Five tips for journalists who want to work in TV news

Five tips for journalists who want to work in TV news

Mohammad Al abdallah | September 28, 2011

Print journalists are often hired as TV pundits. TV anchors live-tweet news events. YouTube is a major broadcaster. As the lines blur in traditional roles, many journalists are more interested in pursuing TV news careers than ever.

IJNet got these tips from Doha-based Mhamed Krichen, who has been an anchor on Aljazeera since the networked launched in 1996. Here are his basic tips for getting started in TV news.

1. Know that many, many journalists want to become TV anchors. Fame and high salaries are just a few reasons why. Many will try, but few will succeed. Not succeeding doesn’t mean you are a bad journalist. “We can’t work without our news writers!” Krichen says.

2. Get educated. TV Anchors must be knowledgeable about history and politics. No one expects anchors to be political analysts, but they must be informed about key issues. Aljazeera has a research center that prepares in-depth papers for the team, since most of anchors don't have time to do it themselves.

3. Be patient. Becoming a TV anchor, either for news or talk shows, requires lots of training and hard work. Being a TV anchor will come after years of working in journalism, and lots of training is required. If you are expecting it at the beginning of your carrier (or even at the mid-way point), then expect a rude awakening and frustration.

4. No one is above training. In a rapidly-evolving industry like media, there is no one point that a TV Anchor can confidently say, "I’m good enough and don’t need more training."

“I have been a journalist for more than 30 years. I worked in print, radio and then TV news organizations -- I still attend training sessions when new things (such new media) become a skills we need to learn,” Krichen says.

5. Feel the news. The news should be told--not read. This is an essential skill journalists have to learn. You can’t smile while you reading news about an airplane crash. Most of the skills anchors need can be learned by training, some of them required more in-depth training (reading tones, breathing technique) but others come from within, like expressing feelings. You can save time and money by practicing with co-workers and use free teaching materials that are now available, Krichen notes.

This story first appeared in IJNet's Arabic edition


Zahirul Alam, Chief of Correspondents, NTV, Bangladesh

With deepest agreement, I also want to say, news presenters or talk show host is not a job to appear on screen only to showcase his or her glamour, its something more where u need to have complete command on the issues with right expression and sense of strong background. Its very nice to know that you have essentially have your research team to prepare background materials. Unfortunately, there are some tv stations in the developing countries can not afford and sometimes do not invest much resources in research. Occasionally, anchors seen to appear without required preparation. I agree that training is must. We see two problems, most of the time training felicities are not optimally available and some people think I have learned everything and I do not require any further. I thank mr. Krichen for his thought provoking tips and insight which will benefit professional anchors of news and talk shows.

Chantal Rutter Dros, Prime News Anchor: ANN7 South Africa

I am in full agreement with Mhamed Krichen. As a new television station, Africa News Network 7 (ANN7) has had it's fair share of applications from wanna-be news anchors. Few understand that anchoring is merely an extension of a career in journalism and that the passion for news is the primary motivation. I agree strongly with Mr. Krichen's last point that the news should be told not read. It is wonderful to listen to a news anchor who has a firm grasp of the issues and can read with expression.


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