Become an Anchorman: Step-by-Step Career Guide

Research the requirements to become an anchorman. Learn about the job description and read the step-by-step process to start a career in news anchoring. View article »

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  • 0:03 Should I Become a News Anchor?
  • 0:54 Career Requirements
  • 1:24 Steps to Becoming a…

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Video Transcript

Should I Become a News Anchor?

An anchorman, more commonly referred to as a news anchor, investigates, writes, and reports the news for television news outlets. Sometimes, they may act as the public face of a station's newscast. The glamour of the broadcast industry makes this job highly competitive, but news anchors often put in years of experience working as reporters or working in smaller markets before they can advance to being the face of a station's news program. They may also have to work irregular shifts to report on early morning or late night news. A willingness to relocate often and work long hours is often needed to succeed in this position. Prospective television news anchors often prepare to work in the field by completing a bachelor's program and internships.

Career Requirements

Degree Level Bachelor's degree (required)
Degree Field Journalism, communication, or a related field
Experience Internships; demo reel
Key Skills Communication, objectivity, and people skills, persistence, stamina
Median Salary (2015) $65,530 (for broadcast news analysts)

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)

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  • Broadcast Journalism
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Steps to Becoming a News Anchor

Step 1: Earn an Undergraduate Degree

According to the BLS, candidates seeking entry-level positions in broadcast television newsrooms usually need an undergraduate degree in a communications-related field, such as journalism or broadcasting. The BLS states that some experience is usually required to acquire an entry-level position in news reporting, so students may want to complete an internship while earning their undergraduate degree. Work experience, technical knowledge, and hands-on experience can also be garnered by working for a campus radio or television station. Bachelor's degree programs in broadcasting, journalism, or mass communication offer courses in public opinion, media ethics and law, communications history, and reporting specialties.

Success Tip

  • Create a demo reel. In addition to a regular resume, broadcasting job candidates must usually submit an 8-10 minute long resume tape or DVD showcasing their journalistic capabilities. Usually, this reel consists of an introduction and a brief montage of the individual's live reporting. Students often create a resume reel as a course assignment or in a capstone course using clips from their work at college stations, internships, or entry-level jobs.

Step 2: Gain Experience

The BLS reports that applicants with hands-on job experience usually have an edge when searching for jobs because employers view them as generally requiring less on-the-job training than applicants who lack experience. Working for a college radio or television station as a paid employee, unpaid volunteer, or as part of a degree program helps students gain experience producing content for audiences, using studio equipment, and becoming comfortable as an on-air personality. Also, news organizations may have summer, part-time or intern positions available outside of undergraduate degree programs that provide hands-on work experience.

Step 3: Professional Entry and Advancement

Entering the broadcast news industry usually means starting at the bottom, typically in a small station or market. This may require that individuals work as an assistant or associate producer, news writer, or camera operator. Candidates may have to prove their abilities behind the scenes before being allowed to work in front of the camera, and may be asked to work as a writer, reporter, editor, or producer.

The BLS reports that entry-level reporters and correspondents can work their way up the industry by gaining experience. This experience may also lead to opportunities for individuals to move from a small-town news station to a big-city production. Working in a large metropolitan area may make it more likely that an individual will work as a news anchor in the future.

Hopeful news anchors should earn their bachelor's degree in journalism or communication, gain experience through internships or through working at their college radio or television station, then enter the professional field in an entry-level position and work their way up to news anchor.

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