“And I’d Like To Be King of Australia”
When I heard the news that Diane Sawyer would be taking over for Charles Gibson as anchor of ABC “World News” it reminded me of something I heard 30 years ago. My word, how times have changed. More on that in a moment.
Diane Sawyer is a veteran with ABC News and very, very good at what she does. If anyone deserves the evening anchor job, she does. If you’re keeping track, that makes two of the three network evening anchors FEMALES. Diane Sawyer at ABC, and Katie Couric at CBS. Poor Brian Williams at NBC. He might be feeling a little like Ron Burgundy right now. As the movie Anchorman puts it, Burgundy worked “in an age when only men were allowed to read the news.” “It is anchorMAN, not anchorlady.” ” (Ron Burgundy) What are your hopes, your dreams, your passions? (Veronica Corningstone) To be the first female anchor. (Burgundy) And I’d like to be the King of Australia.”
Sounds absurd today doesn’t it? But when I began in this business 30 years ago, there were plenty of Ron Burgundys in newsrooms. I know. I worked in one. It was still a male dominated industry. There was only one female in our small news department. And the news director reportedly told her she would never make it in this business. NEVER! Why? One reason. She was a woman. “You’ll never last here girl.” Boy, was he ever right. She didn’t last there. After jobs in Portland, LA, and Chicago, she landed a job in New York City. On the Today Show. You’ve probably seen her. Ann Curry. As in “Matt, Meredith, ANN and Al.” I wonder whatever happened to that news director? Maybe he became the King of Australia.