Anchorwoman, by Jessica Savitch. New York: G.P. Putnam's Sons. 191 pp. $12.95 .
For every myth that surfaces about women in television news, there are plenty of successful, hard-working reporters and anchorwomen to dispel it.
What about the myth that women are too emotional to cover hard news?
Seconds after the shots rang out from John Hinckley's gun, NBC's Judy Woodruff, three months pregnant at the time, was racing for the control car in the presidential motorcade to ask Michael Deaver if Reagan had been hit. She then commandeered a taxi to the White House and within minutes was scrambling up onto a vacant chair in the press room to file her live report.
''More than at any time in my career, I intuitively felt the tremendous responsibility I had to the public and the importance of measuring every word in describing what had happened,'' she recalls. ''My description, I knew, would be the first eyewitness account millions of viewers would hear of the attempt on the President's life.''
What about the myth that women can only make it to the top in television news if they're cold, brittle, and ruthless?
Jessica Savitch, who was NBC's podium correspondent for both of the major 1980 national political conventions, says her worst fear is that too many of the young people she teaches in a broadcasting course at Ithaca College are attracted to television news for the wrong reasons.
''Learn to care about what you write and how you interview, and not just how the news is presented,'' she tells her students. ''Learn that television news is a delicate balance of serving public good and private gain. Dedicate yourself to understanding the difference. Draw the line between the two and stick to the public good.''
At a time when women outnumber men by 38,000 to 30,000 in the nation's journalism schools, these two books by two of electronic journalism's most articulate spokeswomen do more than dispel myths, however. Their books could take the estimated 50 million nightly viewers of network news behind the cables and TelePrompTers for an intriguing look at news and newspeople in the making.
The two careers profiled here took many of the same turns and detours. We hear about the need to overachieve in high school and college, the initial ''gofer'' jobs at local television stations, the lingering resistance of many male colleagues. But a glance at the two book jackets points to different approaches in the telling of the story.
In the reproduction of her White House press pass that appeared on the first published jackets of her book (which have since been recalled because of Secret Service objections), Judy Woodruff is poised but intent. Just as she's able to compress a day's worth of presidential doings into a 90-second stand-up on the White House lawn, she packs a lot of information about her profession into 200 pages. There are some warm personal touches, including a chapter about her ''multimedia marriage'' to Wall Street Journal writer Al Hunt and their new son, Jeffrey, but overall this is a straightforward compendium of inside facts and anecdotes.
Jessica Savitch's cover photo, on the other hand, could have come from the pages of Vogue magazine. Her reminiscences are more personal, sharper edged, and occasionally outrageous. She recalls the time she flew in a helicopter over the aftermath of a Galveston hurricane, feet locked under the pilot's seat as she held on to the cameraman's belt so he could lean out and film the scene. We see her the night she anchored her first network news show, ankles bound together with masking tape to ensure proper decorum.
Although both women recently have gone on to new assignments - Judy Woodruff has moved from her NBC White House beat to the ''Today'' team, and Jessica Savitch soon will begin anchoring a public television series originating in Boston - their accounts of their network news days make for informative and often entertaining reading.