Giggles can harm credibility

ABC’s World News Now anchors totally lost it over the summer, dissolving in laughter while reporting an attempted suicide. Ryan Owens and Taina Hernandez were reprimanded and later apologized on the air, but that hasn’t stopped them from cracking up about other serious stories, including terrorism, fatal floods and breast cancer, Broadcasting & Cable reports.

Admittedly, an overnight newscast can be a little looser than an evening newscast. But one key anchoring skill is knowing how to set the right tone, something that depends on the story not the time of day. It’s not uncommon for anchors get the giggles over humorous stories, but anchors who repeatedly chuckle through serious stuff undermine not only their own credibility but that of their news organizations. Thanks to YouTube and other file sharing outlets, gaffes have gone global.

“This is not good for the brand,” Andrew Tyndall, contributing B&C editor and publisher of the Tyndall Report, which analyzes television news, told B&C. “This is an example of how the new rules apply, especially when it comes to bloopers. The things that spread like wildfire are the bloopers, not excellence.”

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