Thursday, December 23, 2004

Anchoring For Dummies - Well, Well, Well

I can't stand the overuse of the word "well." This is a "crutch" word which essentially replaces the sound "ummm." Drives me nuts. "Well"... I don't know what to say next and I can't stand even a nanosecond of silence, so I'll say "well." Oh well. Basically it's a symptom of lack of preparation or laziness in transitioning between stories. I know, because when I first started out, I leaned heavily on crutches like this one. But with concentration and work, they can be eliminated. I was far from perfect, but I made it a point to beat the crutch thing out of myself before I left Peoria the first time.

By the way, this isn't just a local thing. I've found in traveling around the country the past few years that you'll see it in every market, which is even more annoying. I think if you're being paid six or seven figures to deliver the news, the least you can do is not "ummm" your way through a newscast. And this is not to say that one doesn't need to use this kind of crutch on occasion, but 5, 6, 7 times a show is just not good.

Something I learned from a good friend in another market is to think: faster, slower, higher, lower. Hopefully, your anchor of choice is reading his/her scripts BEFORE the show. You should get a feel for the beginnings and ends of stories. You should consider: what tone should you be taking as you deliver that story and how does it differ from the next?

Then when it's time to read live, think faster, slower, higher lower. If you're reading a story that reads kind of slow... more down or matter of fact... transition with a change in tone and pace. So if its a lighter story, kick it up a notch to start. This gives your viewers an audio cue that you're changing stories. The only time I want to hear "well" is in the context of "he's in the hospital, but doing..." or as in "baby removed from..."

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