Don’t Act Like A News Anchor

A recent post by Jeff Jarvis points to the BBC’s belief that the era of the news anchor is finished. If so, I’m not surprised. They all sound the same. They all look the same. Shellacked and stuffed into designer duds, news anchors seem to take special care to not be different, to not stand out.

Flipping through the evening news, I see a significant overlap in coverage. Sure, there are special reports, but they are a minor portion of the broadcast. So what’s left to distinguish the program? The anchors. And if they are indistinguishable from each other, then it doesn’t matter which channel I watch. Now flip over to the Comedy Channel for The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. Same basic information, but clearly different.

Granted, the writers on The Daily Show have more flexibility, and traditional broadcasts are trying to be more original. But the recent kerfluffle at CBS over Katie’s plagiarized video essay was comical. And could it be any more obvious that anchors aren’t the ones writing the stories? (Yes, I know this is usually the case, but it was so blatant in this instance.) I’d be more interested (truly) in hearing what Katie has to say than her producer.

These same principles apply to you and your ideas. Yes, it’s appealing to fit in. Standing out can be uncomfortable. Sometimes you’ll only have one chance to tell people what you think. We no longer live in a world with only three channels, and potential audiences have thousands of choices. And being overly smooth and shiny with polish doesn’t equate to credibility.

Show me your passion, show me you actual believe in something. Don’t be the news anchor that acts and looks like everyone else. Write and tell your own stories. Few, if any, people can do it better then you. That’s how you can make take my finger off the remote.



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April 2007
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