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  • 06.30.15

What Newscasters Look Like When They Deliver Bad News

If you’ve ever suspected that news anchors are actually teleprompter-reading automatons, here’s proof to the contrary.

News anchors often find themselves in the uncomfortable position of delivering bad news to an entire nation, and some of them are pretty terrible at hiding their discomfort. Nowhere is this better documented than in Jure Kastelic’s fantastic freeze-frame photo series, which captures newscasters at the precise moment they become the bearers of bad news.

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The gems in Kastelic’s photo series Death Reporters range from overly dramatic expressions of woe to ill-timed winning smiles, with various shades of near-laughter in between (see the RCCTV News anchor reporting on the Algerian hostage crisis, whose efforts to mask a smile resulted in a look of unfortunate confusion).

CCTV Africa, 28 killed, bus attack, Kenya, 22/11/2014

Other highlights include a Fox News anchor suffering from such RBF that she looks like she should be delivering the news, “on Wednesdays, we wear pink” rather than announcing that a van crashed into a canal, killing eight passengers. And my sympathies lie with the woman from CNN, the only one who looks genuinely stricken, but possibly permanently so.

It’s hard not to empathize a little bit. Who among us hasn’t reacted inappropriately during a grave situation? The reason we laugh, psychologists suggest, is to encourage and comfort ourselves in the face of trauma. But a note to broadcast journalists: it’s not comforting to others.

About the author

Meg Miller is an associate editor at Co.Design covering art, technology, and design.

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