Be Careful Out There

by Ann S. Utterback, Ph.D. on March 5, 2013

Stalker HouseNo one likes to talk about broadcasters being stalked, but it’s all too common.  And don’t think only broadcasters are in danger.  Ck out Caryn Clark’s recent article on VoiceOverXtra about cyber stalking, which can be a problem for voiceover artists as well.

The most recent example of stalking involves Jennifer Reyna, an anchor and traffic reporter in Houston, whose stalker went so far as to drive his car into the station’s glass doors.  He was apprehended and sent to jail in January, but not before causing Jennifer severe emotional stress.  (Here’s a link to an article in the Houston Chronicle for which I was interviewed.)

Jennifer found herself in one of the most stressful and dangerous situations a broadcaster can face.  And the effect of the stress this creates on voice and delivery is profound.  Stress effects breathing, articulation, and focus.  It’s difficult to concentrate on anything else when you fear for your life.

One client who had multiple stalkers told me that when she anchored it was like being in a house with no curtains because the stalkers could always watch her.  A stalker can destroy your career without ever laying a hand on you.  And, unfortunately, it can go further.  Some broadcasters have been killed by stalkers.

More and more broadcasters are finding themselves the targets of fans that crossover into the realm of stalkers.  What begins as a nuisance can rapidly escalate into a threat. A stalker is defined as a person who intentionally and repeatedly harasses or follows another person causing that person fear.  This unwanted contact can be in the form of phone calls, letters, gifts, or personal contact.   Almost anything might attract a stalker, and the person being stalked is never at fault.

Fortunately, there are steps you can take to make yourself safer.  The links below (in red) will take you to information from two of my books, BROADCAST VOICE HANDBOOK and BROADCASTER’S SURVIVAL GUIDE.  I’ve gotten much of this information from clients who have dealt with stalkers and who wished they had known some of these steps to take.  I hope you’ll print this material out and keep it handy.  You never know when you might find yourself dealing with a stalker.

CLICK ON THE BLUE pdf TO THE RIGHT FOR AN INTRODUCTION TO THE SAFETY CHECKLIST:  IntroStalker pdf

CLICK BLUE pdf TO THE RIGHT FOR SAFETY CHECKLISTStalker pdf

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