What Is A News Anchor’s Or Reporter’s Hourly Schedule Like?

What Is A News Anchor’s Or Reporter’s Hourly Schedule Like?

A news anchor or reporter’s schedule can be hectic, intense, and demanding. However, it is also exciting and rewarding to be at the forefront of delivering the latest news and information to the public.

This article will provide an in-depth look into the typical hourly schedule of those working in broadcast news. We will cover the various shifts anchors and reporters work, tasks performed throughout the day, work-life balance challenges, and tips for success.

Understanding the schedule and workflow provides helpful context into the world of journalism. Whether you aspire to be on-air talent or work behind the scenes, insight into the routine can better prepare you for this dynamic industry.

Typical Work Shifts

Morning Shift

The morning show shift starts extremely early, usually around 2-3 AM. This allows the anchor time to wake up, get ready, review potential stories, and prepare for the morning broadcast.

3:00-4:00 AM – Wake up and start getting ready
4:00-5:00 AM – Review scripts, footage, wires for potential stories
5:00-5:30 AM – Hair and makeup
5:30-5:45 AM – Final rundown meeting with producers
5:45-9:00 AM – Anchor morning broadcast

The morning shift requires discipline to rise before dawn and deliver energetic broadcasts full of breaking news and weather updates.

Day Shift

The day or midday shift tends to start later, around 8 or 9 AM. This slot focuses on developing stories from the morning and updating viewers on the latest information.

8:00-9:00 AM – Wake up and commute to studio
9:00-11:00 AM – Research and interviews for potential stories
11:00-11:15 AM – Hair and makeup
11:15 AM-1:00 PM – Anchor daytime broadcast
1:00-4:30 PM – Tape interviews, record voiceovers, attend editorial meetings

The day shift anchors recap top stories and transition the focus from the morning hard news to softer features and interviews.

Evening Shift

As the name implies, the evening shift starts in the late afternoon and runs into the night. This shift sets the tone for the nightly broadcast viewed by most people after work.

3:00-4:00 PM – Commute and review potential stories
4:00-6:30 PM – Research and interviews for leads
6:30-6:45 PM – Hair and makeup
6:45-7:00 PM – Rundown meeting with producers
7:00-11:00 PM – Anchor evening broadcast

The evening broadcasts summarize the day’s top developments. Anchors end the day recapping the 24-hour news cycle before starting the process over again pre-dawn.

Tasks and Responsibilities

Beyond the on-air broadcasts, anchors and reporters have a number of responsibilities that fill their day. These tasks keep them busy researching, writing, editing, and connecting with sources.

Research and Interviews

Anchors spend considerable time interviewing expert sources and researching to provide context around stories. Instead of just reading off a teleprompter, broadcast journalists are expected to engage audiences by going in-depth on complex issues.

Editorial Meetings

Most outlets have regular editorial meetings to discuss potential stories, angles to pursue, and coverage plans for breaking news. Anchors collaborate with producers and editors on the best direction for broadcasts.

Taping Segments

Field reporters often tape multiple self-recorded segments per day. They shoot their own standups, interviews, and package pieces to feed back to the studio.

Voiceovers and Soundbites

Anchors record voiceovers and soundbites that get incorporated into taped segment blocks. Quality audio is vital for clear broadcasts.

Writing and Rewrites

While larger outlets have dedicated writers, anchors are still responsible for crafting scripts, researching statistics, and updating stories as they develop. This requires constant writing and rewriting.

Work-Life Balance

With the 24-hour news cycle and importance of being first to break stories, broadcast journalism demands long, irregular hours. Early mornings, late nights, and weekend shifts are common. This can take a toll on personal wellbeing and relationships outside work.

However, there are ways anchors establish boundaries:

Firm Work Hours

While some overtime is expected, set clear limits on hours. Communicate and negotiate reasonable parameters for shifts.

Take Time Off

Make use of all allotted vacation and sick days. Disconnect and recharge on your own schedule, not when huge stories break.

Morning and Bedtime Rituals

Maintain set morning wellness routines before work chaos. Similarly, establish consistent bedtime wind-downs.

Date Nights

Schedule regular date nights with partners and quality time with kids. Protect that time just like an important interview.


Block off time for exercise, even if it’s just a 30-minute walk. This boosts energy and mental clarity to offset long hours.

Tips for Success

Here are some top tips for those looking to get into broadcast journalism:

Be Adaptable

Be ready to juggle multiple stories and rewrite as breaking news develops. Adaptability is key in live television news.

Check All Facts

Accurately confirm statistics, quotes, statements, and images used. Credibility depends on getting every detail right.

Ask Follow-Ups

When interviewing, ask probing follow-up questions. Get beneath the surface and elicit revealing responses.

Improve Delivery

Watch and critique recordings of your hits. Identify verbal crutches and work to sound more smooth and eloquent.


Develop expertise around specific topics like politics, business, tech, entertainment etc. Become the authority reporters turn to.

Learn Production

Understand what happens behind the scenes. Learn how producers, directors, writers, editors, and crew function together.

Frequently Asked Questions

What education do you need to be a news anchor or reporter?

Most positions require at least a bachelor’s degree, preferably in journalism, communications or broadcasting. Strong writing skills are essential.

How much money does a news anchor make per year?

Salaries vary based on market size, experience, and whether it is network or local news. The average is $50,000 to $125,000, with national anchors earning over $1 million.

Do news anchors do their own makeup?

Some apply basic makeup themselves, but most outlets have dedicated makeup artists handle more complex applications before broadcasts.

Do news anchors write their own scripts?

While they don’t write entire newscasts, anchors do craft intros, transitions, closes and update scripts as stories develop. They work closely with writers behind the scenes.

How many hours per week do news anchors work?

Anchors and reporters often work between 50-70 hours per week. Breaking news requires extended shifts. Those working mornings, evenings, weekends and holidays get little routine downtime.

The life of a broadcast journalist is challenging yet exhilarating. This inside look into the typical hourly schedule provides a glimpse behind the scenes. With intense time commitments and a 24/7 workflow, delivering the news demands passion and dedication.

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