Sunday, October 21, 2012

What it takes to graduate from Anchor College


What News Anchors Really Do During Commercials

One of the things news anchors like to do is to shuffle papers a lot. It tends to look good on camera.

Maybe they think viewers that see paper shuffling will think the anchors are important and that their copy is official, well, anchornese.

Anchornese has many tentacles; just like an octopus.

One is the aforementioned paper-shuffling; but there's significant others. Among them, straight out of undergrad, Anchornese college, from the home office in Fresno, CA:

*Saying "thanks" to the field reporter after their story. "Thanks Bob for that report." The thanks fetish is not only provided to the field reporter, but the sports guy, the weather lady, the other anchor and generally every living entity in the studio, the news room, the rest room.  Thanks to you too.

*Anchors that don't know much about sports or generally give a damn but who show faux excitement when hometown team makes it into the playoffs or wins the World Series or a Superbowl. This type of behavior is now in force here in San Francisco with the Giants. How many news readers who wouldn't know Buster Posey from Buster Brown utter out, "Go Giants--woo, woo!" (Smack 'em for me.)

*Anchors that show deeply concerned face when reading story involving a tragedy; say, a kidnapping, murder or an accident.  It's against the law, apparently, to merely read the story straight and simply provide the account, the news! Sure, a natural disaster, an earthquake, a deeply awful event, incident allows for the concerned face card. Nobody expects nor desires a straight read of, 9-11, for example. But a story about the spread of Dutch Elm disease shouldn't bring out watery eyes.

*The use of a pen. Required tool in opening day at Anchornese. How many times does one see an anchor hold that pen...with authority!..as if the pen were to add emphasis, which theoretically it should, only because said anchor overdoes the pen effect, thereby taking away the emphasis, got it? The pen is fine. Taking notes, underlining copy, etc., I got it, but when it takes over the screen, we got issues, honey. Bill O'Reilly is a master at this, ("You're about to enter the no-spin zone!") Pen-central for Billo but he makes a ton of cash, he's allowed.

*Giggling. Look, like everyone else on the planet, I laugh, chortle, even chort every now and then. It's human nature. But when Janey on WWXY-TV has to laugh at every cutesy dog story or the dentist that accidentally swallowed the tooth, it rankles the hell out of me. Either don't run the story, (even as filler), or make it mandatory waterboarding by the news director if sweety pie is a 3-giggle every five minutes-abuser.

*The anchor that blurts out "we need the rain." Real big here in the Bay Area, where we get drought stories every five minutes if it doesn't rain in a week. As if saying, "we need the rain" will actually mean it's gonna rain, or more to the point, who the hell is it for you to say we need the rain? Screw you, lady! I like sun. I like blue sky and warm weather. You want rain, then move to Seattle. Farmers need rain. So does my therapist who wears dark and dreary clothes. Very depressing, just like rain. And think about it: if we really needed rain that badly, we live near an ocean; I'm sure the science people can build us a plant to get some salt out of the ocean water and rain on us forever. Got it?

Have a nice day.
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22 comments:

  1. I would add hand gestures. Thank God KTVU keeps tight on Somerville, the flaps and waives and pestofigitates beyond distraction. I think they ought staple his coat sleeves to the desk.

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  2. Anchors are nothing more than corporate robots. They have to do whatever the consultants tell them to do.

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  3. Sometime in the early seventies, or maybe even before, Herb Caen wrote that anchors shuffling the papers at the newscasts' opening and closing was a silly-looking gimmick from the start. And even more so today I think we agree.

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  4. Hand gestures are actually taught by t.v. consultants. Media Associates which changed its name during my federal court trials to Audience Research and Development would hold little mandatory sessions for anchors and anchorettes in how to look angry, happy, and concerned. They would have us read
    The Raven" by Edgar Allan Poe, happy, mad and concerned. Then they would put a smiley face or other appropriate icon on the actual copy so you would know which demeanor to assume. Clothing was selected for you to create the "illusion of credibility". I kid you not. I wrote about a treasure trove of this stuff in my book, it was just too funny and too telling not to. Some people talk naturally and use their hands to gesture naturally. Most people don't, however. When you tell them they will lose their jobs if they don't gesture and flap all the time, the result is often both sad and comical. I had my own hand gesture for it , as you know.

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  5. Rich. The hubby/wifey combo team.. Either get it on right now on live tv. Or girl tell him he did not take out the garbage! Leave it at home... Puke.

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    1. Are you referring to the husband and wife team of Marc Cota Robles and Jasmine Vile in Monterey County? HORRIBLE! Too cutesy and rehearsed for me. Rich, how about when anchors at the end of the broadcast exchange banter once the mic is off? They act like they are super friendly and can't wait to go grab a drink together right after the newscast. I've tried to read their lips and I am sure it is just gibberish.

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    2. No, I think he's referring to those two who are on Channel 3/11 NBC in the Bay Area (out of San Jose currenty). They're enough (she especially) to make you instantly ill.

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    3. "Your Central Coast News" is pretty dreadful. All of the news is broadcast out of Salinas, and for me I pick it up from the two Santa Maria stations that Cowles operates. One of their rules is that the anchors sit at the desk with their hands clasped in front of themselves. It's pretty strange looking. Oh yes, and they have a weatherguesser who always adds "...where there's a weekend in every forecast...". The alternatives are pretty bad too.

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    4. 11:11 is spot on! The clasped hands pose is odd. I think it is supposed to exude trust and confidence in the anchors. Having both hands on the desk tells the viewer: our hands are above the table, nothing to hide! ( As I recall Gary Radnich asks everyone not to put their hands below the table)

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  6. The Oscar for Best Use of Pen goes to...

    Steven Colbert.

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    1. If David Letterman is included in the ballot, it may be a close call...btw, tomorrow we will need to pull out the full entertainment center. Savage's first show and the debates at 6pm and Giants game at 5:05pm (plus Monday night football!!??). Cabinet man wll be lucky to have anyone listening to his show. I doubt even Rhoda Gross will tune to his show!

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  7. There's the male- female protocal...The Black male anchor with the white blond,but never the Asian woman. Although white male/Asian woman are common on TV and in commercials too you'll notice. More White male, Asian woman pairings then Asian men and Asian woman..and THATS never done on the news. With the new influx of Mid easteners its been mostly as Asians ..no integration other then that. Raj and Jessica Aguirre must be the only Latin-Mid Eastern/Indian combo anchors in the world!
    And after all that? The weatherpeople have to be zany..all of the rainbow included!

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  8. Sommerville and Haener are the worst offenders of this crap. Haener's head bobs and head tilts with fake "I'm concerned" expressions are annoying. Ans Sommerville with his pens and papers. Good grief!

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  9. Can you please give a Mickey update? bring back Ray!

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  10. I had a girlfriend back in the 80's who worked in the KGO art department. She showed me around the place one day, and we went into the studio where they did the news. Underneath/behind the anchor desk was a veritable beauty salon, with combs, brushes, hair spray, makeup, etc.

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  11. ..."the weather lady...." THE WEATHER LADY? What gives here? Rich, come on -- do you take all of you references to women out of those binders that you've got?

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    1. Thank you, for the laugh!

      Rich probably does have binders. ;)

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  12. Former West Coast SallyOctober 22, 2012 at 8:56 AM

    I now live outside of Omaha, leaving San Jose after 30 years. Anchors are the same, even in the mid west. We have an area of Omaha, with a lot of drive by shootings, in fact, three over this past weekend. There usually are more shootings when the weather is warm, compared to the the snowy winters, ya think. Anyways, one hot summer, the lady anchor came on and the top story was, of course a murder. But what she she said was a slip of the tongue. She started out stating: "The shooting of the day involved......" We laughed and laughed, because it was true.

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  13. One doesn't have to be an anchor to graduate from Anchor College. Ask any longtime NBC Today Show viewer what they currently think about their show.

    Sure, Matt Lauer and the capable Ann Curry couldn't work together anymore, so they moved Curry back to Nightly News reporting for Brian Williams & Lester Holt and brought in the equally capable Savannah Guthrie to co-host. But why oh why after continuing to get away with insufferable manners and even more insufferable gaffes (like the Martin Short widower status) do Today viewers and all of us internet/blog users must continue to put up away with the just-as-dreadful-as-our-locals Kathie Lee Gifford? Most of our local anchors have nothing on NY's most popular ditz.

    It's unbelievable how life can be for a Hall-of-Fame figure like Frank Gifford who from one decade was considered a major influence by the late icon Vince Lombardi to the last three decades is considered the husband of one of the most dreadful & off-putting personalities to ever grace the airwaves. My local point is this: If any of our Bay Area Sports or Entertainment Hall-of-Famers were to go from influencing an American Institution to marrying a TV Broadcasting obnoxious airhead, the respective team's fans would be off with that Hall member's head.

    Let's just be thankful that none of our Bay Area greats are attached to anyone like the people Rich & our bloggers mentioned above. Because then Bay Media would be in far worse shape than it is right now with the bad personas that spread throughout the air.

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    1. I think its just bizarre Kathie Lee does "my great husband" comments time to time when Frank was filmed going to a hotel room and cheat with some woman..socialite? whatever.
      She should have divorced the old geezer player..and found a real husband.

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  14. Journalists are supposed to be neutral when reporting the news. But sometimes, depending upon the story, a little compassion needs to be brought in to it. Besides, who wants to listen to an anchor who reads off the tele prompter like a robot? I do agree that paper shuffling and hand gestures need to be out of viewer's range.

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  15. WHAT IT TAKES TO GRADUATE BLOGGER SCHOOL:

    Bloggers shouldn't, use superfluous commas all, over the place. But, they do. A, lot. Or, at least, one, of them, does.

    Bloggers that use that instead of who when talking about people, ie, Anchors that shuffle their papers. Of course, it should be Anchors WHO shuffle their papers.

    Bloggers shouldn't confuse it's (it is) with its (possessive, as in, "A dictionary is worth its weight in gold). It's very common for some reason. Lack of education? Too much TV?

    Bloggers shouldn't use numerals for numbers below thirteen. Part of the stylebook. Thus twelve is spelled out but 13 is okay.

    There's plenty others, but that's surely enough for the first day of First Grade. Remember your milk money tomorrow.

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