How to Anchor a TV Newscast

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Anchoring a TV Newscast is very different than reporting for one. Anchoring involves very different talents than reporting. It is far more complex than simply reading and looking good. Anchors must be effective communicators while multitasking and processing an avalanche of information constantly bombarding them.

  • Don't try to sound like a TV news anchor. Forget all the movie images and stereotypes you absorbed over the years about TV news anchors. If you try to change your voice and delivery to sound like what you think an anchor sounds like, you will appear ridiculous. Good anchors deliver the news in a sincere and believable way. You still need to project and deliver with authority, but it should be in your own way.

  • Connect with your stories. Anchors communicate. You should know your material and be thinking about what you are saying while telling the story. If you are too focused on the words in front of you, it will sound like you are reading. If your teleprompter goes out, you will not know what you are talking about. Think about the story you are telling and you will be able to talk about it with confidence even if something goes wrong. Since things often go wrong during live newscasts, it is important for all anchors to develop ad lib skills.

  • Tell your stories in an active voice. Have energy and enthusiasm in what you are talking about. Most viewers watch the news passively. They aren't paying much attention to what's going on. The TV is usually on in the background while they do something else. The anchor's job is to get a passive viewer to pay attention. Use that active persuasive voice to convince the audience that your story is worth listening to.

  • Relax. Anchoring isn't brain surgery. No one will die if you mess up. Viewers will sense any fear so you must be relaxed and natural. This is especially true when things go wrong during a newscast. The anchor must be calm and collected at all times. Good anchors keep going when there are problems and the audience often doesn't realize there was a mistake. Be the pillar of confidence even while the world is crashing down around you.

  • Look the part. Viewers expect news anchors to exude confidence and class. Dress professionally not provocatively. Don't make your wardrobe the focus. Stick to solid colors with splashes of bright accessories, such as ties or jewelry. Avoid complex patterns and stripes. The camera doesn't like them. Hair and makeup should also be classy. If viewers tune in and immediately wonder what you did to your hair they won't be paying attention to what you are saying.

  • Be aware of the cameras. During a show you can pop up on camera any time. This is true while others are talking and even during commercials. Don't do or say anything that you don't want the whole world to observe. Always be aware of what camera shot is coming up next. You can make natural transitions turning from a two shot camera to your solo camera if you know what is expected. Nothing looks worse than an anchor reading to the wrong camera.

  • Work with your co-anchor. If you have a partner, it is important to make natural transitions when you hand off stories. Listen to what your co-anchor is saying. If you listen then you will have the appropriate tone of voice when transitioning to your story. It will be painfully obvious to viewers that you were not listening if you come off a tragic story sounding happy and insensitive. Listening also allows you to chat intelligently on two shots. Bad anchors say inappropriate things during two shots because they didn't listen to the story they are commenting on.

  • Adapt to every situation. There are lots of things going on during a newscast. Breaking news, technical problems and unexpected glitches force anchors to constantly adjust. Anchors need to handle everything with grace and confidence. Don't get upset or frustrated. Viewers don't care why things go wrong. All they see is your melt down. They won't blame you for other people's mistakes as long as you seem to be taking it in stride. Remember, it is your face up there.

  • Don't freak out.

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