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News anchors specialize in presenting the news to the listening or viewing public. They report the facts and may sometimes be asked to provide editorial commentary. They may write their own scripts or rely on the station's writing team to write the script, which they then read over the TelePrompTer. Research is important to each news story and the news anchors should be well-informed about each story they cover as well as those they simply introduce. News anchors may also report the news, produce special segments, and conduct on-the-air interviews and panel discussions. At small stations, they may even keep the program log, run the transmitter, and cue the changeover to network broadcasting.
News anchors are faced with constant deadlines, not only for each newscast to begin, but also for each one to end. Each segment must be viewed and each script must be read at the precise time and for a specified duration during the newscast. While they must appear calm, professional, and confident, there is often much stress and tension behind the scenes.
Although they perform similar jobs, radio and television news anchors work in very different atmospheres. On radio, the main announcers or anchorpeople are also the disc jockeys. They play recorded music, announce the news, provide informal commentary, and serve as a bridge between the music and the listener. They announce the time, weather, news, and traffic reports while maintaining a cheerful and relaxed attitude. At most stations, the radio announcers also read advertising information or provide the voices for the advertising spots.
For television news anchors, research, writing, and presenting the news is only part of the job. Wardrobe, make-up, and presentation are major components of a television anchor's job. Many details, such as which hairstyles and which outfits to wear, are important to create an effective look for the news.
Some radio or television news anchors specialize in certain aspects of the news such as health, economics, politics, or community affairs. Other anchors specialize in sports. These people cover sports events and must be highly knowledgeable about the sports they are covering as well as having an ability to describe events quickly and accurately as they unfold. Sports anchors generally travel to the events they cover and spend time watching the teams or individuals practice and participate. They research background information, statistics, ratings, and personal interest information to provide the audience with the most thorough and interesting coverage of each sports event.
The Internet and the World Wide Web are changing the job of news anchors in radio and television. Many radio and television stations have their own Web sites where listeners and viewers can keep updated on current stories, e-mail comments and suggestions, and even interact with the anchors and reporters. Also, the World Wide Web has become another resource for anchors as they research their stories.
Because their voices and faces are heard and seen by the public on a daily basis, many radio and television news anchors become well-known public personalities. This means that they are often asked to participate in community activities and other public events.