What does NBC’s “Great News” mean for female journalists?

Courtesy of Comcast Corporate

Besides the occasional Seinfeld episode, I really don’t watch a whole lot of sitcoms, and I definitely don’t keep up with the constant stream of new shows on the air.

That’s why it came as a surprise to me when I learned that NBC’s newest comedy, Great News, premiered on April 25.

The show revolves around a young female news producer named Katie, played by Briga Heelan, whose work life takes a turn when her boss hires her mother as a station intern.

It was created by 30 Rock writer Tracey Wigfield and lists Tina Fey as an executive producer, so it couldn’t be all that bad…right?

Now, I haven’t watched the premiere yet, so I’m as new to this as you are. However, I’m always skeptical about the portrayal of female journalists in Hollywood, and this show’s premiere provides a really good opportunity to analyze it over the years.

(Hint: It’s not always pretty.)

I’ll start with a classic: The Mary Tyler Moore Show.

Mary Richards, played by the late Mary Tyler Moore, is my icon. Not only is she an energetic ball of feminism, she’s a strong, rock star journalist, and I’m all about it.

She even leaves her fiancee to be a free and independent woman. You go girl.

But that was years ago. The turn of the century was when things really started to take a turn.

Enter Gilmore Girls and Rory Gilmore, played by Alexis Bledel.

Ah, Rory. You’re the character I love to hate.

I had some high hopes for young Rory toward the beginning of the show. She seemed ambitious. A go-getter, even.

Toward the end, she basically started doing everything a journalist should never do. She slept with a source. She fell asleep during an interview with a source. She didn’t prepare for her job interviews.


Looking for more poor depictions of female journalists? Try looking out for Zoe (played by Kate Mara) in House of Cards, or maybe keep an eye out for Amy (played by Amy Schumer) in Trainwreck. 

Now, I’m not saying that every modern depiction of female journalists is terrible.

One of my favorite movies is Spotlight, based on the true story of The Boston Globe’s inquiry into the Catholic Church’s sex-abuse scandal. Rachel McAdams plays Sacha Pfeiffer, and she KILLS IT.

I know that the producers had to work within the confines of a true story; however, I love the movie because they chose to highlight the important role of a female journalist in uncovering an extremely large piece of investigative journalism.

Keeping on the subject of media gender disparity, positive portrayals of female journalists are incredibly important.

And, with Tina Fey at the helm of Great News, I have some hope that Katie’s portrayal will be free from the modern Hollywood trope of over-sexualized, love-hungry women working in the news industry.

I guess I have to watch it to find out.

Will you be tuning in to Great News? I’d love to hear what you think.

One thought on “What does NBC’s “Great News” mean for female journalists?”

  1. Very entertaining post. It would have been stronger if you had been able to watch the new show, though. 2 pts

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