How to Become a News Anchor in 2022: Career Path Guide

Last Updated: June 16th, 2022 by Noah Shaw

There’s far too much going on every day.

Yet, even with everyone’s quick access to information, people still rely on news anchors to understand what’s happening in the world.

This guide will walk you through how to become a news anchor. You’ll learn what it takes to get yourself in that role, plus your responsibilities and the salaries you can earn.

Visit our Career Guide for a list of all our job insights for an in depth look at the new career path you are considering.

Job Description

As a news anchor, your job is to gather information on current events that’ll interest your audience.

You’ll accomplish that with the help of team members like researchers and other reporters.

You’ll then have to analyze the information you and your team have gathered. Then, finally, you can present a summarized version that your audience can understand quickly.

At regular intervals throughout the day, you’ll go live to broadcast the news you’ve gathered and prepared.

Occasionally, you’ll be interviewing guests to share their insights on current events with your audience.

What Does an Average Day for a News Anchor Look Like?

Before you decide to learn how to become a news anchor, you should find out if you’ll enjoy the day-to-day job tasks.

Here’s what an average day will look like for you in this role:

Select Stories for the Day

Your role doesn’t function in a vacuum. Instead, you’ll work alongside a team consisting of reporters, editors, and several other functions.

Together, you’ll start your day by selecting which stories you’ll present during your limited time on the air. 

The stories you choose will likely include a combination of current affairs, sports, weather, and perhaps a feel-good piece.

Analyze the Day’s Stories

After you and your team decide which stories are to be reported on, you’ll then spend a part of your day analyzing the facts surrounding those stories.

Some of the information you need will be passed to you by others like field reporters and researchers.

However, you can also do your digging to find out essential facts that hopefully none of your competitors at other stations is aware of.

Interview Guests

Some stories will involve you interviewing guests directly on the show. These might be people who are directly involved with the story, like community leaders and politicians.

Besides them, you’ll also interview experts who can give your viewers more clarity by sharing their insights.

Introduce Recorded or Live Reports

As a news anchor, you’ll spend most of your time in the studio. However, your colleagues in the field will contribute their part to the news you’re presenting.

You’ll lead the news broadcast by introducing your colleagues and their news pieces in your role. 

Those pieces could be pre-recorded and edited stories or live broadcasts direct from where an event took place.

Then, you’ll conclude the story and direct the viewer’s attention to the next item you need to present.

Maintain Presence On Social Media

Your employers will expect you to maintain a presence on social media channels like Twitter and others in this day and age.

The goal here is to establish yourself and your station as credible and timely news sources.

Your social media feed allows you to bring attention to the stories you’ll present during your regularly scheduled broadcast.

Process for Becoming a News Anchor

Your journey to learn how to become a news anchor will involve a balance of classroom learning and hands-on experience.

Here’s what the process will look like for you:

1. Start Preparing in High School

If you’re still in high school, you can get a head start on your journey to becoming a newsreader.

The Illinois Career Information System (CIS) points out that you can take helpful high school courses like:

  • Journalism
  • Public Speaking
  • Communications
  • And more

Taking these courses in high school will help you learn more effectively during your college course.

2. Get a College Degree 

Your future employers will expect you to have at least a Bachelor’s Degree. Thankfully, there’s a lot of flexibility in this area.

You can choose to get a degree in journalism, mass communications, or other related fields like English.

Some of those courses will also provide you with options to specialize in news broadcasting, whether on TV, radio, or other mediums.

3. Gain Hands-On Journalism Experience 

Your hands-on journalism experience is crucial for your process of becoming a news anchor. You can gain this experience at every step of the process.

For example, many high schools and colleges have newspapers. They’ll require students like you to report stories that happen on campus.

Besides that, you can also gain first-hand experience through internships. These are sometimes part of your college course and might be a requirement for graduating.

Read our related article on How to Become a Photojournalist. If you have a passion for storytelling and photography, this may be your match!

4. Gain Area-Specific Experience

Some newsreaders specialize in a specific topic area, like business or local politics.

Gaining hands-on experience in those areas will also help you become a much better news anchor in the long run.

For example, spending time as a campaign staffer or intern will help you understand the inner workings of local politics.

That understanding will bring clarity to your reporting later on local political issues.

5. Start as a Field Reporter

After graduating and gaining the necessary experience, you’ll start off with a TV or radio station.

You’ll start with an entry-level role and work your way up, first covering stories as a field reporter.

Then, you’ll progress towards becoming a news anchor.

Find A News Anchor Job Near You!

Are You Suited for a News Anchor Career? Skills, Credentials, Tools and Technology

Learning how to become a news anchor involves more than classroom learning and hands-on training.

You’ll also need to develop the right skills and proficiencies to succeed in your career.

Here are some of the skills and proficiencies that are important for news anchors:

Personality and Skills

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) highlights communication skills, interpersonal skills, and technological skills as three crucial skills for this career path.

As a newsreader, you communicate essential and sometimes complex information to the general public. So, your communication skills must always be at their best to do that job effectively.

On top of that, your role will also require strong interpersonal skills when interacting with other people.

For example, these skills will help you ask the most critical questions to public figures.

Lastly, your technological skills also matter, especially today. In some cases, you’ll find yourself working with editing software and video or audio recording devices to prepare your stories.

Credentials and Proficiencies

Aside from skills, news presenters must also be knowledgeable in many different areas.

The Occupational Information Network (O*Net) highlights topics like communications and media, law, and government as some of the more crucial areas you should understand deeply.

For starters, your industry is all about communications and media in all their different forms.

So, whether you’re on TV or reading news on the radio, you must understand the bigger picture and how you fit into it.

Also, you must understand the law and how it applies to your focus area.

For example, understanding business and finance laws will make you much more effective at reporting stories from those industries.

The same is also true for your understanding of government.

Many current issues that concern the public require you to understand government and politics at the local, national, and international levels.

How Does a News Anchor Find Work?

You’ll have several options for finding work after learning how to become a news anchor.

However, it’s best to focus on the sectors that hire the most newsreaders to work for them.

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) has data showing the sectors where most news anchors work area:

  • TV broadcasting: Anchors are most commonly seen on TV channels. Working in this sector means you’ll appear at a regularly scheduled time to read the news, conduct interviews, and host TV shows.
  • Radio broadcasting: If you prefer not to be in front of the camera, you can also choose to work for radio broadcasting channels instead. You’ll perform similar tasks on a radio channel as you would on TV. However, your audience will only be hearing your voice as you do so.
  • Cable and other subscription channels: These days, subscription services like cable TV channels and streaming services also provide people with the news. The difference here is that your audience will be the channel’s paid subscribers and not the general public.

While those 3 sectors still hire most newscasters, you should also know that there are alternative news sources that also hire people with your skills. 

That’s especially true thanks to the internet, social media, and video streaming platforms like Youtube.

These technologies have allowed alternative news channels to form, and they, too, require your abilities as a newscaster.

News Anchor Job Hunting Tips

Once you identify the possible employers in your area that you’d like to work for, here’s what you can do:

  • Check their official websites for any newscaster job openings
  • Contact them directly on the phone or by email to express your interest in working for them
  • In some cases, you might be able to visit their office to inquire about job openings

Throughout your job search, always remember to submit a copy of your CV or resume to the potential employer.

That makes it easier for them to contact you in the future if they have a role that you might be suited for.

Remember: as a newsreader, you’ll be seen on-screen or heard on the radio. So, you should also record a video or audio resume, as well. 

A video resume will help the recruiter better understand how you’ll perform on TV or on a news radio show.

Find A News Anchor Job Near You!

What is the Average Salary of a News Anchor?

Learning how to become a news anchor can lead you to a career that rewards you in many ways. Among those rewards is the salary that you’ll earn on the job.

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) categorizes news anchors as ‘News Analysts, reporters, and Journalists’ and finds that they earn $62,230 a year.

Surveys by the BLS also show that:

  • The top 90th percentile of news anchors earns $120,590, and
  • The bottom 10th percentile of news anchors earns $29,210.

Understanding these averages will help you know if a job offer you get offers you less or more than what similar employers are offering. 

Which States Pay News Anchors the Most?

Data by the BLS also show that news anchors have a higher average salary in some states than in others.

As a news anchor, here’s what you can earn in the 5 highest-paying states for this line of work:

  • District of Columbia: $111,360 a year
  • New York: $95,510 a year
  • Connecticut: $82,080 a year
  • Georgia: $77,610 a year
  • New Jersey: $76,110 a year

Relocating to these states could earn you a higher salary as a news anchor.

Besides that, you can also use those salary figures as a benchmark to evaluate job offers in your current location.

How Can You Earn More as a News Anchor?

There are several ways to get ahead and earn more as a news anchor.

The 3 most important methods are:

  • Stay up-to-date: Employers will value you more when you demonstrate deep knowledge of a subject area. But, more importantly, you need to know the latest goings-on in your specialty area, whether that’s sports, business, politics, or any other.
  • Develop relationships: As a journalist, developing solid relationships with people at all levels of society is crucial to your work. Those relationships will lead you to stories and details that competing networks might not have, making you even more valuable to your employers.
  • Learn a second language: Some TV stations broadcast the news in more than one language. So being a bilingual anchor who can deliver the information in two languages will undoubtedly make you stand out from your peers.

When you do all of the above, you’ll develop a positive reputation for yourself among the audience that you speak to.

More importantly, your reputation will spread further and make you more in-demand with TV stations beyond your local area.

News Anchor Job Outlook

The outlook for news anchors over the next few years is positive. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) estimates that the field will grow by 6% before 2030.

The BLS describes that 6% estimated growth as ‘as fast as average’ compared to other career paths.

Overall, that means you can expect more available jobs in the industry after learning how to become a news anchor.

Still, you should understand that newsreaders aren’t all the same. While some report on the news broadly, others specialize in different interest areas like business, sports, and more.

Top 5 Types of News Anchors in 2022

As you become a news anchor, you can stand out from your peers by choosing to specialize in one interest area that appeals to you the most.

Here are the top 5 types of news anchors that you’ll see on TV in 2022. 

General News

Some news anchors focus on reporting the news in general. You’ll report on a wide range of stories in this role, including current affairs, crime, healthcare issues, and more.

In some cases, you’ll even report on feel-good stories set to lighten the day’s mood.

Business and Finance

If you have a deep interest in business and finance, you can choose to become a news anchor who focuses on those topics.

Your expertise allows you to take complex issues happening in places like the stock market and make them easy to understand for the everyday viewer.

Weather News Anchor

People of all walks of life rely on weather forecasts delivered by news anchors.

As a weather news anchor, your job is to share weather-related news for the days and weeks ahead.

Read our related article on How to Become a Meteorologist for more information!

National and International Politics

Politics at the national and international levels are pretty complex.

So, reporting the news on those issues requires a specialist news commentator who can simplify it for all viewers to understand.

Sports Anchors

Sports anchors are another crucial part of any news team. They report on the latest sports results and the goings-on of teams and players.

This speciality is ideal for you if you love both the news and people’s favorite sports like football, baseball, and basketball.

Professional Associations

Your journey to learn how to become a news anchor continues long after you graduate college and get your first job.

Mentorships and networking are two crucial ways to grow as a professional news anchor, and you can do both through associations like:

News Media Alliance

National Association of Broadcasters

News Leaders Association

Online News Association

Society of Professional Journalists

Top Colleges and Universities

After high school, you can learn how to become a news anchor by pursuing broadcast journalism, mass communication, or a similar degree.

Here are some of the top colleges and universities for this field of study:

Emerson College

Boston University

Bryant University

State University of New York

Ithaca College

About Noah Shaw

An editor & writer on staff at LandYourLife, Noah is a career research enthusiast passionate about helping others find & work towards their ideal vocation.