o c a l s t a t i o n can accommodate d i c t a t e s the number of reference p o i n t s f o r viewer r e f l e x i v i t y and a n c h o r - s t a t i o n connections. I t i s a l s o an i n d i c a t i o n of the extent to which a s t a t i o n i s v u l n e r a b l e i n the face of s i g n i f i c a n t image d i s r u p t i o n s . As the popular saying goes, " i t i s never a good idea to have a l l of your eggs i n one basket". 102 The more pockets of viewer l o y a l t y that a s t a t i o n has t i e d up.in v a r i o u s anchors, the l e s s viewers there are t o p o t e n t i a l l y l o s e i f one makes a ' f a t a l ' image mistake, q u i t s or gets f i r e d . Of course the number of anchors that a s t a t i o n can accommodate i s l i m i t e d by the number of newscasts i t produces and t h e . f i n a n c i a l resources of the s t a t i o n . While i t i s easy to conceptualize the l i n k between anchor and newscast l o y a l t y , i t may be more- d i f f i c u l t t o accept the p r o p o s i t i o n that newscast a n d - s t a t i o n loyalty.^are. synonymous . C e r t a i n l y , there i s no guarantee of t h i s . But i n a multichannel marketplace w i t h syndicated programs a v a i l a b l e on both l o c a l and cable s t a t i o n s , i t i s c r i t i c a l that viewers become aware of a n c h o r - s t a t i o n connections. Audience awareness of these l o c a l l i n k s at l e a s t f a c i l i t a t e s the p o s s i b i l i t y of l o y a l t y t r a n s f e r e n c e . One respondent s a i d i t - b e s t , and w i t h enthusiasm no l e s s : " I t ' s the best that we can hope f o r ... anchors are the s t a r s and there's a l o t r i d i n g on them." 103 SUMMARY AND CONCLUSIONS The purpose of t h i s t h e s i s was to come to an understanding of how t e l e v i s i o n news anchors e s t a b l i s h t r u s t . C r e d i b i l i t y -c u l t i v a t i o n was examined through i t s r e l a t i o n s h i p t o s t a t i o n i d e n t i t y and audience c o n s t r u c t i o n . ' Data were c o l l e c t e d through open-focused i n t e r v i e w s w i t h news anchors, make-up a r t i s t s , producers and d i r e c t o r s who work f o r -three s t a t i o n s i n a major Canadian t e l e v i s i o n market .-i^Whilei'the i n t e r v i e w - m a t e r i a l served as the d r i v i n g force i n the s t r u c t u r i n g of t h i s t h e s i s , the t h e o r e t i c a l c o n t r i b u t i o n s of Er v i n g Goffman (1967; 1969; 1971; [1959] 1973), Joshua Meyrowitz (1985; 1994), E r i c s o n , Baranek and Chan (1987; 1989; 1991) and Anthony Giddens (1990) were inc o r p o r a t e d i n t o the o v e r a l l a n a l y s i s . Goffman's work provided key i n s i g h t s i n t o the s t r u c t u r e of appearances and the ' s t r a t e g i c • s t a g i n g ' that i s r e q u i r e d f o r the e f f e c t i v e management of audience impressions. Of p a r t i c u l a r relevance was h i s understanding of s o c i a l r o l e s i n oc c u p a t i o n a l s e t t i n g s and how i n s t i t u t i o n a l . i d e n t i t i e s ,are cons t r u c t e d l a r g e l y through the staged • •'performances of . t h e i r p u b l i c r e p r e s e n t a t i v e s . His c l a i m that s t r a t e g i c human expression p l a y s a p i v o t a l r o l e i n the c o n t r o l of perceptions c o n t r i b u t e d g r e a t l y t o my p o s i t i o n i n g of anchors i n r e l a t i o n t o t h e i r audience and w i t h i n t h e i r o r g a n i z a t i o n a l s e t t i n g . There i s no performance without a stage. The lawyer's courtroom and p h y s i c i a n ' s o f f i c e are j u s t some examples of the 104 s e t t i n g s that serve as occupational platforms f o r image c o n s t r u c t i o n . The news anchor's p l a t f o r m i s the TV screen - the entertainment format and the t e l e v i s i o n medium. L i k e a l l occ u p a t i o n a l stages, the anchor's i s d e c i s i v e i n determining how human expressions are t r a n s m i t t e d and the types of expressions that are featured. The w r i t i n g s of Meyrowitz and E r i c s o n et a l provided c r i t i c a l i n s i g h t s i n t o how medium and format c o n s i d e r a t i o n s shape s t a g i n g p o s s i b i l i t i e s .and performance requirements. The f i n a l core t h e o r e t i c a l p e r s p e c t i v e was provided by Giddens who helped to address the f o l l o w i n g question: Why i s i t important f o r anchors to e s t a b l i s h t r u s t i n the f i r s t place? Anchors, l i k e lawyers, insurance agents and p h y s i c i a n s , f r o n t an expert system that r e q u i r e s p u b l i c t r u s t f o r continued e x i s t e n c e . The s u r v i v a l of the mass media news production system, l i k e the medical and-legal establishments and insurance i n s t i t u t i o n s , depends on t r u s t vested i n i t s competence and i n the a u t h e n t i c i t y of the knowledge i t dispenses. Trust needs, according t o Giddens, are- -not'-.runidirectional,. ,:. While expert systems depend on p u b l i c t r u s t , viewers need *to t r u s t TV news j u s t as c l i e n t s and p a t i e n t s need to t r u s t the accuracy of medical and l e g a l i n f ormation. Giddens a l s o p o s i t s that the symbiotic t r u s t needs of expert systems and l a y i n d i v i d u a l s are met , through the trust w o r t h y appearances of those who appear at the 'access p o i n t s ' of i n s t i t u t i o n s . This supported my c l a i m that the 105 complementary t r u s t needs of s t a t i o n s and viewers are s e r v i c e d by anchors who d i s p l a y signs of t r u s t at TV's 'access p o i n t ' , or the anchor's performance pla t f o r m . Anchors who have c u l t i v a t e d a t r u s t w o r t h y persona are the key to 'anchoring' t r u s t r e l a t i o n s h i p s between s t a t i o n s and viewers. They a l s o anchor t r u s t i n the other p l a y e r s who appear i n news productions. I have argued throughout t h i s t h e s i s that notions of 'news ex c e l l e n c e ' as defined by those who. work i n , the. i n d u s t r y do not form the b a s i s upon which viewer .perceptions of news a u t h e n t i c i t y are p r i m a r i l y based. While I have acknowledged that news content c e r t a i n l y c o n t r i b u t e s to the o v e r a l l appearance of TV news productions, my stance has been that anchor t r u s t w o r t h i n e s s i s the d e c i s i v e f a c t o r i n determining audience t r u s t i n t h e i r newscasts. Their power of persuasion i s a t t r i b u t e d to t h e i r c a p a c i t y t o embody d i s t i n c t i o n and c r e d i b i l i t y and t o p r o j e c t those q u a l i t i e s on TV. C r e d i b i l i t y c u l t i v a t i o n was examined through the process of dec o n s t r u c t i n g the news anchor persona. Various components of o n - a i r image were analysed; according :to respondent accounts of what c o n s t i t u t e s legitimate 1.and ' f a t a l ' expression. F a c i a l appearance, b o d i l y decoration, ways of i n t e r a c t i n g , speaking and understanding were the key expressive elements assessed. Data suggested that anchors who look and act l i k e ' r e a l ' people are most l i k e l y t o be perceived by viewers as b e l i e v a b l e . Real l o o k i n g anchors were described as those w i t h a down-t o - e a r t h , everyday f a c i a l appearance and conserva t i v e 106 ornamentation reminiscent of executives or bankers. Real looks not o n l y d i s t i n g u i s h anchors from e n t e r t a i n e r s featured i n other genres, they are a l s o thought to minimize the p o s s i b i l i t y of t h r e a t e n i n g those i n the audience. Real a c t i n g anchors were c h a r a c t e r i z e d by t h e i r c a p a c i t y to c u l t i v a t e the i l l u s i o n of a u t h e n t i c face-to-face i n t e r a c t i o n and conversation w i t h viewers. T h e i r a b i l i t y to pretend the sharing of i n t i m a t e t a l e s i n the company of f r i e n d s compensates ,f.or-.medium l i m i t a t i o n s which prevent t h i s from actually-happening. The./final expressive element s t u d i e d was the appearance of j o u r n a l i s t i c savvy. The c o n s t r u c t i o n of t h i s image was deemed c r i t i c a l f o r the purpose of i n c l u d i n g viewers i n news shows and convincing them of a c t u a l substance beneath anchors' h a i r and c l o t h e s . I c l a i m that these signs of anchor t r u s t are n e i t h e r absolute nor o b j e c t i v e and assessments of t r u s t w o r t h i n e s s are u l t i m a t e l y determined by viewer perceptions. What i s evident, though, i n the news market s t u d i e d i s that c r e d i b i l i t y i s c u l t i v a t e d through the appearance of anchor a c c e s s i b i l i t y . This p r e f e r r e d s t y l e i s not only'compatible-.with ,..the; i n f o r m a t i o n a l world shared by anchors and viewers,,ait a l s o ^ encourages audience l o y a l t y through i m p l i c i t i n v i t a t i o n s to p e r s o n a l l y i d e n t i f y w i t h non-threatening announcers. Those who look and act l i k e t y p i c a l c i t i z e n s are more l i k e l y to be t r u s t e d because they seem f a m i l i a r , on some l e v e l , to the average 'mortal' tuning i n . C r e d i b l e anchors share many s i m i l a r i t i e s , but I maintain that no two image elements are ever i d e n t i c a l or e q u a l l y 107 a c c e s s i b l e . This v a r i a t i o n i s what c o n t r i b u t e s to anchor and s t a t i o n uniqueness. I argue that viewer i d e n t i f i c a t i o n w i t h a p a r t i c u l a r anchor i s a r e f l e x i v e a c t i v i t y based on a 'sense' of connection w i t h that anchor's unique brand of d i s t i n c t c r e d i b i l i t y . In other words, e f f e c t i v e anchors provide viewers w i t h a " s o c i a l o r i e n t a t i o n " (Bourdieu, 1984) to.themselves by r e f l e c t i n g back to them t h e i r own d i s t i n c t i v e t a s t e s and values. I have developed the ' ref lexive.:.elemen.tal.^ anchor .image system t o provide insights^into','how ' i t is:.-.possible f o r anchors to accommodate the i n d i v i d u a l r e f l e x i v i t y needs of a l a r g e viewing audience. This system i s dynamic and f l e x i b l e and accounts f o r the m u l t i f a c e t e d nature of r e f l e x i v e r e l a t i o n s h i p s , p e r c e p t u a l tendencies and anchor image pu z z l e s . While each anchor presents viewers w i t h a unique combination, o f - a u t h e n t i c and c u l t i v a t e d expressive elements, viewers are sure t o p e r c e i v e v a r i o u s • combinations of these . q u a l i t i e s : as :.they. experience ..any given element of an anchor's persona. While viewers' unique p e r c e p t u a l paths are d r i v e n b y ' t h e i r d i s t i n c t i v e s e n s i b i l i t i e s , these paths can lead to a -..^ common r..dest±nat.ion:u:which i s . , t h e i r d e s i r e t o watch the same -'.anchor repeatedly .on t e l e v i s i o n . E f f e c t i v e anchors are those who maximize t h i s complex r e l a t i o n a l web's p o t e n t i a l . Another key to the c u l t i v a t i o n of c r e d i b i l i t y i s s a t i s f y i n g viewers' c o n t i n u i t y needs. I contend that t h i s i s j u s t as c r i t i c a l as a c c e s s i b l e appearances and meeting viewers' r e f l e x i v i t y needs. I have argued that image consistency at the 108 elemental and i n d i v i d u a l l e v e l s can provide viewers w i t h a sense of c o n t i n u i t y while i n s t i l l i n g order i n t o an otherwise c h a o t i c and u n c e r t a i n world. While t h i s c o n t i n u i t y f a c t o r together w i t h a c c e s s i b l e appearances and r e f l e x i v e p o t e n t i a l f u n c t i o n s t o meet the t r u s t needs of viewers, i t a l s o meets those of t h e s t a t i o n by d e f i n i n g i t as trustworthy i n the audience psyche. The arguments and evidence presented .in t h i s t h e s i s might leave readers w i t h the' impression -that.-Vcredibility c u l t i v a t i o n i s an 'expressive burden' f o r '-anchors. I t r e q u i r e s t h e i r . e n t r y i n t o a complex system of expressive c o n t r o l which i s e x e r c i s e d through c o n s t r a i n t and expectation. I n s t i t u t i o n a l needs f o r t r u s t and an audience, the s p e c i f i c c o n s t r a i n t s imposed by the medium, entertainment format and news genre, a l l c o n t r i b u t e to the expressive standards which must be adhered t o . The -image demands are i n t e n s i f i e d when viewer r e f l e x i v i t y , c o n t i n u i t y and t r u s t needs are incorporated i n t o an ./already r i g i d .performance regimen. The confluence of these components of e x p e c t a t i o n and c o n s t r a i n t ensure that s t a t i o n and viewer i d e n t i t y i s embodied and p r o j e c t e d onto the screen.' ../But "does.;?bearing:..the .burden of t r u s t w o r t h y expression •mean-^ th'at'-Van'chor.srj-muBt./JVassume. the r o l e of the dead man" (Foucault, 1979: 143)? Throughout t h i s t h e s i s I have argued.that there i s room on the performance p l a t f o r m f o r anchor d i s t i n c t i v e n e s s . The anchor's authentic v o i c e i s not c a n c e l l e d out under the weight of expressive oppression. I t i s i n t e g r a l to the c o n s t r u c t i o n of t r u s t and a necessary r e f l e c t i o n of both s t a t i o n and viewer 109 uniqueness. While the range of sanctioned p o s s i b i l i t i e s f o r aut h e n t i c d i s t i n c t i o n i s l i m i t e d , i t does e x i s t . And not a l l anchor v a r i a t i o n s are minor t w i s t s on performance p r e s c r i p t i o n s . I remind the reader that the boundaries that separate l e g i t i m a t e and ' f a t a l ' expression are not f i x e d . They are dynamic and f l e x i b l e and can be transgressed. The oppressive force w i t h the most 'give' provides the window"of opportunity f o r anchors to c l a i m . i l l e g i t i m a t e signs of t h e i r i n d i v i d u a l i t y . Viewers , ; a r e . a - f e r t i l e , - t e s t i n g ground f o r the acceptance of ' f a t a l ' expressions since t h e i r readiness f o r new signs of t r u s t cannot be f u l l y a n t i c i p a t e d . Anchors are granted expressive c o n t r o l i f r a t i n g s increase or remain at l e a s t s t a b l e . Viewer phone c a l l s and l e t t e r s are other stamps of acceptance or d i s a p p r o v a l . I f there i s minimal negative feedback or p o s i t i v e audience response, there w i l l be repeated performance'chances f o r • t h o s e who don't- completely conform to a l l of the va r i o u s image requirements. I t i s c r i t i c a l to -acknowledge that an anchor's boundary-breaking a u t h e n t i c i t y can -'make .mass- • r e p l i c a t i o n of. t h e i r i n n ovations p o s s i b l e . This -'does not /e l i m i n a t e the system of expressive c o n t r o l f o r f o l l o w e r s , but modifies the r u l e s t o be broken. What I am suggesting here i s that c r e d i b i l i t y c u l t i v a t i o n at the elemental l e v e l i s c h a r a c t e r i z e d by an e v o l u t i o n a r y c y c l e of changing expectations that are prompted by boundary-breaking anchors who negotiate t h e i r ' f a t a l ' image w i t h the audience. 110 The e v o l u t i o n a r y process j u s t described i s not i n s u l a r . I t i s p a r t and p a r c e l of current and f u t u r e t r a n s i t i o n s i n the dominant expressive s t y l e s of anchors. I n d i v i d u a l t r a n s g r e s s o r s not o n l y a l t e r expectations w i t h respect to s p e c i f i c components of: image, t h e i r c o l l e c t i v e innovations can a l s o c o n t r i b u t e t o changes i n dominant modes of expression. R e c e p t i v i t y t o , and the demand f o r , a new anchor model i s c e r t a i n l y f a c i l i t a t e d by other f o r c e s . I have s t a t e d .. elsewhere ...that, ..the medium of t e l e v i s i o n has been instrumental .in ...the -i .birth of the new dominant mode of expression. I have a l s o suggested t h a t the current e g a l i t a r i a n t h r u s t i s an appropriate f i t w i t h anchors' e x p e r t - g e n e r a l i s t a u t h o r i t y , but t h i s f i t does not ensure i t s continued s u r v i v a l . I t i s p o s s i b l e that staged a c c e s s i b i l i t y w i l l become subject to the same intense s c r u t i n y .as the former dominant h i e r a r c h i c a l model. D i s t r u s t of the f r i e n d l y facade may a r i s e from any:number of-unforeseen c u l t u r a l changes. The t r a n s i t i o n between dominant s t y l e s i s not abrupt. As "one model enters'-the e a r l y phase of i t s d e c l i n e , another begins i t s ascent i n the system. This leaves room on a s t a t i o n ' s performance p l a t f o r m f o r .trustworthy^anchors at ,both ends of the spectrum. The t r a n s i t i o n i s a l s o eased by 'hybrid' anchors who embody the q u a l i t i e s of both s t y l e s of t r u s t . The co-presence of these v a r i o u s modes of expression i s f u n c t i o n a l . I t accommodates the growth and death of dominant models while f a c i l i t a t i n g i n e v i t a b l e viewer l o y a l t y t r a n s i t i o n s . S t a t i o n s who d i s p l a y the e v o l u t i o n a r y c y c l e r e t a i n o l d s t y l e anchor-I l l viewer r e l a t i o n s h i p s u n t i l t h e i r demise while promoting the formation of 'hybrid' a l l i a n c e s and new s t y l e f r i e n d s h i p s . I t i s c r i t i c a l to note that when dominant expressive s t y l e s are i n t r a n s i t i o n and when ' f a t a l ' boundaries are overstepped, audience and s t a t i o n i d e n t i t i e s a l s o undergo s u b t l e t ransformations. The s p e c i f i c f i n d i n g s presented i n t h i s t h e s i s are i n no • way meant to be a general statement about the c u l t i v a t i o n of c r e d i b i l i t y 'at l a r g e ' . Notions of what c o n s t i t u t e s news anchor t r u s t w o r t h i n e s s at the elemental ; jand..:stylis.tic l e v e l s are r e s t r i c t e d to the l o c a l t e l e v i s i o n market where the e m p i r i c a l data f o r t h i s t h e s i s were c o l l e c t e d . A d d i t i o n a l research would be necessary t o a s c e r t a i n the s i m i l a r i t i e s and d i f f e r e n c e s between regions and nations, although the i n s i g h t s I have o f f e r e d c ould c e r t a i n l y f a c i l i t a t e these comparisons. The conclusions I have presented could a l s o serve as a :'guiding'framework 'for c r e d i b i l i t y research i n other-occupational s e t t i n g s . A l l o r g a n i z a t i o n a l r e p r e s e n t a t i v e s are subject to t h e i r own systems of expressive c o n t r o l which .are shaped by the c o n s t r a i n t s and expectations imposed by t h e i r r e s p e c t i v e * audiences and expert establishments . .Ksl^- .a lspL:Surmise that, '-trust anchors' of a l l kinds are part and p a r c e l of e v o l u t i o n a r y c y c l e s as both c a p t i v e s and c r e a t o r s of ' f a t a l ' boundaries and l e g i t i m a t e expressions. These processes as they apply t o other p r o f e s s i o n s are r i p e f o r discovery. While data gathered i n o r g a n i z a t i o n a l s e t t i n g s i s c r i t i c a l to understanding c r e d i b i l i t y c u l t i v a t i o n , systematic audience 112 research would o f f e r key i n s i g h t s from a d i f f e r e n t p e r s p e c t i v e . Uncovering the perceptual tendencies of c l i e n t s , consumers and t e l e v i s i o n viewers would provide balance to any conclusions about the b a s i s of t h e i r t r u s t r e l a t i o n s h i p s w i t h anchors or other i n s t i t u t i o n a l r e p r e s e n t a t i v e s . Such research might a l s o r e v e a l a d d i t i o n a l image elements that c o n t r i b u t e to the t r u s t equation. Gender, f o r example,-was not featured i n t h i s t h e s i s but could be i d e n t i f i e d by .viewers - as ,a ,key ^ component i n t h e i r r e f l e x i v e r e l a t i o n s h i p s with—announcers. /,The ^.extent t o .which viewers make an c h o r - s t a t i o n connections could a l s o be examined. 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