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The Big Picture
Rebecca "Becky" Coates Nee, a veteran TV news anchor/reporter, is a professional life/career coach. Check out her website at to take the coachability test, subscribe to her free "Beyond the Box" newsletter and to find out if you're an adrenaline junkie.

Love, Marriage and TV News
By Rebecca Coates Nee
November 26th, 2001

Here’s an idea for a new reality-based TV show: Take ten single broadcasters,
follow them around for a month and see if any of them can last that long in
one relationship.

Ok, maybe I’m being unfair – but let’s face it, TV news is not a breeding
ground for successful mergers (even if you are Ted Turner). There’s the
obvious problem of moving around every few years and working odd shifts.
There’s also the stress of the job and the tendency to inbreed only with
those in the business.

But I think the root causes of our dating dilemmas go much deeper than the
external circumstances of our jobs. Take it from me. When I finally did get
married at the age of 37, my newsroom colleagues seemed a bit disappointed
that I was canceling my membership in the jerk of the month club. No matter
how bad their personal lives got – they could rely on me to show up the next
day with an even more shocking story.

Now that I actually have been married – successfully and happily – for
almost four whole years, I am reflecting on why so many journalists, myself
included, have such difficulty forming and keeping lasting relationships.
Here are some likely culprits:

1. We are highly competitive. If we weren’t born that way, the business
quickly taught us the rules of competition. Not only did we compete with our
own news staff but at least two others. Well, the competitive spirit may get
you far in TV, but it will be like a cold shower to a smoldering romance.
Couples who compete with each other don’t stay together. Friendly sparing may
seem playful at first, but won’t take long to turn ugly. Plus,
competitiveness also can drive us to pursue a partner just for the sheer
thrill of victory. Then, once we’ve won – it’s time to hunt for another

2. We are highly suspicious. Whether you decided to go into journalism during
the Watergate era or the Clinton era, you know you can’t trust what other
people tell you. Need I say more?

3. We are highly negative. We have to be! We’re reporters! And everyone knows
good news doesn’t get ratings. We’re trained to look for the downside, the
conflict in every story. Unfortunately, this habit transcends to
relationships as well. We’re fault-finding missiles – even on a first date.
I once stopped dating a guy because he had a strange laugh. I dropped another
after he used the word "lovely" to describe a restaurant.

4. We are highly sensitive – especially those of us on air. (Ok, I was going
to say insecure but I wasn’t confident enough.) How can we help it when
we’re judged not by the quality of our story but by the style of our hair,
the application of our makeup and the shape of our heads? So … one strange
look or comment from an unsuspecting partner is liable to set off a highly
emotional chain reaction, ending with something like "So you really do think
I’m fat, don’t you?" Trust me. I’ve said it.

5. We are highly cynical. Again, our wit may be fun at first but when it’s
directed at your mate or his/her family and friends, it’s not so clever after

6. We get bored easily. We love breaking news! We need to be doing something
different every day, that’s why we got into this business (and are afraid to
get out). Being with the same person day in day out can never compare to the
stuff we’ve seen and done.

7. We’re news snobs. Anyone who is out of the loop must be illiterate and
therefore uninteresting. How can we possibly associate with such poor slobs?

So what’s the moral to this depressing picture of love and marriage among
broadcasters? Be aware of your natural and news-induced tendencies. Have
realistic expectations – you are dating a human aren’t you? Trust your gut
instinct. Respect each other. And, most importantly, put those highly honed
communication skills to good use on the home front.

Also, try dating outside the TV news gene pool. It’s pretty tough to make a
relationship work when you both have all the traits listed above! I married a
pharmacist who was so far out of the news loop that he couldn’t even see it.
It’s been the best decision of my life (even though he does sneeze really