WUFT-TV recognizes the need to coach our students on every aspect of their performance, in order to prepare our graduates for the demands of the television news industry. This includes the need to train students in elements of proper speech, poise and physical appearance—including makeup and wardrobe standards. The College of Journalism and Communications’ broadcast newsrooms all observe a dress code. The bottom line: you will not be treated as a professional if you do not dress professionally.
As young people and students, you will have enough credibility problems with your sources and interview subjects; do not compound the issue by looking unprofessional. Do not wear shorts, sandals, tank tops or similar attire. Nice looking jeans, T-shirts and shorts are always unacceptable for reporters, but okay for photographers, especially in the summer. Ties are almost always expected for male reporters. In the pro world…many reporters always dress up but keep a more casual set of clothes (and boots) in their car to change into if they’re sent to a location that calls for it (fire scene, wilderness area, etc.); many photographers always dress casual but keep a more formal set of clothes (and dress shoes) in their car to change into if they’re sent to a location that calls for it (funeral, etc.). Always avoid wearing anything with writing or any commercial logo wear (other than your station) out in the field.
Jeans and shorts are acceptable in the newsroom, but T-shirts and tank tops are not.
Anyone who violates the dress code will be notified at the time of the violation and advised to comply in the future or sent home to change, if necessary, in the judgment of the newsroom staffer. The dress code speaks in general terms about what is acceptable; news managers must make a case-by-case determination and anyone may be sent home if their attire is deemed offensive to others, is disruptive of the working environment, or makes a statement that impairs objectivity.
Students who appear on the air are advised about their on-camera appearance. These critiques are necessary to ensure that our students perform at a level that is on-par with industry standards. These critiques may include statements about wardrobe or makeup that are judged inappropriate when compared to industry standards. It is our intention to use these critiques to improve student appearance and performance. These judgments will be relayed to students in a manner that is constructive and designed not to offend them. While we understand that some students are sensitive to critiques of their appearance, such coaching is necessary to maintain acceptable standards within our teaching environment and on into the television news industry. As a recognized leader in broadcast education, we have an obligation to educate our students about such matters, as they will prove vital to future success.