The career path of a TV news anchor
TV news anchor positions combine journalism and entertainment. These jobs are very high-profile, as news anchors become the "face" of the TV station they represent. In addition to delivering the news on live television broadcasts, many news anchors also offer commentary, go on location to research news stories or conduct interviews, and write the copy they read on the air.
Educational Requirements for TV Anchors and TV News Reporters
Students who hope to obtain news anchor jobs usually pursue an undergraduate degree in communications or journalism. Typical courses of study include journalism, mass media, ethics and various other humanities and liberal arts classes. Television stations in large metropolitan areas may prefer news reporters who have specialized degrees in subjects like business, political science or economics. News anchors should also enroll in voice training, as they must learn to modulate their voices and reduce or eliminate accents so they can be easily understood by their viewership.
There are over 100 educational institutions in the United States with credentials approved by the Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communications. Some of these schools also offer advanced degrees. A graduate degree can help you advance more quickly in your chosen field.
At the high school level, focusing on courses in English, social studies, media studies and journalism can provide a strong foundation for college training. Other useful high school courses for those considering a news anchor career are business, computer science, foreign languages and dramatic arts.
News Anchor Job Prospects
Recent college graduates are very rarely offered a news anchor position. Most start out as interns or entry-level news reporters, then work their way up to a newscaster position and, finally, to the prestigious anchor position. It is common for news reporters, newscasters and anchors to start out working for broadcasters in smaller markets, gradually working their way up to TV stations in larger metropolitan areas.
Newscasters at larger television stations often specialize in one branch of news, such as community affairs, weather or sports. Similarly, news reporters usually specialize in fields such as local politics, health, consumer affairs or business. Investigative news reporters work on pieces which require intensive research, and they may take days or weeks to gather all the information they need to complete the story.
To some extent, the number of broadcasting jobs available to news reporters and anchors is sensitive to the general economy and its upswings and downturns. The broadcasting industry depends heavily on advertising revenues, and when businesses scale back promotional expenditures, TV stations feel the pinch.