News Anchor Job Description
While most often seen presenting the news on live TV, news anchors also work in the background creating news stories, performing interviews and research, and writing stories that appear on the web. They work on a team alongside other anchors, reporters, journalists, editors, and technical professionals at the news station. Working as a news anchor requires a skilled and confident communicator who can work easily with other people and produce engaging content. The newsroom is a fast-paced environment where anchors may work irregular and long hours to research, write, and report breaking news stories while meeting their deadlines. However, less demanding and more flexible work as a freelance or part-time news anchor does exist.
News Anchor Duties and Responsibilities
Specific job duties for news anchors vary based on their employer. However, there are several core tasks common to all news anchors, such as:
Develop Story Ideas
News anchors use the web, radio, and outside reports to learn about what happens locally, nationally, and internationally. Using this information, they collaborate with editors, journalists, and reporters to generate story ideas to post on social media or report on the TV news.
News stations sometimes invite guests from the community to speak about a topic or news event on air. News anchors come up with interview questions to ask these guests and carry out effective interviews to successfully gather the necessary information about the event.
Research and Write News
Along with using the information gathered from interviews, news reporters conduct extensive research on the topics and news events they report. They can then write detailed stories or scripts to read on air or post online.
Report Stories on TV
News anchors go live on television to read the day’s news from their pre-written scripts and conduct on-air interviews. They also offer commentary on the stories and interact with other anchors and reporters during the news program.
Participate on Social Media Sites
In addition to reporting stories on TV, news anchors also engage with viewers on social media websites, such as Facebook and Twitter. They post updates, images, and videos of breaking news events for viewers and sometimes post full news reports as well.
News Anchor Skills and Qualifications
Skilled in making news reports clear, accurate, and engaging, news anchors have a strong background in communications or broadcasting. They usually have a bachelor’s or master’s degree in a communications field and some experience working as a reporter or presenter. Employers seeking news anchors also look for these skills:
- Reporting – whether writing a story or telling it on the air, news anchors report the news clearly and accurately in a way that engages the audience and provides a thorough account of the story or event
- Interviewing – to prepare for interviews thoroughly and conduct the process confidently, news reporters understand interviewing techniques that make interviewees comfortable and willing to answer their questions
- Technical skills – since they use computers and electronic equipment to research, write, and report stories, news reporters know how to use software, social media websites, and audio equipment
- Research skills – they know where to find reliable information to support their stories and how to evaluate sources to determine if they have biased or misleading content
- Communication skills – writing stories, interacting with guests, and telling the news on the air require clear and effective communication
Tools of the Trade
News anchors use these tools to prepare and report the news:
- Productivity software (Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel)
- Audio equipment (microphones, recording equipment)
News Anchor Education and Training
News anchors usually need a bachelor’s degree in journalism, broadcasting, or communications to find employment at news stations. Topics these programs cover include research, journalistic ethics, writing and reporting, interviewing, TV and radio production, and speech. Students often seek work experience at the school’s TV station or complete an internship at a news station for credit. Some employers prefer news anchors with master’s degrees in broadcasting or communications; these programs have more advanced writing, mass media, and public relations coursework.
News Anchor Salary and Outlook
The median yearly pay for news anchors, classified as broadcast news analysts by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), is around $63,000. News anchors in the 10th percentile make around $26,500 annually, and the best-paid anchors receive over $195,500. Those who work full-time for news stations often get health insurance, paid vacation, and retirement benefits that freelance and part-time anchors do not.
The BLS expects news anchor employment not to change much through 2026 and to remain between 5,600 and 5,700 employed. News stations will hire fewer anchors as their revenues decline and they consolidate with other stations to reduce costs and staff. News anchors with broadcasting and multimedia journalism experience will have an advantage seeking work in this competitive field.
Does a news anchor career sound appealing to you? Here are some resources to check out to get started on this path:
Radio Television Digital News Association – TV and radio news staff can join this organization to connect with other news professionals, get discounts on journalism and news anchor training, view webinars, and find work and leadership opportunities locally.
Starting Your Career in Broadcasting: Working On and Off the Air in Radio and Television – Having extensive experience as a radio broadcaster on major networks, author Chris Schneider offers career advice to new radio and TV broadcasters. He covers topics such as preparing for interviews, finding a first job, advancing to work at larger stations, and improving one’s broadcasting skills.
National Association of Broadcasters – This organization advocates for diversity and innovation in TV and radio broadcasting, holding events around the country. It also includes podcasts, webcasts, and educational opportunities to help broadcasting professionals further their careers.
The Elements of Journalism: What Newspeople Should Know and the Public Should Expect – Geared towards both news professionals and the general public, this book offers advice on researching and writing news for the web, print, and live broadcasts. It seeks to help reporters produce useful and higher quality news.
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