How to Anchor Like a Pro

Becoming a successful television anchor or reporter takes time, talent and tenacity. 

Tips for On-Camera Performance

The best in the business don’t become a success overnight.  They spend years toiling away in small markets, working long hours, making very little money.  Students with stars in their eyes are always surprised to hear this, and seem to genuinely appreciate the “real scoop.”

Having said this, there are many practical tips you can teach your students that they can implement right now, and become better newscasters immediately at their schools.  Over a series of articles, I will outline as many as possible, so you can share these tools with your aspiring broadcast journalists.

Get Ready for your Close-up

It may sound trivial, but what you do BEFORE that red light goes on is just as important as your performance behind the desk, or out on a story. 

--Make sure you get enough sleep the night before your newscast.  If you’re tired, it shows.  Bags under the eyes or red, irritated eyes can be distracting.  Also, proper sleeps ensures your best performance.  So get enough ZZZZZ’s before your newscast.

--Get a good haircut!  If your hair looks sloppy, you lose credibility.  Have you ever seen a correspondent on any major news station with disheveled locks?  Didn’t think so.  It might be hip to have your hair falling in your eyes, but it’s not cool for television. Your credibility as a serious newsperson will suffer if you don’t pay attention to good grooming.

--Pick an outfit that’s appropriate for a newscaster.  This doesn’t mean a suit or expensive dress.  It just means look neat and clean:  A crisp shirt for the guys, a not-too-tight or revealing outfit for the girls.  You don’t want to look like a geek, but looking well put-together will help your confidence and your credibility.  And if you feel secure about your appearance, it will shine through.

--Make-up.  I know the guys don’t want to even think about wearing it, but believe me, even the macho men on ESPN’s Sportscenter wear some kind of powder on their face. It takes away shine and simply makes you look better under bright lights.  You can get a cheap little compact at any drugstore and your teacher can help you put it on right the first time.  You can even ask your mom to buy it so you’re not embarrassed!  You can wash it off the minute you get off the anchor desk.  For the young women, don’t overdo it.  Again, watch the broadcasters on any network.  You can certainly tell they’re wearing make-up, but it’s not so much that you look like a clown.  Simple is better.  Play up your eyes with eye shadow, liner and mascara, but just use a little more than you normally would.  And don’t forget the powder!


Ellen Kolodziej has 15 years of broadcast experience, including extensive on-air reporting and anchoring. She's worked at 8 television stations, in Kentucky, Indiana, Minnesota, Georgia and three different cities in Pennsylvania, including her current position as a part-time reporter at NBC 10 in Philadelphia. Ellen received her undergraduate degree in Communication from La Salle University in Philadelphia and her Master's degree in Journalism from Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana. She is also an adjunct professor at La Salle University, where she teaches Public Speaking and Broadcast News Writing.