Wednesday, March 16, 2016

The News Sorority - Shelia Weller

The News Sorority
Title: The News Sorority: Diane Sawyer, Katie Couric, Christiane Amanpour, and the (Ongoing, Imperfect, Complicated) Triumph of Women in TV News
Author: Shelia Weller
Publication Date: 9/30/14
Pages: 496
Genre: Nonfiction
How I Found It: I can't remember
Date Completed: 2/9/16

Summary: The glass ceiling in television news has not cracked easily. Weller explores the lives and careers of three women who have faced it head on and achieved more than many of their compatriots.

What I Thought: This was an absolutely fascinating book. While I knew Sawyer, Couric, and Amanpour by name and their work to a point, I had little idea of the backstories which led them to their success. Weller, in a way, offers three mini-biographies of these women. She discusses the journey each took to success in television news, including the hurdles they did and do face.

I know very little about the journalism and television industries. Obviously, we see the results of these industries on a daily basis, but I know very little about what goes on behind the scenes and what it takes to become a success therein. Weller does a good job of filling in those informational gaps for those of us unfamiliar with the process. Still, I think even those deeply involved in the fields would not find the content too simplified. It's interesting and engaging.

I really enjoyed learning about each of these women. They have truly achieved incredible things, especially when you realize that misogyny is still very much alive and well in their line of work. Weller gives a very balanced perspective of each woman, in my opinion. She does not shy away from negative comments or criticisms of the women. She shares stories of their cutthroat actions and coworker incompatibilities alongside stories of their generosity and vulnerabilities. Weller makes it clear that these women did not rise to the top out of sheer talent and luck; they fought their way there. Yes, they are talented and received some of the right opportunities at the right time, but they worked hard to get where they are. 

It was interesting to see a more balanced, human view of these women. It's so easy to think of them as the "girls next door" or wizened aunts who deliver our news. In reality, though, they are women like the rest of us: complex, enduring, indefatigable, and full of dreams both fulfilled and deferred. Reading about them was fascinating and definitely whet my appetite for more information regarding both the industry and the persevering women working within it. 

Rating: ★★★★☆

Will I Re-Read: Doubtful, but I'd like to read more about this subject

A Reduced Review: Turns out, those cheery "girls next door" delivering the news have had to fight their way to the top - and the journey is worth reading about. 

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