10 Questions with Christine Brennan

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6. Should Looks Matter?

RCS: Similarly to Kornheiser's sentiments, you wrote in Best Seat in the House, "Your appearance becomes paramount on TV. In print, the only thing that matters is what you write. You can sit in your sweats all day and no one cares what you look like. But on TV, even in the news divisions for which I work, how you look does matter."

How much should appearance matter for broadcast journalists?

Brennan: I went on in that section of the book to talk about going on PTI from a rooftop at the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics, with the wind all of a sudden kicking up and my hair going sideways. And Kornheiser says on the air, "That's okay. At least you have hair." 

I think it's just that TV is a visual medium, for men and for women.  People are looking at you, so they notice things.  I wish it were all about what you are saying on air, but that's not always the case. Why does the President wear makeup for his press conferences?  I put makeup on every time I'm going on air. Everyone does. There were times years ago that I would be rushing to get to a location for ABC News and getting ready to go on air and someone would suggest I take a minute or two to get made up because if you didn't, people wouldn't notice what you're saying, they'd only notice what you looked like. The advice I received early on was that you don't want to distract people from the words you're going to say.

By the way, that's not sexist, that's true for both men and women. That's just the way the business is, because it's so visual. So I respect that -- even though I wasn't into makeup very much in high school, so my sisters get a real kick out of that now.

10 Questions with Christine Brennan

7 / 11
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