Anchor Leadership: The Anchor as Team Leader

May 8, 2018 11:00

As an anchor, you are used to being in the spotlight. Whether it’s during a newscast, or when you’re out in public as the face of the station.
 
But there’s another spotlight on you. It’s in your newsroom. You have a powerful voice and it carries influence.  Your producers, reporters, and your managers all value and respect your insight, your perspective, and your tough questions. Many news directors consider their anchors the lead journalist in their newsroom. And with that power and influence comes an important and critical opportunity.
 
At our Anchor Leadership Summit, we’ll explore and discuss the importance of anchors as strong team leaders.  Emphasis on the word “Team.”
 
What skills do anchors need to be a strong team leaders?
 
“The strongest anchor/leaders I’ve known EARN that leadership role in the newsroom by being well-read, curious, and asking good questions”, says KCCI News Director Dave Busiek. “They are the final gatekeepers on what goes on the air.  They are the viewers’ advocate.  If something seems wrong in a script, or doesn’t make sense, they speak up before it hits air. They bring good story ideas to the morning or afternoon meeting.  They are the embodiment of your newsroom’s culture.” 
 
I also posed this question to one of our KCRA3 producers Tamara Feingold. She said, “One of the most helpful things an anchor can do is to stop by my desk on their way in and ask what we have going on that day. It gives me a chance to show them the most exciting video and most teaseable stories. I’m also lucky enough to work with anchors who read through every single script before the show. If they make changes, they verbally bring it up to me, and we work through the scripts together. They also give specific feedback daily after the shows. It helps me learn what they’re comfortable with, which stories they get excited about, and how to best address breaking news. “
 
KCRA3 Producer Jennifer Parsons values her anchors too.  “While I don’t want a ‘back seat driver’ who wants to change everything when they walk in the door”, said Jennifer, “I do value feedback.”
 
Notice any similar themes here? Collaboration. Feedback. Good Coaching. The building blocks of a great team leader.
 
But let’s face it. With looming deadlines, sometimes it’s much easier for an anchor to just fix the script rather than kick it back to the harried producer.  So how do busy anchors model great team leadership and fit that into their very busy days?
 
In our upcoming Anchor Leadership Summit, we will discuss how you can be a strong team leader and coach in your newsroom. What do your producers need from you? How can you give good meaningful feedback to reporters?  How do you build relationships with your photographers?  And how can you team up with your news director to strengthen the newsroom mission?
 
Now more than ever, newsrooms need strong anchors to who are willing to step up and lead their teams with:
  • Strong collaboration
  • Coaching
  • Giving effective feedback
  • Asking good questions
These are challenging times for journalists and our industry.  But our mission and the work we do has never been more important.
 
Your newsroom needs your leadership now more than ever!
 
RTDNA and Loyola University Chicago School of Communication​ will be hosting a two-day Anchor Leadership: Truth and Trust in the Digital Age summit, led by Jill Geisler, Scott Libin, and several guest faculty including Keynote Craig Melvin, July 12-13, 2018, at Loyola's Water Tower Campus. Learn more & register here.