Thursday, November 23, 2006

What a difference a year makes

For as long as I can remember, I spent every Thanksgiving at work. That's because television news doesn't take breaks for holidays. Even though it tends to be the one day out of the year when crime is down, the show must always go on. I spent the last 25 years in the business---most recently at an ABC Affiliate in North Carolina.

Year after year, I would be one of the ones "stuck" in the newsroom, behind the Assignment Desk, waiting for news to happen. More often than not, I would have to put on a creative thinking cap and make something happen myself. It didn't matter that I was a single mom who had to cart her child off to some other family. It didn't matter than I was a "seasoned veteran" who should've been given more respect for my years of service.

As a thank you for being forced to come in to work, management would provide a Thanksgiving meal consisting of dried turkey and other less than desirable items. And you would be forced to enjoy your thanksgiving meal with some less than desirable colleagues.

But things are different this year. I no longer have to work on Thanksgiving or any other holiday for that matter (if I choose not to). After more than 25 years in the business, I was forced to throw in the towel. Television news isn't anything like it was when I first started out as a rookie reporter. News is LESS about news these days and MORE about "showcasing" individuals or fiercely competing with other stations for the right to be #1. It doesn't seem to matter anymore if all of the facts aren't quite right in the story or if the reporter is "clueless" about the subject they're trying to report on or if managers show a total lack of sensitivity to the REAL ISSUES.

That's not a business I want to be a part of anymore. I'm sad to say that because I believe I was one of the last voices protesting in editorial meetings when managers insisted on portraying African-American male suspects in such a negative light while giving a free pass to their white male counterparts. I was one of the last voices to insist that reporters act like journalists and not like some prima donna TV stars.

So on this Thanksgiving Day, even though I'm unemployed, I can honestly say I am so thankful I don't have to leave my daughter at home alone (she's old enough now) while I go in and wait for BREAKING NEWS.

You can read more about Beverly's days in television in her book "Whatever! A Baby Boomer's Journey Into Middle Age." It's available on or through her website at

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