The four-minute lecture given by Jennifer Livingston at WKBT-TV in La Crosse, Wisconsin, to a viewer who questioned her about her weight has gone viral and catapulted her into a national media star.
Livingston is now doing national interviews and is the current media darling in the country. She also has struck a chord by saying what the emailer wrote was bullying, which is the topic du jour today in media circles.
Her husband now says she has a thyroid problem and has difficulties in losing weight.
Ironically, every media person interviewing her on TV is razor thing. It should also be interesting if the TV outlets offering her praise now would be willing to add her to their staff. Don’t count on it.
But not everyone thinks Livingston’s rant could exactly be compared to finding a cure for cancer.
TV folks know they are in a visual medium. In fact, many media people have told Bottom Line they really didn’t think the email was much different than ones they receive on a daily basis.
“I am proud of the anchor for responding to the decidedly rude email but don’t think it warranted 5 minutes of broadcast airtime,” says Krista Klaus, who was a staffer at the Kansas City Business Journal and now hosts a business radio show on 1660 AM.
“I also think “bullying” is too strong of a word in describing the email. TV personalities get nasty-grams all the time,” adds Klaus. “They also get unwarranted, undeserved positive attention from people all day long on Facebook, email and in public. Internalizing either extreme will make a person crazy. The highs and lows are part of the job. Sorry, but I had to weigh in. No pun intended.”
Jennifer Blome (photo), a veteran anchor at KSDK in St. Louis for more than 30 years, says her station has done an extensive series on bullying and says what the emailer did was not bullying.
“She was given four minutes to what I consider a polite email and I personally don’t consider it bullying,” said Blome, who was critical of the fact that Livingston was given so much time when on most TV stations they cannot get that much time to handle topics that impact others.
“It was probably a brilliant marketing move on her station’s part because she is going to be on the ‘Today Show.”