It’s an unfortunate reality that a good portion of students go into broadcast journalism because they want to be on TV. They dream of being someone like Oprah or of anchoring a newcast because they think it looks fun and easy. They may be right about the fun part, but it’s probably never been easy, and now anchoring is becoming much more demanding.
In an interview with TVNewsday, Susana Schuler, the VP of News for Raycom, said that every anchor at her stations should be reporting.
It keeps them connected to their communities. It gets them engaged in what their audience is interested in. So the anchor role is evolving. Their connection to a community, to the audience remains critical, but their role in the future has to go way beyond their performance in a newscast.
And it’s not just Raycom that’s demanding more from the people on the news set. Recently, a news director at one of the Cox stations was calling for references on a potential anchor and asked only questions about the candidate’s reporting, leadership and mentoring abilities, not about his ability to deliver the news.
So what’s the takeaway from all this? It’s more important than ever for today’s job seekers to be journalists first and to showcase their reporting and storytelling, but it’s also important for those who want to be anchors to look for oportunities to manage newsroom projects or to make time to mentor those with less experience or who lack a certain skill set. Getting that experience and then selling yourself as an anchor who can deliver the goods both on air and off is the key.