may be the managers of shows, but anchors are viewed as the leaders. How you carry yourself and treat those around you carries a tremendous amount of weight. When I started in the business a lot of anchors could be condescending and made it clear they had it better (and were better) than anyone else. That changed over the years as more people wanted to get TV jobs, the trend became having younger anchors on television, then the economy crashed. Salaries for anchors went down. Now anchors are not considered the “gods of the newsroom” as much anymore on many levels. But, anchors, do not underestimate your influence.
Over the years I watched many extremely talented anchors roll up their sleeves and take on more and more responsibilities. Now promoting the station through social media is a huge task. Many anchors work with local newspapers, magazines and/or radio stations to increase the station’s exposure. Anchors are truly taking on more than a figurative leadership role. They truly are out there every day working their tails off to prove their station is worth watching.
With that kind of pressure, can come hot tempers. I saw an increase in frustrated anchors complaining on set about bad writing, a bad camera cue, even openly criticizing management during commercial breaks. Some anchors started coming into work late because they didn’t appreciate the longer hours. Some snuck out for long meal breaks bragging management is too disorganized to notice. Quick heads up: Management hears! Your coworkers are the ones turning you in. There is a growing desire to see everyone working hard for their paychecks. And this might surprise you, but anchors are often held in the same regard as management itself. Sometimes the expectation for anchors is not fair. There are elements to the performance part of their jobs other news positions cannot relate to. Still, acting like a diva in these economic times would be the worst thing for an anchor right now.
So how do you win over the news staff without burning yourself out before you step on the set? The top thing, cheerlead. Remember, leaders are the people you come to for advice and support. Be the supportive ear as much as you can for the entire staff.
This may sound silly, but it is very effective. Show appreciation with simple gestures like an email saying “Thanks for the hard work this week.” when you know everyone really went through the grinder. If a reporter did a great job on a story, send a quick text complimenting the work. At the end of a sweeps period, that was intense, bring in donuts. Treats like food go a long way toward winning friends and influencing news people. These gestures are so rare, they are really relished. It shows you understand everyone grinds all day and you appreciate their blood, sweat and tears. Remember, you are often lumped in as a type of management by the staff. It comes with the leadership element of your job.
Finally avoid the long breaks and coming in late for the weekend shift because you think management won’t know anyway. Get to work a few minutes early, smile on your face and be excited about the day. If you hear grumbling remind everyone things will work out. This kind of role model is rare in news. It is needed. You will win allies. Maybe a whole newsroom’s worth all watching your back in return.