Crit­i­cal eye on women in the news

Herald Sun - Switched On - - Guide - COLIN VICK­ERY

MAG­GIE Tab­berer is on a mis­sion. The 71-year-old is out to lift the lid on sex­ism in news and cur­rent af­fairs.

Her lat­est TV spe­cial, Mag­gie with Women of News fo­cuses on three of TV’s best known fe­male news and cur­rent af­fairs pre­sen­ters — Tracy Grimshaw, Geral­dine Doogue and Tracey Spicer— and the pres­sures they face on and off the screen.

Tab­berer calls for more fe­male TV news ex­ec­u­tives to com­bat what she sees as en­trenched sex­ism in tele­vi­sion news­rooms.

‘‘Grimshaw, Doogue and Spicer are unan­i­mous more fe­male TV news ex­ec­u­tives will help speed the change,’’ Tab­berer says.

‘‘There’s not as much change as there should be. Age and at­trac­tive­ness are still a very big in­flu­ence on their (fe­male news pre­sen­ters) ca­reers.’’

Get­ting the usu­ally ret­i­cent Grimshaw to talk is quite a coup for Tab­berer. The 48-year-old A Cur­rent Af­fair pre­sen­ter re­veals her pride in still be­ing able to host a prime-time cur­rent af­fairs show (‘‘when I first started you were old at 30 and out by 40’’), and opens up about her love life (‘‘I’ve been on the verge of get­ting mar­ried once or twice but no­body’s known’’).

Spicer talks about her con­tro­ver­sial sack­ing by Chan­nel 10 in 2006, say­ing ‘‘It was such a shock’’, and re­veals her thoughts of end­ing her mother’s life when she was slowly dy­ing from can­cer.

‘‘I went over to her with the pil­low and thought I could do it,’’ Spicer says.

Doogue re­veals the stresses of be­ing a mother and step­mother af­ter leav­ing her first mar­riage to set up house with ABC ex­ec­u­tive Ian Car­roll (the pair are now mar­ried).

‘‘I’ve been around so long that I think most of those girls have grown up with me,’’ Tab­berer says, ex­plain­ing her suc­cess at get­ting the women to talk.

‘‘I’ve had sim­i­lar ex­pe­ri­ences and I’d like to think they feel comfortable with me and trust me.’’

Tab­berer’s ca­reer longevity would have to be in­spir­ing for her in­ter­vie­wees.

An award-winning model, the face of TV shows in­clud­ing Beauty & the Beast, Mag­gie, and The Home Show, two-time Gold Lo­gie win­ner, a fash­ion colum­nist and fash­ion ed­i­tor for the Aus­tralian Women’s Weekly and the brains be­hind the Mag­gie T range of women’s cloth­ing are just some of her ac­com­plish­ments.

Mis­sion: Mag­gie Tab­berer ven­tures into the TV news­room.

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