Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Is an Anchorman Really a Journalist?

DURING A WASHINGTON POST web discussion, a reader asked former CNN anchor Leon Harris if news anchors are really journalists. Harris responded:

"An anchor SHOULD be a journalist! I can't imagine a company in this business that would risk putting someone who wasn't in this position. We are the gatekeepers, the last check on whatever is going to go on the air in the name of the newsroom and the company. Plus, context is so important. It allows you, the consumer, to understand the "whys" of the world. You can't deliver that reliably - RELIABLY - without a journalistic conscience."

What do you think? Are anchors simply news readers with good hair and fine diction, or are the people who present the news actually journalists?

10 comments:

Christopher Malo said...

Not journalists.
Period.

May have been at one time, but no longer.

Tim Keller said...

They read teleprompters, thats about it.

kristengilmore said...

I agree. They SHOULD be journalists. I just don't really think they are.

Anonymous said...

Anderson Cooper.

melanieroxannegampon said...

If anchors are journalists then they should do the required work of the field and present them. If they do their own work at least they know what they are talking about

Berryman, A said...

Anchors are not journalist in my opinion, all they do is read what is said. Journalist have to actually do the work that they are reporting and anchors do not do the work.

Gillian Francella said...

Should be journalists, but are not.

Luis Crespo said...

Anchors should be journalists, and there are many who are (Brian Williams and Lester Holt at NBC come to mind, as do Campbell Brown, Wolf Blitzer, John Roberts, and John King at CNN). There is a trend towards talking heads, though (Alexis Glick, Jenna Wolfe at NBC, Julie Chen at CBS, Chris Wragge at WCBS).

I disagree with people who say that anchors just read copy. Rick Sanchez isn't my favorite, but a lot of what he does is off the cuff. Also, breaking news (take Chile on Saturday) coverage is often not done off a teleprompter. Also, anchors do a lot of research and preparation ahead of their broadcast. And anchors have to know what they're talking about.

Francisco Ovalle said...

They're not. they just stand there, read and be pretty.

Sarah Mabel Hough said...

I have to agree to most extents. There are journalists who are anchors, but I've always noticed them leaving sooner than later to persue their work.
In fact, when the teleprompter fails, the things they say are ridiculous! They are absolutely empty vessels that yield no results on their own.