THE YOUTH’S PERCEPTION OF KENYAN TELEVISION WOMEN NEWS ANCHORS: THE CASE OF THE UNIVERSITY OF NAIROBI

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ABSTRACT
This study sought to find out how Kenyan youth perceive female news anchors of local television stations. The study utilised a qualitative approach underpinned by the objectification theory, which attempts to explain the tendency to equate women with their bodies.The population of the study was the youth from The University of Nairobi andnews anchors and field reporters from media houses. The sample was selected purposively and included thirty–two students, eight anchors and fifteen field reporters. The objectives of the study was to determine factors that influence the youth(attractiveness, gender, experience and knowledge) on perception of female news anchors and subsequently on the choice of the of television stations in Kenya. Data collection was conducted using focus group discussions consisting of thirty-two respondents from the University of Nairobi, as well as structured interviews among twenty-three media news presenters. Data was analysed thematically and presented in narrative format. The study found out that both male and female respondents agreed that attractiveness influenced perception of news anchors and choice of television stations, however what each gender considered attractive varied across gender. Female respondents were attracted to female news anchors with regards to being made aware on the latest trends in fashion while among male respondents’ beauty and physical attributes were more influential. The conclusion was that the perception of female news anchors and choice of television stations is influenced by attractiveness of the news anchors and this may play a role in competition among media stations. Despite scarcity of studies conducted locally on the influence of attractive female anchors, this study sensitizes media stations on the role played byattractive female anchors as opposed to experience and knowledge in popularizing television stations.This study recommends that policy makers as well national governments should identify loopholes in the present media guidelines so as to have standards in the code of dressing for the female anchors who are going at lengths to try all modes of popularizing their respective television stations, also the researcher recommends that media houses should give an equal playing field when it comes to employing attractive female newscasters as opposed to anchors with experience and knowledge

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