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What does a News Presenter do?

By Steve R.
Updated: Mar 03, 2024

A news presenter, also known as a newscaster or anchorman, is a professional who communicates the news as accurately and simply as possible to the public on television or on the radio. Working both journalists and broadcast specialists, news presenters use their sources and go through data to present the news and control programming. A news presenter may have a specific area of expertise or be a generalist. To become a news presenter, a college degree is often required.

Duties may vary, depending on the size of the station, but a newscaster is generally responsible for introducing footage and live feeds from reporters. Typically, a news presenter will read news off of a teleprompter, which gives him the appearance of looking directly at the audience. A broadcaster may have a field that he specializes in, such as local news, sports, entertainment, or business.

A news presenter may be responsible for presenting breaking news, and often needs to think quickly and be able to adapt on the fly. The duties of a newscaster may also include presenting the news at remote locations, putting together segments that air at a later time, or reading the news on air. Many news presenters are generalists who perform a combination of duties, including writing, investigating, reporting, and conducting live remotes. When not on camera, news presenters spend time talking with sources to gather the news, as well as ensuring the accuracy of reports.

To be successful, a news presenter needs good communication skills, including an easily understandable on-air delivery. He also needs to appear trustworthy, as well as professional and tidy. Other important skills include good organizational abilities, the capability of meeting deadlines, and the capacity to stay up to date on recent topics and fads. A newscaster will typically work irregular and long hours, as most newscasts are either early in the morning or late in the evening.

Most news presenters have a bachelor’s degree in journalism or broadcasting. Typically, a broadcaster will have gained experienced working at a high school or college newspaper or interning at a television or radio station. Helpful college courses along the way to becoming a broadcaster include mass media, public speaking, and television and radio production. Salary will vary tremendously, depending on location, the size of the audience market, and duties performed. Jobs in broadcasting are competitive, and most positions are found in metropolitan markets.

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Discussion Comments
By stoneMason — On Apr 15, 2014

@Lostnfound-- Although being patient and loyal to a channel are factors that help someone become a news presenter, I think it has to do with personality and talent as well. If you don't have the skills and talent to present news in a way that make people want to listen to you, I don't think you can be one. A news presenter doesn't just read the news, he or she also makes it interesting. One may work at a news channel for years and never get the opportunity to be a news presenter. So it's important to be right for the job.

By literally45 — On Apr 15, 2014

@SarahGen-- I don't think so, at least not usually. If the news presenter also a part of the team who prepares the news, then he or she will have a say obviously. But the news presenters are usually not involved in that team. They just present the news and they have to read whatever is given to them.

There are news presenters who do commentary on the news items they present. So they may read the news and then say a few sentences about what they think.

So I suppose what a news presenter does or can do depends on the newscaster, the news channel and what the expectations are.

By SarahGen — On Apr 15, 2014

Do news presenters have any say in the news they present? For example, can they decide that they don't want to present a particular new piece?

By Lostnfound — On Apr 02, 2014

Every news presenter I know started out as a cub reporter covering wrecks and garden shows and the like. Being an anchor is one of the top jobs at a TV station. You work your way up.

Some people would rather remain reporters and do anchor work occasionally, while for other reporters, getting the news presenter spot is their goal. It's usually one of the highest paid jobs in the TV newsroom, right next to the producer, director or news editor.

One of the local news presenters in my area has been with the same station for about 30 years. This station doesn't have a great deal of turnover, and they tend to keep people for a while. But this guy started fresh out of college, covering bad wrecks and feature pieces.

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