TV isn't all that glamorous
People in the public eye have always been subject to criticism. But in the world of Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc., that is multiplied by 100. It seems the new American pastime is cutting others down, and doing so on a public forum. It's unbelievable how many people delight in other people's failures. I understand that by putting yourself out there, you are willingly subjecting yourself to critics, it comes with the territory, it's part of the job description. But that doesn't make condescending comments hurt any less. I know it's hard to feel bad for celebrities who make millions of dollars and live a privileged life, but at the end of the day, they're just humans with feelings. I'm far from a celebrity and have a very un-Hollywood salary, but even working in local news leaves me vulnerable to the wrath of haters. I must admit the positive comments I receive far outpace the negative ones, but somehow, the bad ones seem to carry more weight.
These are excerpts from actual emails from viewers. Some were sent to the entire newsroom:
"Haley (sic) may have great credentials but not on screen. We have been watching ABC for 7 yrs since we moved to Sarasota. We have seen many morning anchors come and go. She is one that needs to go. Nothing personal, she just isn't interesting to watch and she waves her hands WAY too much when she talks."
"...Hayley whines...she should take a good look in the mirror and we hope she goes back to Texas."
"Please stop waving your hand around."
But luckily, I get more emails that read like this:
"Just a quick note to let you know how much of a positive nature you have brought to the station since you have arrived."
"Thank you for having Hayley Wielgus on the six o'clock news. She adds such class and professionalism to the evening news."
"While visiting your area sometime ago, I happened to see your broadcast and not only was I delighted by your elegance and charm, but also by your excellent reporting and consummate professionalism in telling your stories. You made my day."
There wasn't a particular recent incident that sparked me to write this post, but it's something I think about from time to time. Being on the receiving end of criticism has certainly made me think twice before judging others and has completely stopped me from ever writing a "mean tweet." I know it's not kind to talk about others behind their backs, but trust me, if a viewer is watching the news and doesn't like my clothing choice, I'd much rather that person tell his or her family member that instead of writing me a hateful email.
Understand that people on television have the same struggles everyone else has. Sometimes we're tired, sometimes we don't feel well, sometimes (GASP) we wear one of our less-than-fabulous outfits. Sometimes our scripts have errors we didn't catch, sometimes we stumble over our words, sometimes we practice pronouncing a foreign name 100 times and it still comes out wrong on air. Sorry. And since many of us don't have anyone doing our hair or makeup, sometimes we have bad hair days. If I'm having a bad hair day, believe me, I already know that. You don't have to email me.
However, I do appreciate when viewers email me with corrections. I commend those who take the time to send me nicely-worded note about a mistake I made on air. I take pride in accuracy, so if I screw up, I would like to know, so I can get it right the next time.
It all boils down to those old cliches: It's not what you say but how you say it. Think before you speak. If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all.
And to those who have written me a complimentary note or come up to in me in person with kind words, THANK YOU. It means more than you know.