Television News Anchorperson

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Television News Anchorperson


Audiences tune into newscasts everyday and invite anchorpersons to inform them of the latest happenings in the world and the local community. People usually choose a specific news station for the journalistic integrity of the stories coupled with a fondness towards the news anchorperson. Television news anchorpersons, sometimes called television announcers, introduce videotaped news of associate journalists live on the scene, present breaking stories, or host programs on television. Television news anchorpersons play an important role in our media-savvy society because they announce and present the news, informing us about current local, national, and international events and the conduct of public officials, corporate executives, special interest groups and others who live in the limelight. Their ultimate goal is to figure out how to present it logically and interestingly so that people can understand, enjoy and use it in their daily lives.

Entry-level anchors often start as reporters, covering different beats and stories. With experience, they advance into positions with more responsibility at larger stations. Television news anchorpersons working for larger stations often specialize in news, sports or weather. For example, weather reporters present and forecast weather conditions from different governmental weather sources and sportscasters overview the games played each day and often interview different athletes.

Television news anchorpersons must be comfortable on camera and at ease in unfamiliar places with a variety of people. Since they are often reporting live, they must sometimes compose their stories on the spot. That is why there is little room for error in any live broadcast. This can be quite stressful for those who are either inexperienced, camera shy or nervous since anchors love to shine on the television and have their voices heard. They are constantly on their toes; often improvising when need be in order to keep a live broadcast running smoothly. Finally, television anchor personalities are often invited to make public appearances or to serve as the master of ceremonies at special events.

Anchorpersons are dedicated to providing accurate and impartial news. The reason accuracy is so important is to both serve the public with correct news and because slanderous and libelous statements can lead to costly lawsuits. It is also important that they know about journalistic ethics and laws related to journalism such as defamation law, but those principles are well covered in journalism school. It is crucial that anchorpersons have a complex understanding of different cultures. Most stories are about diverse and interesting people therefore, they must also be culturally sensitive.
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  Interests and Skills  
Television news anchorpersons need to have good interviewing, listening and spoken communication skills. They must be confident and relaxed and have a friendly, pleasant sounding voice. Anchorpersons should have no problems following instructions, memorizing facts and improvising when necessary. They should be able to work under pressure and accept constant criticism. They must also have good organizational skills and be able to work long and irregular hours.

  Typical Tasks  
  • Introduce news programs and act as the general host of the show
  • Collect local, national and international news through interviews, investigation and observation
  • Cover all the stories for specific subjects such as health, sports or arts
  • Interview people
  • Report on issues and events
  • Go live on-location to provide eyewitness coverage of some events
  • Research and write material
  • Attend production meetings
  • Develop longer feature stories for local audiences
  • Read commercials and public service announcements
  • Announce time and station breaks
  • Discuss work with editors and have them supervise certain stories
  • Television presenters may work irregular hours, including shift-work hours that could include early mornings, evenings and weekends. Sometimes hours fluctuate when a deadline must be met, or when a story breaks late at night. The work also requires traveling to locations in order to cover stories. For some, the travel can be international. Television news anchorpersons work mainly indoors in soundproof studios. Their work is usually hectic and stressful. Since they are under great pressure to meet deadlines, reports are often improvised when broadcast.

  Workplaces, Employers and Industries  
  • Television news anchorpersons typically work for television stations, but some work for other private broadcasting organizations. News anchorpersons are constantly meeting and interviewing new people. They become well-known figures in the news community and often work for years and years at a particular station.

  Long Term Career Potential  
Becoming a television news anchorperson is an accomplishment in itself therefore potential advancement will occur only after the anchorperson has extensive experience. Anchorpersons could move into public relations positions, or become writers, actors and teachers. They can also move into the more technical side of producing and manage newsrooms or operate cameras and editing systems. Televiision news anchorpersons hardly ever move from station to station. They become permanent fixtures in newscasts and viewers look forward to watching them. A sign of success is being well-liked and recognized by news watchers.

  Educational Paths  
Most television news anchorpersons have a university degree or college diploma in broadcast journalism, journalism or a related field, such as communications or English, however it is not 100 percent crucial in certain areas of journalism. Some people get liberal arts degrees and then attend a one- or two-year postsecondary college program in broadcast journalism.

News anchors must possess a detailed knowledge of the geography, history, economy, politics, media law and social life of the communities and countries in which they work. They can gain practical experience by working on high school and university stations or volunteering at smaller, rural or local community cable television stations.

Some people take voice training courses to practice proper intonation and emphasis on particular words. They also should be familiar with a broadcast studio, for example, following a panning camera, improvising during technical difficulties and appearing relaxed while doing so. Many studios offer internships for students and recent graduates and serve as the most valuable learning experience a trainee can get. These days, an internship is an industry standard.

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition,
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Employment Statistics, 2002,

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