The view from the anchor desk

The view most people see from their television set is vastly different from the view of their news anchor. Viewers see us; they see the product. We see the behind-the-scenes chaos that goes on in every show.

Picture this. I’m sitting behind a desk, in a light green desk chair. I have a microphone cable hidden under the front of my blazer and an earpiece wire snaking up my back—underneath my jacket as well. I look out into our studio, and I see three cameras, each with their own operator. I see a floor director; she gets cues from the producers in the control room and relays that message to us. There multiple people—all stressed out.

We go live in 30 minutes, which may seem like an eternity. In the news world 30 minutes is barely more than the blink of an eye. The floor director is frantically running back and forth between studio and control room.

I don’t have a complete script yet, but I’m all wired up. That makes it very difficult for me to leave my anchor chair and get a script. Sound board operator is asking for a mic check; producer is asking for story rearrangement, and I’m asking for minor script changes. By now we’re ten minutes from “taking control.” The final mic checks take place; we make sure our IFBs (earbuds work so the producer can talk to us directly) are set up properly. The director screams “one minute until we take control.”

The lights are on, the prompter cued. Floor director counts down, five four three (two one)—point to camera two.

We’re off to the races. I look up at the camera, the lights are one—shining on my made-up face. I wouldn’t trade any of the chaos for a moment.

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