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Dewey Decimal Challenge: Book 3 – The News Sorority: Diane Sawyer, Katie Couric, Christiane Amanpour — and the (Ongoing, Imperfect, Complicated) Triumph of Women in TV News by Sheila Weller (The 000s)

20 Jan

This week we are venturing into 070.1 territory, where we can go to find books on television news broadcasting. Let me start by saying that I have little to no knowledge regarding the history of news broadcasting on TV, and I am barely familiar with the current climate. In a previous post I mentioned my unquenchable thirst for information on current events, but, like many people, I get most of my news content online. While television is still considered an important source for news, especially for older viewers, traditional television viewing in general has been gradually declining. Television news providers have begun to transition to providing content on digital platforms in order to remain relevant. Pew Research Center reported in June 2016 that local TV news viewership was dropping and that late night TV news viewership, with the fastest decline of all three time slots (morning, early evening, and late night), had dropped twenty-two percent since 2007. With regard to national news, the morning time slot has been hit the hardest in recent years. It is a trying time to be a TV news anchor especially in a professional field that I’ve just recently learned is already considerably stressful due to the competition between a wealth of talented candidates over a few sought-after positions.

The News Sorority: Diane Sawyer, Katie Couric, Christiane Amanpour – and the (Ongoing, Imperfect, Complicated) Triumph of Women in TV News by Sheila Weller (070.1 WEL)

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In her book The News Sorority: Diane Sawyer, Katie Couric, Christiane Amanpour — and the (Ongoing, Imperfect, Complicated) Triumph of Women in TV News, Sheila Weller documents the rise of three of TV’s most accomplished female news icons – Diane Sawyer, Katie Couric, and Christiane Amanpour. Weller explores the personal and professional challenges all three women faced on the path to success, particularly the challenge of being female in a male-dominated profession. While detailing the trajectory of each woman’s life and career in depth, Weller relies heavily on insights from the friends, coworkers, and acquaintances. Weller’s thesis seems to be that Sawyer, Couric, and Amanpour were driven to push harder against sexist roadblocks due to tragic circumstances at different stages of their personal lives – the sudden death of Sawyer’s father when she was just twenty-four, the death of Couric’s first husband, and Amanpour’s unceremonious departure from her home country of Iran as a teen during the Islamic Revolution. While I do believe that these life events did contribute to each women’s tireless drive and great inner strength, Weller does not make a particularly strong case to support the singling out of these events. They are simply part of the awe-inspiring narrative of these women who prevailed despite having the cards stacked against them. It may be important to note that none of the subjects of this biography were interviewed themselves.

This selection was substantial at 436 pages (with very tiny type!), and I enjoyed every page despite there being no real in-depth analysis of the gender disparity in broadcasting. Weller is an objective biographer. She doesn’t glorify her subjects though she most certainly finds their stories inspiring. I was surprised to learn about Sawyer’s reputation in the biz as manipulative and insincere whilst still being well-respected by her colleagues. Weller draws back the curtain and reveals the cutthroat reality of television broadcasting. It’s cliché to say, but, in this business, only the strong survive, and they do so by eating the weak. For this, I take issue with the title – this is everything but a social gathering. This isn’t a sorority of sisters who champion each other behind closed doors, this is a ratings war: a battle for better interviewees, better producers, and coveted time slots. Sawyer, Couric, and Amanpour are just like their male counterparts in that respect although these woman are perhaps more deserving of prestige.

-Written by Sharlene Edwards, Senior Children’s Librarian

Click here to read past posts about Sharlene’s Dewey Decimal Challenge!

HPL Staff: 2016 Favorites

30 Dec

Another year has come to an end. Some staffers at the Hoboken Public Library share something they loved in 2016. Make sure to visit our blog to find out what we’re reading / watching / listening to in the next year.

Cheers to a wonderful 2017!

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Heidi Schwab, Emerging Technology Librarian and Program Coordinator

This holiday season I have really enjoyed the comedy program based on the Blair Tindell memoir Mozart in the Jungle: Sex, Drugs & Classical Music. This Amazon original series takes place in the world of classical music and the audience gets to experience what it is like to be part of a first-class orchestra. The music transforms you but the characters are totally down to Earth. Season 3 takes place in Venice, where we peek inside beautiful villas and amazing concert halls.  It stars Lola Kirke as a young, hungry oboist and Gael Garcia Bernal as the brilliant, exotic new maestro. Many episodes have guest appearances from real world classical music stars like Joshua Bell! 

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Aimee Harris, Head of Reference

I’ve been reading Carrie Vaughn’s Kitty Norville series since the beginning with Kitty and the Midnight Hour about a radio DJ that is a werewolf.  You may remember I mentioned it in a blog post about Halloween worthy urban fantasy awhile back. It was therefore with mixed emotions that I read the last title in the series, Kitty Saves the World.  Though I will miss Kitty’s adventures, this was an enjoyable, suspense-filled story and a fitting end to Kitty’s adventures.  Many favorite and beloved characters from previous novels return.  This is a novel that definitely pays off for fans who have stuck by Kitty as she has gone through her many adventures and finally get to find out what the vampire’s mysterious long game was all about. Marguerite Gavin, who performs the audiobook for this and others in the series, does an excellent job and her voice matched the one I’d always imagined in my mind (you can borrow if from Hoopla).  My grandmother will always read the ending of books first since if she doesn’t think the work has a good ending she won’t bother wasting time on it.  Having seen how the Kitty series ends, I can promise that the journey through the books in the series is worth your time.  Check them out from the beginning from BCCLS libraries in print or from Hoopla as audiobooks.

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Kim Iacucci, Young Adult Librarian

Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates won the 2015 National Book Award for Nonfiction. Written as a letter to his teenage son, Coates discusses his experiences and thoughts about living as an African-American male in modern America. Reading is often talked about as a way to walk in another’s shoes and to discover different perspectives on the world. This book did exactly that for me.

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Kerry Weinstein, Reference Librarian

Yes, Justin Bieber’s album Purpose (on Hoopla and CD) was released in late 2015 but try and tell me you didn’t hear Mr. Bieber on pop radio every single day in 2016! 🙂 I guiltily purchased this album on vinyl because “Sorry” is such a catchy tune. When I confessed this purchase to a vinyl-loving friend and fellow lady over 30, she admitted she bought it too. At that moment I felt less alone in the world. #LadiesOver30forBieber

Back to “Sorry”, my favorite track. My eldest niece made her bat mitzvah this past summer, and I made it my mission to learn the choreography to the song and bust the moves on the dance floor at the party. With the help of a hip-hop dance class in Jersey City and repeat viewings of the YouTube video I (mostly) succeeded. It was one of the highlights of my year. The party DJs, my family, and other guests were super impressed with me. However, my niece did not share those sentiments and said I was “weird.” But it’s difficult to win over a 13 year old who is in general mortified by your very existence. One day, when she gets older, she will appreciate that her aunt can recreate pop dance choreo.

 

 

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