This lesson we shall deal with the presentation techniques for an effective news program. And also deal with the principles required to learn in order to become a good presenter or anchor.
After going through this lesson, you should be able to:
- Describe the skills for TV news anchor.
- Describe the principles and concept of anchoring Live show.
An anchor is a person who hosts a show or a program. We can also say that anchor is the compare of a program. An anchor plays a very important role in broadcasting a program. Anchors can attract the viewers and keep them tuned to the program that he or she is anchoring. Anchors can attract viewers by their charming personality and speaking skills. The anchor should sound very confident while speaking to their audience.
At the networks the TV news anchors present the news. You know the people – the ones sitting there behind a desk (or in the field) telling you what’s happening in the world that day. Whether broadcasting from a small local station or manning one of the network’s primetime broadcasts TV news anchors compile news stories and deliver them.
A news anchor is a television personality who presents material prepared for a news program and at times must improvise commentary for live presentation. The term is primarily used in the United States and Canada. Many news anchors are also involved in writing and/or editing the news for their programs. Sometimes news anchors interview guests and moderate panels or discussions. And some provide commentary for the audience during parades and other events.
Anchoring is the art of finding and delivering the best possible expression to any given content. It includes factors such as use of language, shot composition, choice and selection of relevant details, and an interesting and engaging way of presenting one’s subject matter. In other words, it is the skill of capturing and holding the interest of the audience.
Skills for TV News Anchor
Being a news anchor requires a number of skills, the first of which is a comfort in front of the camera. There’s an element of show business in the job of a news anchor — not only do you need to be comfortable in front of the camera but you need to make people want to watch you. Few more skills are given below:
- Knowledge base: An understanding of issues, names, geography, history and the ability to put all of these in perspective for viewers.
- Ability to process new information: Sorting, organizing, prioritizing and retaining massive amounts of incoming data.
- Ethical compass: Sensitivity to ethical land mines that often litter the field of live breaking news — unconfirmed information, graphic video, words that potentially panic, endanger public safety or security.
- Command of the language: Dead-on grammar, syntax, pronunciation, tone and storytelling — no matter how stressed or tired the anchor or reporter may be.
- Interviewing finesse: An instinct for what people need and want to know, for what elements are missing from the story, and the ability to draw information by skillful, informed questioning and by listening.
- Mastery of multitasking: Take in a producer’s instructions via an earpiece while scanning new information from computer and other sources.
- Appreciation of all roles: An understanding of the tasks and technology that go into the execution of a broadcast, the ability to roll with changes and glitches, and anticipate all other professionals involved.
- Acute sense of timing: The ability to condense or expand one’s speech on demand, to sense when a story needs refreshing or recapping.
- Writing Your Script Most importantly: write your script to be spoken, not read. Keep in mind that your audience will hear your words rather than see them, so it’s important to write in a way that when spoken it sounds natural.
- Smile: Smiling is perhaps the simplest way to connect with your audience. The warmth of a smile is a must at the very least at the beginning and very end of your performance
- Maintain Eye Contact: The magic of the teleprompter is that it enables you to look directly into the camera lens, creating the illusion of eye contact with your audience. Take full advantage of this by not looking away. Your continuous gaze really does engage your audience. Eye movements away from the camera can make you look a little bit ‘shifty’.
Roles of News Anchor
An anchor performs a wide variety of roles in a news organization. Apart from the skills that he or she is expected to have and inculcate, an anchor constantly learns on the job.
The News Gathering Part of the Job
How much reporting is involved in an anchor’s job is dependent on where the anchor works and what type of broadcast they work on. Some anchors, especially at local news stations, will report their own stories (perhaps with help from a producer or other staffer), and write the scripts they then transmit on the air. In that sense, an anchor works very much like a reporter with the main difference being that they need to craft the story in a way that works for television.
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Handling Breaking Newswithout a Teleprompter
Handling breaking news is an essential part of 24×7 news. When you are rushing to the studio to anchor breaking news, grab all the available information you can. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. You will probably be busy throwing on your make up and tying your tie. Have someone print you out the latest wire copy or jot down the latest facts.
Do not wait for someone else to write a script for you. That will just delay your appearance on the air. Being first is paramount with breaking news. Good anchors get on the air first and look like they prepared all day. Besides, reading another writer’s script cold on the air won’t be convincing. Digest the facts yourself and convey them like a pro.
Reading a Teleprompter
Reading a Teleprompter effectively is a lot more difficult than many people think. First of all, most people don’t read aloud as well as they think they do. Add to that the difficulties of the sentences being cut up to two or three words per line and those lines moving at a distance while you have lights in your face. Meanwhile there are thousands, maybe millions, of people watching you closely. Deal with all this while appearing to not to be reading at all.
Use the teleprompter as a guide. Do not try to read every word exactly as it is written on the teleprompter. Every anchor makes mistakes. Sometimes words are misspelled. Occasionally a long word will be cut in half because it is too long for a line. Whatever the problem, if you get lost in your script you will fall apart on camera.
Television Anchor Makeup
Women are better equipped to deal with anchor makeup for the simple reason that they are used to applying makeup. Women will only need to make a few adjustments to their makeup routine while men must start from scratch.
Any men who have a problem wearing makeup while anchoring need to get over it fast. Television cameras and bright lights will change your appearance drastically. They will wash you out, flatten your features, and bring out all the imperfections in your skin. The most manly men you see on television are wearing makeup. You should too.
Anchor wardrobe should always start with solid colors. The goal is to minimize too many conflicting visual images in your clothing when you anchor a television newscast. Begin with a solid suit or dress shirt. Women can wear solid suits, sweaters or blouses.
Pay attention to the collar. Collars are very important on TV. When you appear in a “head and shoulders” shot, your collar frames your face. If your collar spreads apart wide, it will make your face appear wider. If your collar is long, pointed and close together it will make your face appear slimmer. Since TV makes most people look heavier than they are, most people should wear longer point collars. The same thing applies to lapels. Wide lapels widen. Thin lapels make you appear slimmer.
Punch up your outfit with a splash of color. A bright tie or scarf will brighten your face without distracting. Go ahead and be bold with red, orange or purple. Even if it seems “over the top” in person, it won’t appear so bright on the TV news.
Breaking News Live Shows
No skill is more vital to the worth of a television news reporter than their ability to do a breaking news live shot. They must be able to roll up to a scene, gather as much information as they can in a matter of minutes, then deliver a live report as if he had all day to prepare. They key to a great breaking news live shot is preparation in the face of limited time and resources. Don’t try to do it all on your own. Utilize all newsroom resources to gather information. The assignment editor who sent you to the breaking news live shot should have some details. This may only be what and where the breaking news happened. Press the assignment desk to get you more information as you head to and prepare for your live shot. Ask them to pull background information and file video. Biographies and historical accounts are useful. The details can help you fill time when you don’t have anything new to say.
Points keep in mind during anchoring live show
- When you arrive on the scene, finding witnesses is your first priority. They are sound bite gold. After that, seek police and other officials. They are less desirable interviews but will do if you have nothing else. If no one seems to know what is going on, look for neighbours who can put things into context. They can tell you that the incident happens all the time or is unusual for the neighbourhood.
- If you have time, use one of these people as an interview in your breaking news live shot. If you have a producer or intern with you, send them out to canvas the area. While you are preparing to be on the air they can gather more information and find potential interview subjects.
- Write down your bullet points. You don’t have time to write a script so just outline the points you want to make in your live shot. Keep everything simple, straightforward and logical. Start with the latest breaking news. It may sound obvious but many reporters fail to start with what is new. Only then should you give background and establish context. The chronologic approach is not always the best way to tell the story.
- Tell viewers what you don’t know. Reporters often do breaking news live shots without knowing any facts. In local TV news it is more important to get on the air first than to have all the details. If you are missing important facts that are essential to the story, explain that you don’t know but are working to find out. It is a great way to tease that you are advancing the story for a future newscast. Viewers appreciate this. If you are missing an obvious fact but don’t mention it they will wonder why.
- Once you are done telling your story… stops. Don’t talk too much. Reporters often lose track of what they are saying in breaking news live shots and start to yammer. Often a reporter will do a great breaking news live shot only to ruin it by dragging it on too long.
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