News Anchor Job Description and Career Profile

Job Description, Requirements and Salary

News anchor
A news anchor at the desk. DreamPictures / The Image Bank / Getty Images

A news anchor presents news stories on radio and television news broadcasts. He or she introduces reporters' videotaped and live reports, analyzes and selects stories, and interviews guests. News anchors are usually required to have a presence on social media. He or she may also have to report on the air from remote locations.

Quick Facts About News Anchors

  • In 2014, they earned a median salary of $61,450 annually or $29.54 per hour. 
  • 6,000 people worked in this occupation in 2012.
  • News anchors work for television and radio networks, and local stations.
  • The job outlook isn't very promising. Employment is expected to decline through 2024.

How to Become a News Anchor

  • While there aren't any specific educational requirements for entry into this occupation, most employers prefer to hire those who have a bachelor's degree in journalism or communications.
  • While you are still in school, get experience by working on your student newspaper, or tv or radio station.
  • Your first job or jobs will likely be at tv and radio stations in small local markets. You will probably begin your career as a reporter.

What Soft Skills Do You Need to Succeed in This Career?

  • Speaking: As an anchor, your goal is getting people to understand the stories you are bringing to them.
  • Active Listening: You must be able to understand the news stories reporters out in the field are delivering.
  • Writing: As a news anchor, you may have to write your own material, especially in smaller markets. If you start off as a reporter, as you very likely will, you will also have to write.
  • Social Perceptiveness: This skill will allow you to anticipate your viewers' reactions to stories.
  • Reading Comprehension: A great deal of written material will cross your desk, and you will need to be able to understand it.

    The Downside of Life as a News Anchor

    • There will be a lot of competition for jobs, and you will probably have to relocate to be able to take advantage of the few opportunities there are.
    • You may have to cover stories from dangerous, remote locations.
    • You may have to work evenings, weekends and holidays.
    • The race to be the first on the air with breaking news means anchors often have to show up for work on short notice.

    Common Misconceptions

    • News anchors are famous: Very few news anchors become household names. Most spend their entire careers working in small markets.
    • Anchors are just news readers: Some anchors merely read the news, but many others must investigate stories before they can report on them.
    • You will have professional hair stylists and makeup artists tending to you before you go on the air: Most on-air personalities do their own hair and makeup.
    • You will have beautiful clothes provided for you: It is more likely you will have to choose and purchase your own clothing.

    What Will Employers Expect From You?

    Here are some requirements from actual job announcements found on Indeed.com:

    • "Strong writing and editorial skills"
    • " Work under deadline and on a flexible schedule, that will include evenings and/or weekends"
    • "Strong ability to improvise properly in a live on-camera setting"
    • "Must possess a strong understanding of daily newscast content"
    • "Ability to work well with production staff in a variety of situations"
    • "Prepare and anchor news at times determined by the station's needs"

    Is This Occupation a Good Fit for You?

      Related Occupations

       DescriptionMedian Annual Wage (2014)Required Education/Training
      ReporterInvestigates and delivers news stories to the public$36,000Bachelor's Degree, usually in journalism or communications
      Program DirectorCoordinates activities at a television or radio station$69,100Bachelor's Degree in communications
      Writer or EditorWriters produce content for print, broadcast or online media; Editors select content for broadcast or publication.

      $58,850 (writers)

      $54,890 (editors)

      Bachelor's Degree in communications, journalism or English preferred

      Sources:
      Bureau of Labor Statistics, US Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 (visited November 12, 2015).
      Employment and Training Administration, US Department of Labor, O*NET Online  (visited November 12, 2015).