In 1990, as a young news anchor, I attended a journalism seminar in Chicago sponsored by Broadcasting Magazine and the Society of Professional Journalists and left there with a lesson that I still live by today. It was taught by Lester Holt, then an anchor at WBBM-TV in Chicago, and recently named the anchor of NBC Nightly News. I was a rookie at WREX in Rockford, Illinois, looking for any help I could get to get better, and I really needed it.
Lester talked to a small group of us, sharing tips on how to navigate the television industry and improve as broadcast journalists. He gave us tips on writing and delivery, but I remember one thing in particular.
Lester told us it was vitally mportant to watch the newscast you anchored when you get home, including the commercials. This was before digital TV, smart phones, and DVR technology. He rightly pointed out that viewers couldn’t fast forward through a story, the weather, or commercials, and he felt if we expect people to watch, we need to put ourselves in their shoes and see the entire product we are selling.
Times have changed and viewers have so many more options now and watch the television news in vastly different ways than they did a quarter century ago, but I’ve never forgotten that lesson from Lester.
More on my awesome experience in Rockford right here: https://dennishouse.tv/2014/05/09/quarter-century-an-anchorman/
Categories: tv and radio