Should I Become a Television News Anchor?
Television news anchors notify the public about breaking headlines and current news events. During live broadcasts, they introduce field and in-studio reporters who provide additional news information on specific stories. Anchors may also interview professionals who have opinions or facts relating to a story.
Working as a television news anchor allows a person to consistently be on camera and viewed by audiences. However, the job comes with long hours and constant deadlines. Teamwork is key, and physical stamina is needed for the position. Professionals who start at a smaller news station can eventually work their way up to a large news provider.
|Degree Level||Bachelor's degree|
|Degree Fields||Broadcast, journalism, mass communications|
|Experience||Internship or college newspaper experience|
|Key Skills||Excellent verbal, written, improvisational, and interviewing skills; ability to engage with audiences and interact with reporters and guests; persistence and objectivity; physical stamina; team player; professional image and attire; knowledge of social media; use of video editing software, teleprompters, and broadcast and newsroom equipment|
|Salary||$65,530 (2015 median wage for broadcast news analysts)|
Sources: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Monster.com and CareerBuilder.com job postings (August 2015)
A bachelor's degree in broadcast journalism or mass communications is required in order to become a news anchor. Internships or college newspaper experience can be extremely beneficial with this position. Key skills needed in order to be a successful news anchor are excellent verbal and written skills, ability to engage audiences and interact with reporters and guests, persistence, physical stamina, objectivity, improvisation, teamwork, interviewing skills, knowledge of social media, professional image and attire, and experience with video editing software, teleprompters, and broadcast and newsroom equipment. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary for broadcast news analysts in 2015 was $65,530.
Step 1: Obtain a Bachelor's Degree
Many employers prefer news anchors with a bachelor's degree in broadcast journalism, mass communication, or journalism, although communications and similar majors are acceptable. The coursework for these programs is liberal arts-based with a mixture of writing classes and speech classes. If specializations or minors are available in broadcasting, a student may need to complete the applicable classes in order to become familiar with television news and production.
Participate in school programs to gain experience. The first real news experience many students get is through school programs. Many schools have a school newspaper, and some have radio or television stations as well. These extracurricular activities introduce students to the news business and can be added to their resume. Additionally, participating on a debate team can help a student develop a confident and clear speaking voice.
Complete an internship to gain field experience. In addition to working with school programs, future news anchors may consider hands-on experience at a news station. Many news stations hire interns over the summer or part-time during the semester. These internships offer a practical outlet where a student can learn and understand how the television news field operates before pursuing a full-time career. While working in these internships, students can acquire and develop work contacts for future use.
Step 2: Work in the Field
A student is prepared to find employment as a news anchor with a strong educational background, work experience, and contacts in the news and television industry. Many news anchors start with small news stations or in branch offices in local areas. After working in these smaller locations, a news anchor can develop a good reputation and pursue promotional opportunities at bigger nationwide news stations.
Employers typically look for anchors with one to three years of professional experience, so students may need to work as reporters to build the necessary experience. Reporters may sometimes have the opportunity to fill in for absent anchors. When applying for a news anchor position, a DVD reel of previous on-air experiences is typically needed.
Step 3: Consider Earning a Master's Degree
While not required for employment, completing a master's degree program will provide students with additional training in the field. Master's degrees are available in broadcast journalism and communications. Candidates with graduate degrees typically have a competitive advantage when seeking job opportunities or advancements.
Television news anchors must have a bachelor's degree in broadcast journalism or communications, relevant internship experience, and work experience in smaller fields in order to work their way up and become successful. Hard work, perseverance, objectivity, and exceptional verbal and written skills are just a few of the skills needed in order to be successful in this field.