In Need Of Fruit

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Needless to say, we get a lot of emails. Especially in the investigative unit. And between my colleague Gary Harper, our producers and myself, we try to eyeball every email to assess the viability of the stories that are being submitted.

Every now and again we do get an email that is off color. Or an email from someone who either really likes us or really dislikes us. But the other day an email came to our attention with a title that was hard to ignore, "Carey needs some more fruit."


The email was from a guy, who shall remain nameless, taking issue with the expression on my face in our new 3 On Your Side commercial. Normally I could care less about this sort of (constructive?) criticism. But this email got a little under my skin. I couldn't help but wonder if this was as sexist and condescending as it seemed.

Here's the email, see what you think:

Dear Gary and Carey,

You will make a good team and I look forward to your partnership making a difference in our community, the station and your careers. No doubt the message you want to project in the on-air commercials promoting Carey's addition to 3 On Your Side is confidence, competence. experience and professionalism, however what is coming across is Carey's facial expressions of sneers and frowns. A confident, competent, experienced and professional broadcaster loses little by demonstrating a sincere expression.

Gary has earned his place by being sincere and committed to achieving success. His accomplishments did not occur immediately. He had to earn his role as a problem-solver in the eyes of viewers. To pretend you are tough and a force to be respected is risky. Carey, you must earn respect. Please don't mug for the camera..

Gary, you have earned the right to be taken serious. You should mentor your new partner and help her in the challenges she will face. The one mistake you can help her avoid is allowing her to assume too much. It takes time to mature and grow into a role such as yours. If she tries to assume too much, too soon, your own credibility can suffer.

In conclusion, I do not wish to discount what Carey has accomplished already in her career. She has obviously paid her dues to obtain as much visibility as she has now. The challenge is to realize that her seasoning up to this point has only partially prepared her. She is starting again and must accept that there is still more to learn and more seasoning necessary to achieve success.

Good Luck to both of you.

So I ask you, am I taking this the wrong way?

I very much respect my colleague Gary Harper; but come on, I've been in this business for 12 years. I've covered everything from the September 11th attacks, to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan; wildfires that devastated entire neighborhoods to local, state and national elections. I've interviewed Secretaries of State and, well... the guy who is now the President of the United States. I didn't exactly just step out of ASU and get my sneer on.

Speaking of that so-called sneer, I worked hard on that. Behind the scenes the powers that be kept telling me I looked too friendly. And so the sneer (or as I like to call it, the CSI look) was born.

It should be noted here that Gary has a similar expression on his face in our commercials. But I guess since he's a man and has "earned the right to be taken seriously" it's a different story. I don't know, that's my dilemma. I wonder if I am overacting. Or if I should request that during the shooting of our next commercial I can be shown smiling while baking cookies or, perhaps, holding a fruit tray?

Sour grapes anyone?