Thursday, April 26, 2007

Playboy's "Girls Next Door" to Become Journalists

This past week, I was watching an episode of "The Girls Next Door"--the reality TV show about Hugh Hefner's three girlfriends (Bridget Marquardt, Holly Madison and Kendra Wilkinson) that made me re-think journalism. In this particular episode, Bridget had Hugh Hefner hire a video editor to put together a resume tape so she can fulfill her dream of being a reporter. While Bridget does have a master's degree (in real estate), on television, she appears to have nothing between her ears. Not to mention, she is always in the nude, jumping out of birthday cakes in corsets or talking about inappropriate things. And, while I thought there is no way this girl will get a serious journalism gig, I was wrong. This week, I learned that news directors all over the country have flooded the Playboy mansion with calls to hire Bridget--without even having seen her tape, only her obnoxious behavior on her reality show which always revolves around her being naked, drinking or partying. I just find this completely discouraging that local stations would want to put someone like Bridget on their staff. Somewhere deep down in my heart, I believe in real journalism and being a watchdog. But, when things like this occur, I am led to believe that this business is shallow and that real journalism has died. After all, Bridget has never reported for a station or done one internship. Nevertheless, could a viewer really take Bridget seriously after she has posed nude and starred in Playboy films? Where is her credibility--because with me, it is in the toilet. But, that has not stopped Los Angeles Stations (the #2 market) from making her offers to anchor. Not to mention, it is rumored that she will fill in on the View! I mean, she appeared as a guest on the View last year where Barbara Walters literally made fun of her and told her what she was doing with Hefner was "sickening." Now, she is going to be her colleague?!? Oh and let me not fail to mention, ESPN is dying to get their little mittens on her...and what is her sport besides having met Peyton Manning at last year's Midsummer Night's Dream Party at the mansion.
And, there is more to this frightening story people. Another member of Hefner's "Blonde Mafia" is entering print journalism--Holly Madison. In this episode, Holly started working for Playboy magazine, shadowing the editor-in-chief, a position she hopes to take over (Note: There are many students out there that would just die for an internship with this female editor or even to have five minutes or her time...but they do not get the time of day). So, she headed into the magazine's headquarters and directed a photo shoot for the cover, headed up layout and managed content. Now, she is an associate editor-in-chief...a job created for her by Mr. Hefner. Mind you, while Holly is a little more conservative, she still has no journalism background. However, she contends that "Hef has secretly been teaching her the ropes!" Now, everyday, I see my fellow Medillians in magazine work so hard to get stories and hope for a job when they gradaute...and this girl just gets to jump to the front of the line because she is with Hefner? Now, I am not saying that everyone or even anyone at Medill wants to work for Playboy, but let's face it, it is a successful magazine and a job is job. If your only offer to write or do layout came from Playboy, I am betting that a Medill grad would take it--even I would. But, again, in this situation, maybe this playmate picked the right medium to work for...since they made her what she is. But, she certainly did not pay her dues and is making a joke out of the position.

However, the part that really irks me is that these girls have absolutely no journalism experience or exposure. They do not realize that journalism is serious business, not just a chance to be on television or a way to get their name in print. They are getting involved in this because they think, I am already a reality star, so I can be on television, and another television gig is a reporter/anchor. I would not have a problem if they hosted a stupid show, but to put them on television to tell hard hitting stories or to write articles is an absolute atrocity. Bottom line--in my opinion--these girls are missing the point of being "watchdogs" and just want to maintain their celebrity status. So, what better way to do it than become a journalist? I think not. And, to the news director that hires Bridget for a reporting position (and she is not looking to do sports or entertainment...but serious work) shame on you...I hope you get replaced by a playmate one day. Then, you will know how I feel about this issue, disgusted that no talent people are getting jobs people work at and train for for years of their lives.


At Thursday, April 26, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I concur that these playmates are not understanding what journalism entails. It is not about being on television but to disseminate information. The only thing these girls might disseminate is a disease due to their promiscuity. Sadly though, this is how the world works. These girls have exposure, celebrity status and connections--permitting them to enter into journalism without hindrance.
Yet, while I can see your point pertaining to Holly, at least the possibility does exist that Hugh Hefner did teach her a thing or two. Again, I also commend her for sticking to her element of Playboy, it does not seem that she is looking for exposure but going behind the scenes. But again, I can understand and comprehend your frustration at the ease at which these girls enter the journalism field.
To conclude, I must say that real journalism does exist. Medill students need to ensure this remains. I do not think the entire business has gone south though as you suggest. If this is any consolation, just think, to get where they are, they had to touch Hefner. Now, that might count as paying dues.

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