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What does an Anchorman do?

Jessica Ellis
Updated Feb 04, 2024
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An anchorman is a vital and central figure in many newscasts. With a long and storied history of broadcasts, the position of anchorman or anchorwoman is often highly sought after by many aspiring journalists and correspondents in the news world. The job of a news anchor is to center a broadcast, by balancing reports, making editorial commentary, and serving as the most recognizable face of a news team.

There are many different jobs that an anchor can perform, all long before the show even begins. Anchors are typically highly experienced reporters, with a long background of both schooling and on the ground work as field reporters. Having risen to a position of importance, many anchors have considerable say in the format of a show, the guests chosen to speak, and even the team of reporters bringing nightly stories. This type of job, called editorial control, allows the anchor to serve as a creative figurehead for a broadcast.

Pre-showtime, an anchor may study details on stories, visiting experts and guests, write his or her note cards for the teleprompter, and even rehearse certain parts of the show. Since anchors may conduct interviews during the broadcast, they will often spend time studying up on the person they will interview and the subject at hand. An anchorman may also assist producers in setting the pace of the show, deciding which stories should be reported on and in what order.

During a broadcast, the anchorman has several important jobs. When a show begins, he or she must welcome the viewers and explain the top stories for the evening. An anchorman then introduces the first segment or report, and provides a transition in and out of each news story or segment. If reporters are giving their reports live, the anchor may ask follow-up questions.

If guests are scheduled to appear on the show, the anchor frequently interviews them. These guests may be visiting dignitaries, authors, or experts on a field being examined in the broadcast. Anchors must be able to come up with intelligent and probing questions to ask, walking a fine line between journalistic drive and courtesy.

When news breaks suddenly, an anchorman typically directs operations on the air. He or she must improvise commentary and read breaking details live. This job requires an understanding of improvisation, as the anchor will have little or no time to prepare for a new story that occurs during the broadcast.

At the end of a broadcast, an anchorman may make a personal or editorial statement about the news of the day. These comments are typically meant to give the anchor's perspective on the news that has preceded, serving as a context for viewers to consider all the information they have received. At the end of a broadcast, an anchorman usually thanks the reporters and guests for contributing, and bids the viewers farewell.

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Jessica Ellis
By Jessica Ellis
With a B.A. in theater from UCLA and a graduate degree in screenwriting from the American Film Institute, Jessica Ellis brings a unique perspective to her work as a writer for WiseGeek. While passionate about drama and film, Jessica enjoys learning and writing about a wide range of topics, creating content that is both informative and engaging for readers.
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Jessica Ellis
Jessica Ellis
With a B.A. in theater from UCLA and a graduate degree in screenwriting from the American Film Institute, Jessica Ellis...
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