‘Hidden’ conflict in newscasts noted
A TV news insider winkingly wonders, “Are you aware of a ‘hidden’ conflict on daily or nightly news programs, specifically between field reporters and program anchors?” We ask for specifics, and he’s only too happy to oblige:
The problem appears to be instigated by the gap between anchors and reporters, not just in terms of pay scale, but also of perks and the other advantages brought about by some anchors’ “star” status.
Field reporters sometimes resent it that they do most of the news-gathering work, occasionally at a measure of risk to themselves, while anchors look trustworthy, glamorous and fashionable, and just read the news text that other people have reported and written.
That’s why, in some TV cultures, news anchors aren’t called that, they’re referred to more pragmatically as news readers, which is what they do most of the time.
To be fair, newscasts need anchors, because they provide the all-important “face” of those news programs, which viewers more personally relate to, and invest their trust in.
That’s why most news anchors tend to be personable, look like they can be relied on, and are on the mature or “maturing” side.
In only a few instructive cases, news anchors have not been all that good looking, as in the case of the famous British anchor, Richard Dimbleby—but viewers liked him, because he was such an interestingly “textured” character.
Still, he’s the exception that proves the “personable” rule, which until recently was most aptly represented by the very telegenic Brian Williams on NBC’s daily newscast.
The shallow “looks” factor aside, some TV news field reporters don’t have a good relationship with their programs’ anchors because they occasionally feel that the anchors unfairly put them on the spot with the follow-up questions they love to ask after the field or beat reporters file their reports.
Some anchors want to know facts and statistics that are still not available, or insist on backgrounders that are too complex to verbalize on the spot, or off the cuff.
Others push reporters to speculate about motives, outcomes and other subjective stuff that have no place on a factual news program.
In some cases, reporters even feel that anchors try to come off as wiser and more “comprehensively” knowledgeable than the field people are, and are even impatient with them when they can’t answer follow-up queries to the fastidious anchors’ full satisfaction!
That’s why some reporters are impatient, in turn, and wish that the hoity-toity anchors recall their own days and years as beat reporters and stringers, a long time before they achieved “star” anchor status.
They definitely had a harder row to hoe than their cushy and “glamorous” jobs now—so, they should go easy on those sometimes persnickety follow-up questions, please!