A Day In the Life

By: Don Ward
By: Don Ward

Viewers often ask me what a work day is like for a news anchor. "Don't you just read the news?" There's a little more to it.

So what's a typical day?

That's question I get asked quite often. Don't you news anchors just waltz in 10 minutes before the newscast?

Absolutely not. It's more a tango than a waltz.

Here's the real deal. My co-anchor Shannon Brinias and I do have duties before and after the news and not just for those half-hour blocks every day.

We both come in at 2:00, just in time for the news department's afternoon editorial meeting. This is the one of the most important parts of the day.

That can last anywhere from 30 to about 45 minutes. Once it's over, I'm responsible for writing and appearing in what we call topicals. They're short commercials if you will, promoting what's in the newscasts. When you see me on the air saying, "on 11 news at 4.", that's a topical.

While I'm doing that, Shannon is writing and recording newscasts for several radio stations. For the last three years or so, we've had a partnership with Clear Channel. Shannon does news updates for Clear Channel stations, including Y96.9, K-Lite, My99.9, KCSJ and some others.

All the while, we're constantly talking to producers about show content, and reporters about how they're coming with assignments. We both spend a lot of time going over scripts in the newscasts, polishing a little, maybe adapting wording to suit our own styles. We don't have a chance to write too many scripts, but we do go over all of them. If I'm reading a story, I have the final say in how it's worded. That's because if you hear me say it, you probably assume I wrote it.

In the meantime, my co-anchor for 11 news at 4, Betty Sexton, has prepared and recorded and afternoon webcast for kktv.com. She works a day shift and does all her consumer reporting and Call For Action reports in those hours before the 4pm newscast.

5 or 10 minutes to do make-up (no we don't have a make-up person, pretty rare below the network level) and it's time for my first newscast of the day.

After the 4pm I do one more topical then start going over stories for the 5:30. During this time we're not only prepping for the 5:30, but also checking in with reporters, producers and managers about any changes that need to be made in night assignments.

After the 5:30 Shannon and I record more topicals to air during prime time CBS programming. Then we do get a dinner break.

I get back in time to produce and record the evening webcast for kktv.com, plus write and record more topicals. Throughout the day Shannon and I are expected to post behind-the-scenes updates or what's-on-your-mind comments on Facebook and Twitter. We always make sure we've done that in the evening. At 9pm Shannon anchors MY 11 News on our digital subchannel, MYKKTV. I spend the time scouring the 10 pm scripts and consulting with the producer about any changes that should be made. I also try to post a story to the news section of kktv.com during this time.

Finally, the day ends with the 10pm newscast, followed by a quick meeting afterwards. Finished.

I'm not complaining at all, it's a pretty good day, but it's not just a case of "show up and read the news"!

When there's big breaking news, all of the above gets thrown out the window and we wing it!

Then there is no typical day.

We'll talk again soon.

Don

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