We all tune in to local TV stations to see what is going on around the country, and the people conveying the information to us are called anchor persons, or even newscasters.Well, their job is not as simple as it might look, and we thought you might need to know about it.
Journalism is a profession that took years and years to bear fruit in Pakistan. The advent of democracy has allowed the media to play a key role in the opinion making and information delivery to the public, which is why we have almost fifty small to large networks in Pakistan. From the looks of it, all you have to do to be anchor person on these numerous channels is to simply look good, wear nice clothes, and simply read from a teleprompter. Well, not exactly.
The job of an anchor person has changed as the media industry has evolved over the years. A ‘newscaster’ from ten years ago was simply required to read from a teleprompter place in front of him/her, but now, an ‘anchor person’ has got way more to his job description. An anchor person has to not only know the story inside out, but also has to take part in the research of the story, not forgetting the fact that he/she must also have extraordinary improvisational skills.
Aleena Farooq Sheikh is an anchor person currently working for Geo TV, and while she is still reletively new to her profession, she highlighted just how much more there is to the job of an anchor person other than the money and glitz and glamour. She wrote about it in her blog:
“Just then a loud voice, boomed in my ear. We are going to practice breaking news, I was told. All I had to do was read the script from the prompter, and wait for a reporter to provide additional information. That sounds easy. I took a deep breath and began:
Breaking news say apko aagah kar rahay hain Lahore aur iskay girdo-nawah mein zalzallay kay ghatkay mehsoos kiye gaye hain.
That’s it, one line? No. I was told to continue talking, to continue re-reading the line in a loop, without repeating the words, until the producers gathers more details. How many different ways could there be to say this? Already frazzled, I was distracted by the constant chatter and laughter in my ear.
I kept prolonging it:
Ahm tareen khabar hai punjab say jahan Lahore aur us kay kareebi illaqon mein zalzalay kay jhatkay mehsoos kiye gaye hain, zalzalay ki shidat kay hawalay say abhi tak itlah mosool nahin hui.
The producer, now miffed, could sense my panic. He called in another anchor to demonstrate how the job is done. Anchor B varied her tone, changed the words, to stretch that one-line for 30 minutes! I was awestruck. That was the day I realized how demanding this profession can be. You need to be creative. You need to be present, mentally, at all times especially when thousands are watching.”
And you thought your job was tough!