center for women and gender studies
logo for center for women and gender studies

FDP Colloquium - Mary Bock

Barbie is a Zombie: Women, TV Journalism, and the Rise of the One-WOMAN-Band

Wed, September 25, 2013 | BUR 214

3:30 PM - 5:00 PM

FDP Colloquium - Mary Bock

Barbie is a Zombie:

Women, TV Journalism, and the Rise of the One-WOMAN-Band


The title of this presentation is deliberately provocative, and is designed to start a conversation about women in TV news, both in front of and behind the camera.  Material for this presentation is drawn from a larger research project about video journalism that involved the collection of more than a hundred interviews and myriad field work observations over the course of three years.

Changes in the industry are pushing young journalists to acquire multi-media skills that include video production. Getting a job in television news today generally requires a person to be able to shoot, write and edit video solo.  The smaller markets, where graduates start out, are looking for “one-man-bands.”  Being able to write a news story and perform on air is not enough; today’s TV journalists are expected to be able to do it all. This should be good news for those who believe that TV news places too much emphasis on attractiveness,  for it is no longer possible to simply look good and read well; a VJ needs to understand a story inside and out in order to shoot it, produce it and bring it to air. 

This research project, however, suggests that the “Barbie Doll” ideal for female television journalists just won’t die. The unceasing demand for physical perfection has implications for the product, women in journalism, and the way the audience understands (or misunderstands) the way news is made.


Suggested Reading:

Appearance, Personality and Emotion of TV News Anchors. In: Meltzer, K. (2010) TV News Anchors and the Journalistic Tradition: How journalists adapt to Technology. NY: Lang. (Chapter Three, pp. 49-94.)


Mary Angela Bock (PhD, University of Pennsylvania) is an assistant professor of Journalism at the University of Texas at Austin. A former television journalist, her research interests include visual rhetoric and photojournalistic practice. She is the author of Video Journalism: Beyond the One-Man Band.  Bock’s work has appeared in Visual Communication Quarterly, the International Journal of Press and Politics, and the Encyclopedia of Journalism (Sage, 2009). She co-edited The Content Analysis Reader with Klaus Krippendorff. Her research focuses on photojournalistic practice in any and every context she finds.






Mary Bock, Assistant Professor in the Department of Journalism will give this talk as part of the CWGS Faculty Development Program

Bookmark and Share

  •   Map
  • Center for Women's & Gender Studies

    The University of Texas at Austin
    Burdine Hall 536
    2505 University Avenue, A4900
    Austin, Texas 78712