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What it's like to be a news anchor

September 25, 2014, 8:06 am | This story has an Influence Score of 1033

By angieseth

5 minutes to live broadcast, breaking news story just coming in, first story in the show is not ready for air yet, and the prompter has gone out! It’s all in the day of a news anchor. Well, it all may sound a little too dramatic, but these are scenarios I have experienced pretty regularly working as a live news anchor. For 7 years of my career as a news journalist, I spent my time behind the desk reading the news. The job is challenging, fast paced, very demanding, you need to multi-task, think quickly on your feet, learn how to communicate well with your floor director, work well with your news team, but in the end it is one of the most rewarding jobs I have ever done. As a news anchor you are the point person between the viewer and the big stories of the day. It is your job to relay information that is balanced, informative, and educational. The news is not about sensationalizing content but rather asking the tough questions to get the answers viewers are looking for and are entitled to. That is not to say every story is about the so called wrongs in society. But as news anchors and news organizations we take on the job of accountability and calling those to the table, be it government, business, community, local organizations, individuals etc., to be accountable for their actions and decisions. We also have to know how to handle tragic situations – death, war, violence, etc – in a way as to not frighten or over exaggerate, but to inform and show sympathy without being fake or superficial. It is never easy. However, there are also some amazing stories out there about heroism, friendship, entrepreneurship, innovation, kindness, medical miracles, and love that are the icing on the cake for every news anchor, and every news organization.

Angie.JPG

These days a typical news anchor does not just come in and read the news – at least that’s not what my job entailed. We are professional multi-taskers – we write, we edit, we report, we share news ideas, we produce, and we read the news. In a nutshell that is what I did, and still do, each and every broadcast. There is a lot of pressure to deliver the best, most accurate, most informative newscast on the air. Yes we do compete with other stations and one of our biggest challenges is telling the same story everyone else is, but with more information, and new information, to keep the viewers tune in to us. It all begins with that perfect intro to each story – that is the grabber that keeps the viewers wanting to tune in – how we tease and introduce the next story. Writing that perfect intro is a big part of an anchor’s job and then how we deliver it, is the next key. We must be able to connect with the viewer. We must gain their trust. We must gain their acceptance. If they like you, they will watch, if they trust you, you will always be a part of their daily television routine.

Many say broadcast news and entertainment, well working in TV in general, is a cut throat industry. Well, it can be. We are all striving to get ahead, to get that golden job, but there is so much more than just being on TV – it is the content and those who you work with, is what makes the show gold. The reporters, the producers, news directors, writers, researchers, floor directors, control room staff, make up artists, assignment desk, cameraman, and editors – as news anchor you need to work well with all of these people. You are part of a big team. Although it is your face on the screen, you cannot do your job without all these people. Get rid of the diva, and respect your team – that is my mantra – it has been very successful.

There are pros and cons to being a news anchor- you really need to know your news content. Often we do live interviews, and the key is listening to what your interviewer is saying in addition to what your producer is telling you in your ear. You have to make that interview flow, make sense, be accountable, interesting, informative, and NOT boring. Often an interviewee will say something and if you are not listening, you can often miss the boat on what could be one of the biggest interviews of that day. The last thing you want is for another news station to pick up on it and run with it. As a news anchor you have to be on the ball at all times – dealing with breaking news, technical issues, interviews, live hits, updates to stories on the fly – that is your job during the newscast – all the writing, reporting, lineup decisions, working with reporters, producer, news directors, editors, etc, all happens before you go live. It is a real skill, but for those that can master it, it is the best roller coaster ride you can take!

To be or not to be a news anchor  - that is entirely up to you. I love my job both as a news anchor and reporter. I love to tell and deliver stories. I love connecting with people, helping them out, and giving them a voice. It is not an easy job, and your name, reputation, career is always on the line. But it is also a line of work with great rewards and satisfaction. “This is Angie Seth, thanks for tuning in. From all of us, here’s wishing you a happy and safe evening. See you again tomorrow night!”

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