What is a News Anchor?

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

A news anchor or news presenter is a professional who specializes in presenting news in the broadcast medium. Television, radio, and webcasting news services all use anchors to provide news and commentary. This position is considered extremely high profile, since the person is the face of his or her station. Newscasters often compete for top slots as anchors, and prominent ones may command hefty salaries and other benefits.

Television news anchor reports on the day's stories.
Television news anchor reports on the day's stories.

In the very basic sense, a news anchor simply reads the day's news. Many anchors may also add commentary to their readings, and some act as reporters or journalists, actively seeking out news and writing their own stories. In some cases, this person may conduct interviews or report live from the field for important breaking news. These broadcasts may be recorded or live, depending on the station; if live, an anchor has to be extremely confident and self assured, as there are no re-dos in live broadcasting.

Radio newscasters share the news of the day.
Radio newscasters share the news of the day.

Working as a news anchor can be challenging. People in this job have to respond to breaking news rapidly and professionally, offering comment, interpretation, and information for viewers or listeners. Nearly all undergo voice training, in which they learn how to modulate their voices and speak with minimal accents so that they can be understood by most people. In the television medium, this person must also be very aware of his or her personal appearance, and some anchors spend a great deal of energy on personal grooming to ensure that they look their best.

Some news anchor find stories to report on.
Some news anchor find stories to report on.

It can also be very exciting to be an anchor. High profile presenters often get to interact with famous people, and they may be on the ground for historically important events. If a news anchor is deemed important enough, he or she may get a separate news show, allowing the anchor more reporting leeway so that topics of interest can be pursued. Members of the general public also often look up to people in this profession, since they are considered valuable sources of information.

News anchors may work with meteorologists to present weather forecasts.
News anchors may work with meteorologists to present weather forecasts.

To work as a news anchor, most people study broadcast journalism in college, while also taking a broad spectrum of classes so that they are well educated in science, humanities, and history. If someone knows that he or she wants to specialize in a niche like science reporting, a greater focus on the niche interest might be required. While in college, a prospective anchor typically seeks out work in the medium of the choice, with the goal of working his or her way up the food chain to the anchor position.

A news anchor reports on breaking stories, such as vehicle accidents.
A news anchor reports on breaking stories, such as vehicle accidents.
Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a wiseGEEK researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

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Discussion Comments


I volunteer at a center that works with inner city kids. They are having an upcoming volunteer dinner and the speaker is a news anchor man from one of the local TV stations.

I wonder how often they make special appearances like this? When I read that he was going to be our speaker, I was excited because he is one of my favorite news reporters.

It looks like you would have to be flexible to be a successful news anchor. When there is breaking news that has just come in, you have to be able to handle that just as effortlessly as you would the news you familiarized yourself with ahead of time.


In our local area, the news anchor jobs seem to be balanced between males and females. To me it doesn't make a difference as long as they are easy to listen to and do a good job.

I have often wondered how hard it is for them to keep their personal opinions out of any commentary or small talk.

I have watched closely when they are reporting on highly debated topics to see if I can see any bias, but they really do a good job of remaining neutral when it comes to their reporting.

Sometimes I think I might get a glimpse of a facial expression that shows what their feelings are. Usually I will notice this when they are reporting on a very sad story where you can't help but have compassion.


When it comes to watching a TV news anchor, I find that I have my favorites and always prefer to watch that particular channel for the news.

Most of our local news anchors seem to stay in their job for a long time. When you watch them every day, you feel comfortable with the way they present the news, and almost feel like you know them.

One of our local news anchor men is retiring after reporting the news for about 30 years. He doesn't retire until the end of the year, but they are already talking about it in newspaper and on their news station.

He is very good at his job, and will be missed by a lot of people.


I admire news anchors for being able to get through the broadcast without stumbling over their words. I don't think I could do it, especially if the words were being fed to me quickly by a teleprompter.

I always feel bad for news anchors when they do mess up. There was one lady at my local TV station who fumbled so often that it was hard to listen to her, and my heart went out to her.

I couldn't believe that she didn't get fired right away for being so bad about screwing up. She held onto that position for many months, but I haven't seen her around lately, and I think I know why.


@Perdido – I have noticed that, and I think it is very unfortunate. It causes many news anchor women who are very talented and capable of journalistic greatness to remain at the bottom of the ladder or be unable to land a position in their field at all.

My good friend is one of the greatest reporters that I know, and she has had lots of trouble finding work in the public sector. She has had to hold down jobs at newspapers because of her appearance, when she should be in front of the camera, telling the world what they need to hear.

She did manage to land a temporary job as a fill-in for a sick news anchor once, and I got to see just how talented she was. In my opinion, she did a much better job than the attractive young news anchor, but nothing ever came of it.


Has anyone noticed that you hardly ever see an ugly news anchor woman? Oh, they all take care of themselves and make sure their hair and makeup are great, but there is only so much that grooming can do. I'm talking about facial structure and weight.

I can only recall seeing an ugly news anchor one time in my life, and I don't think she stayed with the station long. She was well groomed, but her face had very unpleasant asymmetry, and everyone was always talking about how hard it was to look at her for very long.

It sounds bad, but I guess it is important for a station's ratings that they keep attractive news anchors. It is much easier to watch the news when you don't mind looking at the person reporting it.


My friend studied broadcast journalism in college, and since she was well groomed and had a pleasant demeanor, she landed a position with the college television station as a news anchor. She spent the last year of her college career reporting the news to the campus, and she loved every second of it.

She was one of those people who just seem like they were born to report the news. In the same way that some people have a natural talent for music or art, she had a knack for reporting and being in front of the camera. She was so articulate, and she almost never messed up on her words.

Everyone in her class knew that she was destined for a good job as a news anchor. The local television station had their eyes on her, and she got a job with them not long after graduating. I have no doubt that she will continue to progress up the journalistic ladder and get a job with a major station someday.

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