The primary responsibility of a news anchor is to present current events to an audience through a news broadcast. A dedicated news program and a general commitment to objectivity distinguish an anchor from a newscaster, who presents brief, bulletin-style reports both between and during other programming, and a commentator, who provides analysis and opinion. As broadcast journalists, news anchors are often directly involved in the compiling, writing and editing of the material they later present on-air. Additionally, news anchors may act as a public face for their networks.
News anchor is an apex position in the field of broadcast journalism, the peak of achievement for many journalists who envision themselves in front of the camera. As such, the position requires at least an undergraduate degree in journalism or communications as well as several years of practical experience. Undergraduate and graduate degree programs typically offer students internship opportunities to help meet minimum requirements by graduation. Aspiring anchors apply for open positions with a reel, a collection of recorded work that represents their abilities and personalities the way a portfolio would for a writer or artist. As with broadcast journalists of all specialties, aspiring anchors expect to begin their careers in positions of limited power in the small media market before working their ways into bigger cities and more competitive jobs.
In addition to education and experience, an anchor must demonstrate a high level of poise in front of the camera, a professional appearance, excellent diction, an ability to collaborate with both an on-air partner and a sizable staff. While anchors typically read from a prepared script or teleprompter, an instinct for improvisation is necessary to interact with an ensemble of correspondents and guests. Additionally anchors are expected to collaborate with producers, who provide constant guidance throughout a broadcast through earpieces.