Craft is a broadcast journalist who will be remembered not for what
she said on the air, but rather for what she said, and was said
about her, in a federal district courtroom. It was there that she
challenged the different standards by which male and female on-air
broadcast news anchors were being judged in the U.S. media industries.
After graduating from college with a degree in English, Christine
Craft spent time as a competitive surfer and classroom teacher.
broadcast career did not begin until 1974, when, at age 29, she
took a job as a weather reporter with KSBW-TV in Salinas, California.
During her tenure at channel 8 in Salinas, as well as her next position
at KPIX-TV, the CBS affiliate in San Francisco, Craft filled every
on-air position in the newsroom, from weather to sports to news
In 1977, Craft was hired by the CBS television network to do features
on women athletes for CBS Sports Spectacular for the segment
entitled "Women in Sports." According to Craft, this was her first
experience with being "made over," and she hated it. Among the physical
characteristics that were altered was her hair, bleached so that
she appeared on-camera as a platinum blonde. After a year at CBS,
Craft returned to California where she again worked in several news
positions including co-anchor for the ABC affiliate in Santa Barbara,
life inexorably changed when she received a phone call from the
Metromedia, Inc. ABC affiliate in Kansas City, KMBC-TV Channel 9.
According to Craft, a consulting firm had made a tape of her without
her permission or knowledge and marketed it around the country.
Executives at KMBC saw the tape, and called her to Kansas City for
an interview and audition. Based on her experience at CBS, Craft
states that she told the station management that she "showed signs
of her age and experience" and was not willing to be made over.
She interviewed and auditioned in the KMBC studios, and was hired
as co-anchor with a two-year contract. Eight months later, in July
1981, Craft was informed that she had been demoted to reporter because
focus group research had indicated that she was "too old, too unattractive
and wouldn't defer to men." Craft decided to challenge the action
of management, and when asked for a comment on why she was no longer
anchor, told a Kansas City newspaper what had occurred.
left the station in Kansas City and returned to television news
in Santa Barbara, where for two years she prepared a breach of contract
lawsuit against Metromedia. In August 1983 a ten-day trial was held
at Federal District Court in Kansas City, at the conclusion of which
the jury unanimously returned a verdict in favor of Craft, awarding
her $500,000 in damages. United States District Court Judge Joseph
E. Stevens, Jr. then threw out the verdict, and called for a second
trial in Joplin, Missouri. After a six-day trial in 1984 in Joplin,
the jury again returned a verdict in favor of Craft. Metromedia
appealed, and the 8th Circuit Court threw out the second verdict.
When the U.S. Supreme Court would not hear the case, Craft's years
of litigation ended.
Photo courtesy of Christine Craft
1986 Craft wrote Too Old, Too Ugly, Not Deferential to Men about
her experiences. She graduated in 1995 from the University of the
Pacific McGeorge School of Law, and continues to appear as a broadcast
journalist on both radio and television, most recently in San Francisco.
CHRISTINE CRAFT. Born in 1944. Graduated from the University
of the Pacific McGeorge School of Law, 1995. Competitive surfer
and teache; weather reporter, KSBW-TV, Salinas, California, 1974;
reporter KPIX-TV, San Francisco; worked at KEYT-TV in Santa Barbara,
California; co-anchor at KMBC-TV in Kansas City, Missouri, 1981;
returned briefly to KEYT-TV, 1983; lecturer, 1983-84; talk show
host on KFBK-AM in Sacramento, California, since 1991.
Craft: An Anchorwoman's Story. Santa Barbara, California: Capra
Old, Too Ugly, Not Deferential to Men. New York: Prima Publishing
of St. Martin's, 1986.
S. B. "Television Executives Upset by Kansas City Finding." New
York Times, 9 August 1983.
M. "Newscaster Wins $500,000." Washington (D.C.) Post, 9
in TV Sex Bias Suit is Awarded $500,000 by Jury." New York Times,
9 August 1983.
See also Anchor