Whenever you put on your radio or television you hear someone reading the news during newshour. The person’s voice might not be the best you’ve ever heard but it’s professional enough to ensure that those who are listening understand every bit of news being read. That person reading the news is a newscaster or news anchor.
In Nigeria, there are several broadcast media houses and they all have news anchors or newscasters who read the news. These people are among the most popular in their stations because they are in direct contact with the audience most often while the station is on air. You may have been listening to newscasters and you’re asking yourself how can I be a newscaster on radio or television? Do I need a degree to become a newscaster in Nigeria? Do I have to read Mass Communication or broadcasting to become a newscaster? Well, these are questions you need answers to so you can make the right decision to pursue a career path as a television or radio newscaster.
Who is a newscaster?
A newscaster is someone that reads news on television or radio, whether it is conventional or internet radio/television. A newscaster is also known as a News presenter, newsreader, anchorman or anchorwoman, news anchor or simply an anchor. The term newscaster is short for “news broadcaster”. The newscaster is a person who presents news during a news programme on the television, on the radio or on the Internet. You probably have a favorite news presenter on radio or television you might want to be like. You now know what the person does in the station.
You need to note that a newscaster or newscaster is not a news reporter. A reporter is one who gathers news on the current events and an anchor is a person who just sits down in front of camera and delivers the news to the people. They are both different persons with different roles though in rare cases a news anchor could go into the field to get news; but this is really rare.
A newscaster and reporter are part of news channels. Sometimes the anchor may adorn the role of a reporter and vice versa. Though the anchor and the reporter could change sides, they are totally different in many respects. But as noted earlier, it is quite rare for that swap to happen. It is even more rare for the reporter to play the role of an anchor. However, exigencies could make this happen. Note that these are two different career paths – newscaster and News reporter.
So you have to use the right terms to describe them.
What exactly does the news presenter do on radio or television? If you want to be a news anchor working in Radio or television station in Nigeria you have to understand what you’re expected to do. A newscaster presents news stories and introduces video and live feeds from on-the-scene reporters. Newscasters report the news to television audiences. These days they generally read reports from a teleprompter. Newscasters read reports on different happenings, which may include local or national current events, sports or weather. The job of a newscaster is to be trustworthy, control the program and regulate the mood of a television audience. Regulating the mood of the audience is where professionalism comes in. You have to use news reading techniques, pitch of voice, sometimes facial expression and body language to control the mood of your audience. This makes them always want to listen to your news programmes, especially on television.
Newscasters work in a television or broadcast studio and are responsible for reporting news to the public. While off air, newscasters correspond with various sources in order to verify information and ensure the accuracy of any news reports.
Most broadcast media houses in Nigeria and abroad require newscasters to have a bachelor’s degree in journalism, communications or a related field. Most of the courses that students take involve mass media, reporting, public speaking, journalism, broadcasting and television/radio production. These programmes provide you with basic skills required to become a newscaster.
You need to note that you don’t really need a degree in mass communication, broadcasting, journalism or even related fields to become a newscaster in Nigerian broadcast media houses. There are people who are naturally gifted with good reading skills who might have the flare for news presentation. Even if you are not naturally gifted with good reading skills you can still develop such skills through the right training. With a degree or certificate in any other field you could go for diploma courses in in broadcasting, especially the areas that will develop your news presentation skills. After receiving your degree in any other field or even mass communication or related disciplines, prospective newscasters will continue their education through internships at local radio or television stations. They then grow on the job with the appropriate skills.
Newscasters must have a pleasing voice and appearance. This is very essential because it makes the audience easily understand the news items being read. A newscaster on Nigerian radio or television station should not read the news like an American with an accent that American audience will easily understand. No need to play to the gallery. Your accent should be such that Nigerian audience will not battle to make out. It should be simple and made for Nigerian audience. This is part of the skills you learn during training.
Newscasters need to be trustworthy and must have excellent communication skills. Anyone looking for a career in this field needs to be prepared to meet deadlines, work irregular hours and have tremendous reading comprehension skills. Computer skills are becoming increasingly important and can help newscasters stay informed and up to date on current topics and trends.
To become a newscaster in require very good communication skills. It is not enough to read what people can easily understand. You need specific pitch pattern to make your voice audience friendly. No radio or television station in Nigeria will employ anyone as a newscaster without the appropriate communication skills and comprehension reading abilities. A career as a News presenter in Nigeria is very interesting and lucrative. It is something you would want to do. It is a job you would enjoy doing.