Thursday, March 08, 2007

Ethnic Blanding

I don't know if this carries over to other cities, but I've noticed that here in (predominately white) Portland, there's something strange going on with our local news stations. Specifically, the stations' field reporters. While all of them are fairly different looking (even though they all actually look the same, which is blowing my mind right now), they all have something in common: their names.

Now, I'm not a scientist or a sociologist or even a metrosexual caveman. But I think I'm on to something here. It's called the "Name Phenomenon."

Like all amazing, world changing ideas, this one is incredibly simple. After weeks of late night research, I've deciphered the code to a previously unsolvable mystery:

English first name + Easily pronounceable foreign-sounding last name = local news field reporter.

For instance, KGW, our local NBC station, often cuts away from the anchor desk to Kyle Iboshi, Kristen Vasquez, and Wilson Chow. KOIN (CBS affiliate) uses the same formula when hiring their field reporters: Joel Iwanaga, Alexis Del Cid, and Christine Ferreira. And then there’s KATU (ABC affiliate): Anna Song, Shellie Bailey-Shah, and Derick Sciba. (They do have Thanh Tan, though—the only “authentic” name I’ve seen.)

Now, I’ve been told that “Nguyen” is the “Smith” or “Jones” of Asian people, yet no Asian field reporters have the name. It’s the silent N, G, U, Y and E, I think.

Now, throughout this thoroughly systematic process, I’ve also revealed another startling formula. This one is for the news anchors. But instead of being slightly foreign sounding, their last names are just the opposite: plain vanilla. In fact, their first names are, too: Steve Dunn, Rod Hill, Carl Click (nicely alliterative, I might add), Kelley Day, Jeff Baskin (he’s begging for a co-host with the last name Robbins), Tracy Barry, Joe Donlon, Russ Lewis, Nancy Francis.

Why not just hire someone named “White Bread” and get to the fucking point?