Tuesday, August 11, 2009

America's first daddy-daughter anchor team

There once was a little girl named Sophie, who became the world's youngest news anchor at the tender age of two. Though she was just one half of WGCM's latest anchor team—the other half being her dad, Michael—it was still a lot of pressure for someone who couldn't read yet or even pronounce the last letter of "anchor."

Luckily, Sophie was up to the challenges that lay ahead.

For one thing, she was mighty cute, which always helps on TV. She was also a natural when it came to "happy chat," an essential part of any local newcast. Sophie loved to talk about puppies and trees and twinkling little stars and the sounds barnyard animals make, not to mention her grandparents and her mommy and daddy and her big sister, Olivia, who was four. Olivia was Sophie's biggest influence when it came to being informative, inquisitive, and mighty cute.

Plus, Sophie had an advantage that older news anchors would never have: she could make any piece of bad news seem okay just by smiling or laughing.

Has the economy got you down? Just let WGCM cut to a tight close-up of Sophie telling you the numbers she knows.

Tired of hearing how high school literacy rates keep dropping? Listen to Sophie as she recites her ABCs in her own unique fashion.

Infuriated by stories about crime and punishment being followed by silly "lighter side" items about water-skiing squirrels? Well, at the very least, Sophie is
much more adorable than a squirrel, especially when she's splish-splashing in the tub with her rubber ducky.

When she heard that people were accusing WGCM of putting her on the air as some sort of stunt to boost their ratings—"a shameless attempt to trivialize serious issues," said one newspaper columnist—Sophie laughed. Then she cried. She didn't know what "stunts" or "ratings" or "issues" were.

Sophie was confused!

Were people mad at her? What did she do wrong? She didn't want anyone to be mad—ever—especially not at her. (Besides, she had no idea she was editorializing when she said "I lahhv you" at the end of certain stories. She was just expressing herself.)

Sophie knew what she had to do. After just one six o'clock newscast, she retired from journalism. But in a surprising turn of events (some in the TV news business would even call it "shocking"), a story in the local newspaper implied that she was forced out—not by WGCM, but by her fellow anchor.

Michael defended his actions in a written statement: "I don't know why, but I forgot for a minute that Sophie has to take a bath and go night-night by eight o'clock. I wouldn't be able to look her in the eye again if I kept her up for the eleven o'clock news every night. Besides, she'd probably be pretty crankypants at that hour."

Sophie's mom, Heather, responded in a phone interview: "I finally find time to take a short nap while Michael's watching Sophie, and the next thing you know I'm watching her—on TV!"

And so a brilliant career ended almost as soon as it began, but that was okay. There would be plenty of opportunities for Sophie to shine in the years ahead, just like her big sister, who was well on her way to becoming a prima ballerina.

In fact, Olivia gave Sophie the best compliment of all: "You are the bestest little sister and local news anchor in the whole wide world, and I love you very very much, even if you never win a local Emmy."

That made Sophie very very happy. And then she went night-night.

[The writer would like to make the following correction to the third paragraph: Olivia is four and a half. The writer regrets the error and any inconvenience it may have caused.]

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