Local TV goes HD, newscasters realize they aren't as attractive


That new HD TV you just bought to watch sports and animal documentaries? You might regret it when you turn on the local TV stations and see our newscasters at work. The high-definition picture is likely to bring out every imperfection on that anchor's face, frightening everyone who mistakenly watches broadcast news.

The Pioneer Press has quite the piece on the tough life of a TV newsperson. Apparently their biggest job concern right now is how to put on their makeup so they look normal again.

And if any of them have a problem, they know to call WCCO's Don Shelby. He's the airbrush makeup pro.

This story had so many gems, it was hard to pick out the best ones to highlight. Until this month, KARE was the only local station currently broadcasting in HD. KMSP changed over May 11, WCCO plans to change over Saturday and KSTP should convert in June.

More from the Pioneer Press:

"We're all getting older, and the definition is getting better," said KARE-TV, Channel 11, meteorologist Belinda Jensen, 40. "I don't know if those two roads are actually going in the same direction; I think they're a screaming highway going north and south."

KARE anchor Mike Pomeranz, 42, admitted it took some time, tweaking and camera manipulation to adjust to the HD way of life.

"Sadly, as superficial as it may be, you just don't want to age prematurely if you can help it," he said. "You also don't want to jar an audience that's used to seeing you one way and then having to digest you in a less-than-flattering manner. We give them enough reason oftentimes to ridicule us -- we don't want to add fuel to the fire."

For newscasters, the HD newscast means a new makeup routine. Apparently less is more these days.

And lucky for KSTP's Leah McLean, one of the youngest anchors in town at 30, the change isn't a big deal. She doesn't have the old-person face problems like everyone else.

But if anyone is having problems covering up their embarrassments that totally make the news unwatchable, call on Shelby. He bought an airbrush kit a couple years ago and practices it on his wife and daughters.

He's got no worries about the switch. "You can't make a silk purse out of a sow's ear," he says.

Just as a nice reminder at the end of the piece, we realize "skills trump looks". Right. It's all about voice and eye contact. Oh, and maybe producing good news content? Just a thought.