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A TV news anchor is a man or woman who reports news stories, usually over a live broadcast. He or she usually reads from a teleprompter and note cards to deliver news to viewers. Anchors provide lead-ins and commentary to taped scenes and introduce stories presented by field, weather, and sports reporters. Professionals are generally very articulate, friendly, and objective on camera. Many anchors, especially those who work at smaller, local stations, work alongside researchers and editors to think up ideas for stories and write transcripts for broadcasts.
News broadcasts usually follow a fairly standard routine. Most programs begin with one or two anchors reporting lead stories and breaking news. Programs might show video footage while an anchor describes the story to audiences. Anchors also provide transitions into live reports from field correspondents and other parts of the broadcast, such as sports and weather.
At local and national stations, news anchors typically spend a great deal of time reading up on stories and practicing their deliveries before appearing on camera. Live events or breaking news stories, however, require anchors to explain situations without any preparation. A TV news anchor must be able to read and interpret information very quickly so that he or she can deliver it to audiences in a clear, concise, informative manner. Timing is essential for news anchors, and professionals often have to make judgment calls on how to shorten or lengthen a report to fit time constraints.
A TV news anchor might be required to report stories that may be devastating or depressing, or contain personally sensitive subject matter. It is his or her responsibility to deliver such news in the most objective manner possible, avoiding emotional outbreaks and personal commentary. News anchors are experts at concealing personal feelings and opinions while reporting stories. In addition, an anchor at a small broadcasting company is expected to have extensive knowledge of the surrounding area so that he or she can accurately report on local events and appeal to members of a community.
To become a TV news anchor, a person must typically hold at least a bachelor's degree in communications or journalism. Most news anchors begin working in other positions at local broadcasting companies, either behind the scenes or as field reporters. After gaining sufficient experience in the business, individuals with good camera presence and proven reporting skills are often promoted to news anchor positions. An anchor who gains popularity with viewers has the potential to obtain a more prominent position in a bigger production, such as a national news program.
For those who have a solid career in another area of journalism, say in radio or newspaper, do you think it would be difficult to transition to broadcasting work?
For those who are looking for a variety of experiences in the field of journalism, I believe that a background in different mediums would be useful before you heading into broadcasting.
Becoming a TV news anchor is probably one of the most competitive and difficult jobs to get in journalism. Often professionals hold their positions for years and hold a great deal of sway at their networks as people come to trust a recognizable face.
For someone just entering this field and considering it as a career, it is a good idea to look for volunteer experience at small upcoming network and then try and find a way onto the main news desk once you have made connections.
These positions are seldom if ever advertised, and it really comes down to your relationship with a station and word of mouth.
If you look at someone like Dan Rather, he was in journalism for just over 30 years before he got an anchoring position, which he held until he retired at 73.
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