It’s back! The wrong-headedness of media honchos, who are betting on the out-of-date assumption that viewers don’t want to see “older” female reporters informing them of the latest news.
Five women from NYC’s popular NY1 station (which pioneered 24-hour-a-day, on-location reporting) are begging to differ. And they have moved from the fruitless “complaining” phase (an open online letter didn’t get results) to the proactive space of legal action.
They are suing parent company Charter Communications in a Manhattan federal court on the grounds that NY1 has “blatantly marginalized them and cast them aside in favor of younger women and men.”
Hold onto your hats! The women range in age from only 40 to 61. Roma Torre, Kristen Shaughnessy, Jeanine Ramirez, Vivian Lee, and Amanda Farinacci are all fixtures on the station. Folks from the five boroughs have been following them for their news updates and features for, well, forever.
Fighting for Their Rights
Torre, an Emmy winner, has been on board at NY1 since 1992, when she was the first on-air employee. She preceded white, male 50-year-old host, Pat Kiernan, who has been getting top-tier promotional treatment. He has allegedly received a very expensive studio for his broadcasts.
According to the lawsuit, Torre’s studio is both older and has fewer bells and whistles on the tech side. More importantly, she has put forth that her wages are less than 50 percent of Kiernan’s, as well as lower than other male anchors. Torre told NextTribe: “We have filed this case not only to prevent further discrimination against us, but to start the process of undoing the deep-rooted belief that older women on TV are dispensable in the hope that the next wave of female journalists will not have to face this form of mistreatment.”
Competing in the high stakes world of news media has never been a breeze for women (See Sheila Weller’s story for NextTribe). Longevity is not considered an asset by the boardroom when it comes to women. Luckily, 72-year-old Andrea Mitchell is still allowed to operate at the top of her game. A small consolation, but not enough.