A News Anchor was Shamed By Another Journalist for Wearing Jeans, Despite Being Good at Her Job

In the last few days, the Jacob Wetterling story has been taking over the national news. A male pedophile admitted to kidnapping, sexually assaulting and killing the young boy in 1989, ending a “missing persons” case that has haunted the state of Minnesota since Wetterling’s disappearance. Following the court case where the murderer admitted his guilt in detail, KARE 11 news anchor Jana Shortal reported the story at the Minneapolis station. But Shortal decided to not wear the supposedly “traditional” newscaster outfit, opting for skinny jeans instead. Why? It doesn’t matter because it has nothing to do with the fact that she reported the news well.

Well, this infuriated another journalist so much that she took to publishing her opinion in the newspaper. C.J., a Minneapolis Star Tribune columnist, headlined her piece “Jana Shortal flubbed fashion statement during Wetterling report.” While she tries to assure her readers that she understands the importance of the case should take priority, she just can’t get over Shortal’s outfit. “She looked great from the waist up in a polka-dot shirt and cool blazer, but the skinny jeans did not work,” C.J. wrote in her article. “…I would think that hipness wouldn’t be a priority while covering one of the biggest, saddest stories in Minnesota history. Edginess is the mandate of “Breaking the News,” but there is a line.”

C.J. ultimately implies that Shortal’s fashion choices are the real headline and that the way she looks affected how well she did her job.”Being hip in skintight pants while discussing this story was unseemly, perhaps disrespectful,” the reporter concluded. “Many TV types keep a spare set of clothes around the station just in case what they are wearing isn’t appropriate for what they end up covering. Maybe Shortal doesn’t.” C.J. then reached out to Shortal on Twitter, asking her if she wished she had worn something different while reporting. Shortal responded that she didn’t know what her clothing had to do with her job, and that her only ‘wish’ was for the Wetterling family.

Shortal posted a response to C.J.’s bad journalism on Facebook. It says it all:

“I went on the air. I did my best. I gave that newscast every single shred of hope and love I had for Jacob. For his family. And for every single one of you who was hurting. I left everything I had on that newsroom floor,” Shortal wrote. “You took that away. You made it about my pants.”

Many have supported the KARE 11 anchor on social media, with Shortal re-Tweeting and thanking those who demand C.J. be fired for her bullying. Despite the incredible backlash, C.J. continued to comment in her own defense, alternating between snarky comments that shows she’s enjoying the attention and attempting a façade of respect towards Shortal. The Star Tribune eventually took down the column and presented an apology to Shortal. “The piece was inappropriate, insensitive, and did not meet the standards of the Star Tribune,” the statement says. Shortal believes that while the newspaper did the right thing in doing this, the columnist had already done the damage.

Ironically enough, the Star Tribune published a piece written by Shortal earlier this summer about how she’s able to advance her career without wearing the standard “lady uniform.” Shortal’s show, Breaking the News, aims to be an alternative take on traditional news; she feels that her appearance, which deviates from the typical feminine formality of usual broadcasts, doesn’t affect her ability to do her job. “All I wanted to do was tell stories. But that didn’t seem to make up for my lacking presentation as a lady,” she wrote. “Maybe I can break more than the news. Maybe I can break the mold of what a woman on television is supposed to look like.”

Despite all of the attention on her outfit, Shortal knows what takes priority. The fact of the matter is that C.J., despite her intentions, blatantly disrespected and shamed a woman for her clothes rather than her ability to do her job. The writer took the focus off of the Wetterlings and forced it on Shortal, proving herself to be a terrible journalist. Shortal, for her part, has consistently reminded people of what really matters: the Wetterlings and their pain. That’s good journalism.

[H/T: Cosmopolitan]

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