20. Anchoring

All day long, the anchor collects information to build his newscast. He prepares the on set sequences : the guest interview, the banter with the columnists. He also writes scripts. Once they’re back from the field, the journalists give him information to write his intros. Finally he writes the heads.   

The anchor intro (or lede) : putting the spotlight on the package.

To write his intros, the anchor uses the information the reporters have given him, and if he has the time, actually watches the package. The point is to :

  • Put the package into context (historical, geographical).
  • Give out info about how the package came to be: press conference, event, anniversary or commemoration, calendar effect.
  • Highlight the angle and treatment: exclusivity, originality, proximity, follow up.

Closing comment to add additional info.

After the broadcast, the anchor can complete the package with an on set comment to :

  • Add practical information’s: phone number, directions, hours.
  • Announce what the newsroom will do next to follow the story.
  • Mark a tag ending a segment.

The lead stories opening the newscast :

In TV broadcasting, the lead stories or often in pictures titles captioned with a voice over from the anchor. There are 3 or 4 of them in each newscast.

  • The first leads reflect the chosen hierarchy.
  • To keep the viewer’s attention till the broadcast ends, the last lead often teases an ending package (arts or sports).
  • To catch the viewer’s attention, the newscast can open on a package that was not announced in the lead stories: it’s a “fake opener”, like “today’s fact” or breaking news.
  • The newscast can end on a recap of the lead stories.

Each lead is made up of two or three short sentences constructed to stick to the story and intent developed in the package.

The anchor must be faithful to the content but avoid repeating catchphrases.

LEAD : “Mind numbing figures for drunk driving accidents… Almost 8.500 killed in 1998… The worst in ten years”.


INTRO : “Drunk driving killed 23 people each day in France last year. Officials are increasingly worried by these figures: they show an increase by 5.6% Young people between 18 and 24 are particularly targeted. Traffic accidents are their first cause of death. In just a few deadly seconds, these young people’s future is destroyed”.

VOICE-OVER : “Audrey’s life was turned upside down on March 15th. On this day she was the victim of a hit and run…