Becoming a News Anchor: Job Description & Salary Information

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Get the truth about a news anchor's salary, education requirements and career prospects. Read the job duties and see the pros and cons of becoming a news anchor.
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Pros and Cons of a Becoming a News Anchor

News anchors are also known as broadcast news analysts. Read the pros and cons to help determine if becoming a news anchor is right for you.

Pros of a Becoming a News Anchor
Very high pay potential (top 90% earned yearly salary of about $182,000 or more in 2014)*
Chance to give insights on live television*
Opportunity to cover international topics*
May be able to travel to special events and interview interesting people*

Cons of Becoming a News Anchor
News viewership is on the decline*
Not many available positions (about total 5,800 positions expected by 2022)*
High competition in metropolitan areas*
May be required to work irregular hours as important news happens*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

Career Information

Job Duties

As a news anchor, you can be expected to present current and breaking news in front of a television camera. Some employers may task you with making sure news stories fit within time constraints, analyzing news stories, providing informative insights and covering topics from all over the world. You are also required to ensure accuracy and integrity when reporting. News anchors also provide introductions to journalists, reporters and meteorologists. Some employers may also require you to assume some news producer roles, including writing stories and fact checking.

Career Outlook and Salary

According to the BLS, broadcast news analyst positions are expected to decline (-2%) from 2012-2022. Television and radio stations opting to publish more content online, along with declining advertising revenue, will result in news organizations downsizing and employing fewer journalists. The best opportunities for employment will likely come from local television stations. According to the BLS, in May 2014, workers in this field were estimated to have earned a median salary of about $61,450.

Education Requirements

Most employers require you to have a bachelor's degree in journalism or communications. During a journalism program, you can expect to cover topics in news media ethics, how to incorporate audio and video into broadcasts, source gathering techniques and news writing. When enrolled in a communications program, you can learn how to react to market demands, present persuasive arguments, research stories, present stories to the general public and promote related services.

Useful Skills for News Anchors

To be successful, the most important factor is to be confident enough to be in front of a camera for something that may be seen by many people. You also need to be personable in order to conduct interviews and build relationships with potential viewers. Anchors need to be able to communicate clearly so people can understand what they are saying. The BLS also states that another important skill is being able to provide coverage without injecting a subject with bias. You may find that employers require candidates to possess the following general traits:

  • Previous experience working on television news stories
  • Experience using popular social websites
  • Ability to write stories tailored to news broadcasts
  • Strong oral and written communication skills

Job Posting from Real Employers

Anchor positions can generally be found with companies that have an established news presence. You may be required to understand how to develop stories for webcasts and the Internet. Some employers also prefer anchors who can demonstrate the ability to perform without using a teleprompter. The following examples were gathered from May 2012 job postings:

  • A television station in Baltimore was looking for an anchor who has a good personality and skills to cover events and write news stories. An ability to ad-lib or work off prompter is also required. The station also wanted applicants who had at least three years of anchoring experience.
  • A Sacramento television station was searching for someone able to film news stories and fulfill some journalistic duties. Applicants must have strong leadership and communication skills. The station requires applicants to have a bachelor's degree and two years of experience.
  • A journalism company in Georgia wants to hire an anchor familiar with video editing techniques and producing webcasts. Those interested in the job must demonstrate an interest in current affairs and be able to deliver scripted news and handle ad-lib situations. A bachelor's degree and two years of experience is required.
  • A broadcasting company in Pennsylvania was searching for someone with news production and viewer interaction skills. A bachelor's degree and three years of experience is required. Applicants also need to be skilled in managing and updating social media websites.

How to Make Your Skills Stand out

Although most employers recommend candidates who have earned a communications or journalism bachelor's degree, the BLS states that internships and college news services can provide on-the-job training and give you experience in the field. If you are coming from an unrelated undergraduate program, a master's degree can help you adapt previously learned skills to the field of journalism.

Alternative Career Paths

If you would like avoid working in front of the camera, you may be interested in becoming a writer or author. In this field, you may be tasked with ensuring non-fictional articles are well researched, applying creative resources to develop interesting written materials and incorporating editor feedback for rewrites. Depending on your specialization, you may be able to start a career as a novelist, copywriter, screenwriter, playwright or biographer. If you would like to earn a salaried writing position, you may need to complete a bachelor's degree program in a related field. In May 2011, the BLS estimated that writers earned a median salary of about $56,000.

As a broadcast and sound engineering technician, you may be in charge of synchronizing video and sound, converting recordings to digital files, fixing minor equipment issues, setting up equipment at live events and ensuring broadcast signal clarity. You may be able to find positions specializing in television broadcasting, sound recording, film recording and radio broadcasting. Although some employers may only require a high school education, you may need to complete a vocational certificate or associate's degree program. As of May 2011, the BLS estimated that workers in this field earned a median salary of about $37,000.

Popular Schools

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    1. Full Sail University

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    2. American University

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    3. Purdue University

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      • Master of Science in Communication
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    4. Colorado Christian University

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    5. Johns Hopkins University

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    6. Regent University

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    7. Queens University of Charlotte

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    8. Penn Foster High School

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    9. The Art Institutes

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  • Washington, DC

    Howard University

Featured Schools

Full Sail University

  • M.S. - New Media Journalism
  • Master of Fine Arts - Media Design
  • BS - Sportscasting (Campus)
  • BS - Media Communications (Campus)

What is your highest level of education?

American University

  • Master of Arts in Strategic Communication
  • Master of Arts in Strategic Communication - Advocacy and Social Impact Concentration

What is your highest level of education?

Purdue University

  • Master of Science in Communication

What is your highest level of education?

Colorado Christian University

  • Communication Studies, B.A.
  • Communication Studies, A.A.

What is your highest level of education completed?

Johns Hopkins University

  • Master of Arts in Communication
  • Master of Arts in Science Writing

What is your highest level of education?

Regent University

  • Master of Arts in Journalism
  • Master of Arts in Communication
  • Bachelor of Arts in Communication Studies
  • Bachelor of Arts in Communication Studies - Advertising and Public Relations

What is your highest level of education completed?

Queens University of Charlotte

  • Master of Arts in Communication - General
  • Master of Arts in Communication - Integrated Digital Strategy Concentration
  • Master of Arts in Communication - Undecided

What is your highest level of education completed?

Penn Foster High School

  • HS Diploma

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