40-year-old Christine Spiteri, the LA based reporter for the Nine Network, while on maternity leave, has been informed that her contract will not be renewed when it expires next month. Nine News head John Westacott reckons that with a name like ‘Spiteri,’ she ought to be working at SBS- and that “to make it in this game, women have to be fuckable.”
Westacott could have more truthfully said, ‘to make it in a news operation I run, women have to be sexually appealing to me.’ Makes you wonder if Westacott has a comfy ‘casting couch.’
The age of a female newsie is actually very closely related to her potential success as a competent reporter- the older she is, the more likely she is to be a great reporter.
I grew up in northeastern Ohio in the 1960s-70s, watching legendary reporter Dorothy Fuldheim on the WEWS-TV evening news. Fuldheim was a gifted interviewer and deeply thoughtful editorial commentator. She was also the very first woman in the United States to anchor her own TV news program, The One O’Clock Club.
Fuldheim was 54 in 1947 when she retired from schoolteaching and joined WEWS-TV news, 2 months before the station actually went on-air. Born in 1893, Fuldheim continued working as an on-air reporter until 1984, when she was 91. Fuldheim collapsed from a stroke while on-air and was never able to return to work. Miss Fuldheim died in Cleveland in 1989, at the age of 96.
Fuldheim was a national treasure in her lifetime. Though she worked for a single TV station in Cleveland, not one of the three national free-to-air networks, Fuldheim was recognised as a news reporter of national significance. If Dorothy Fuldheim said it on the air, you could take it to the bank.
Fuldheim’s reporting career was at its peak in her 70s and on through her 80s. Septuagenarian, grandmotherly women may not be ‘fuckable’ on the Westacott scale, but there’s no question that Fuldheim ‘made it in this game.’
At age 40, Spiteri is clearly only just getting started. Spiteri has filed papers, suing Nine News, alleging gender discrimination. Let’s hope she can prove that Westacott and Nine’s bank accounts are fuckable.
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