You see them every night on the news -- anchors and reporters both working hard to bring you the latest stories. But while you may see them on the same on the same station working to achieve the same communications goals, their roles are actually quite different when it comes to the specific details of their jobs. From writing to traveling, reporters and anchors have unique responsibilities when it comes to keeping you informed.
One of the main differences between reporters and anchors is the amount of time they spend on the road. If you are a reporter, you are required to go out and get the stories at the sources and deliver on-air reports from the news sites. If you are an anchor, however, you do what your job title says. You hold down the fort at the news station and do your job from one location every day. On unique assignments, however, anchors may travel to get stories, but only for in-depth features and special reports.
As part of getting their stories, reporters are required to interview witnesses and key sources for all of their reports. While gathering the information, reporters find willing interview subjects and conduct question-and-answer sessions with them to help illustrate the story. Each interview must be edited for time and content before being pieced together for the news “package.” Anchors, meanwhile, conduct interviews, but on less frequent occasions and generally only for special reports.
Reporters write their own news pieces and record their scripts for the package before editing the video and voice-over together and completing the piece. As a reporter, you have to write and edit quickly to meet the news deadline and also be able to memorize what you’ve written for your intro and additional closing information. Anchors do less writing and more editing. If you are an anchor, you edit scripts that are created for you to deliver, and you aren’t required to memorize the information -- only to be familiar with it before going on the air.
Because news anchors are familiar faces in people’s homes, they are often required to make public appearances and host special events. Some stations require anchors to take on a specific number of engagements, while some anchors choose causes and participate voluntarily. Reporters may be required to make appearances on occasion, but those circumstances are far less frequent.
After graduating from the University of Kansas with a bachelor's degree in sports information, Jill Lee served for 10 years as a magazine editor for the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA). Also a published author, Lee now works as a professional writer and editor focusing on fitness, sports and careers.