News

Anchor Steam

Meet the news babes: They're serious, professional media journalists. Is it their fault they're perky and have hair that looks great even during live remotes from three-alarm blazes?

Of course not. And yet some smart aleck from San Francisco has gone and dedicated a Web page to the women of television news, a tribute based not on their journalistic training and ability to pronounce the word "Chechnya," but on the fact that they have two X chromosomes and look dynamite in a red blazer.

In explaining the why behind his "News Babe Page" (http://www.well.com/user/jeffreyp/newsbabe1.html), Jeffrey P. McManus, a Bay Area hipster and freelance journalist, describes his obsession with female TelePrompTees this way:

"I love everything about news babes--the heavily lacquered hair, the red blazers, the pearls, and especially the razor's-edge balancing act between flippant casualness and no-nonsense professionalism."

The master list features color pictures of news babes from all over the country--including a few from Phoenix. Descriptive icons give pertinent biographical details: a gold crown beside the photo indicates "a beauty pageant winner"; a tiny rain cloud denotes "news babe is actually a weather babe"; a ring denotes a married news babe ("according to her Web page bio"). Each news babe features a link to her local station's Web page. (Incidentally, a flippantly casual, albeit no-nonsense, Web site dedicated to the local news team seems to be the major qualifying factor for news babedom, beyond gender and a job as a TV journalist.)

So how do the news babes of Phoenix feel about this slightly obsessive tribute to their feminine infotainment worth? New Times' hard-hitting online reporter was the first on the scene to put the tough questions to these news babes. (All work at KNXV-TV, News 15, the only station in town with its own promotional Web site. Until New Times called, none was aware of her selection to news babedom.)

Name: Darya Folsom
Occupation: Anchorpersonage, KNXV-TV, Channel 15.
Red blazer: Yes.

Interests, as listed on KNXV's Web page: "A professional flutist, Darya is also an avid sports enthusiast."

Opinion about membership in news babedom: "I am such an uncomputer person, it's an awful thing. I still read books. . . . Sounds like a one-stop-shopping source of information for stalkers. That's really good. Now that I'm aware of it, I feel honored to take part. I think everybody knows that this business is more than journalism. We all know that. You're a journalist first, and then you're a news babe. Let's admit it. . . . But I aim not to distract, and I don't think I'm a distracting Barbie-type."

Experience with obsessive male fans: "I've gotten some letters from guys, sure, and they usually carry the precursor of, '. . . I am not a nut, but can we meet for lunch?' That kind of thing."

Turn-ons: "Really hot news stories" [laughs].
Turn-offs: "It's hard for me to find the positive side of stalkers, so I would say that's definitely a turn-off."

Name: Lori Nixon
Occupation: Weekend anchorpersonage and reporter, KNXV-TV, Channel 15.
Red blazer: Probably.

Interests, as listed on KNXV's Web page: "A gifted vocalist, Lori enjoys interacting with young people."

Opinion about membership in news babedom: "I don't know what to say. I'm just so dumfounded by it. It's almost like it's a joke. . . . Do you have the number or address?"

Experience with obsessive male fans: "Of course, there are a lot of wackos. You have to be very, very careful what you do. Obviously, I have no control over what's going on on the Internet, and certainly I haven't had any problems--up until now. But of course, it's a concern. My goodness! . . . In Albuquerque, I got a few [letters from convicts], but here I haven't gotten any love letters."

Turn-ons: "My turn-ons and turn-offs? You don't expect me to answer that question, just so you can write about it. I am not even going to touch that question. I'm trying to stay employed. [Pauses.] What did Darya tell you?"

Turn-offs: N/A

Name: Kathy Reilly
Occupation: Morning and noontime anchorpersonage, KNXV-TV, Channel 15.
Red blazer: Yes, although it looks coffee-colored in her black-and-white publicity still (pictured). "Oh, you have to have one," she explains.

Interests, as listed on KNXV's Web page: Winning Emmy awards.
Opinion about membership in news babedom: "That's nice, I guess. To be called a news babe, I guess, is flattering. But, you know, I think the journalist in me says, 'Why should that have anything to do with it?'"

Experience with obsessive male fans: "I'm not worried about that. Maybe I should be. You get some letters. Everybody gets some, but you have your little stalker file just in case something happens, so people know where to look."

Turn-ons: "Don't they do this in the Playboy centerfold thing? You know, turn-ons and turn-offs? Nah, I don't want to get sucked into that whole vortex."

Turn-offs: "Um, how about, 'inane questions'?

KEEP PHOENIX NEW TIMES FREE... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
John Whalen