We asked this summer’s Anchor Leadership Summit guest faculty member Candy Altman, VP of News at Hearst Television, what exactly resilience means, why it’s important for anchors and how anchors can become more resilient.
Summit co-organizer and RTDNA Chair Scott Libin has said he saw a need for anchor training beyond on-air skills because, as he put it, “Hair, makeup and wardrobe are the easy part of the job.” Co-organizer Jill Geisler elaborated on “Skills without Script” anchors need to develop, including multitasking and a broad knowledge base. Why is resilience another important skill for anchors?
Altman: To say this is a high pressure profession is a vast understatement. You’re on call for breaking news which sometimes leads to days of continuous coverage, you the need to make quick and correct decisions and you always must remain calm under the weight of that pressure. How do you deal with it? How you do you handle the demands of your job and your very important obligations outside the office? Knowing how to manage that push/pull in your life is critical to your success.
Absolutely! As summit faculty member Steve Ackermann recently reminded us, expectations for anchors have only increased since Walter Cronkite set the standard for covering hugely impactful and nationally tragic breaking news powerfully and skillfully. What common mistakes do anchors make when dealing with stress?
Altman: One of the most common mistakes made is to assume you can’t do anything about it; that you’re never going to achieve a level of harmony between your work and your life that is manageable. And you really don’t think your boss gets it.
Anchors are certainly the public-facing leaders of newsrooms, but that’s so true. What goes on behind-the-scenes is just as important, and anchors can and should be newsroom leaders off air, too. That takes good relationships in the newsroom – and resilience. What can anchors do to become more resilient?
Altman: At the summit, we’ll tackle this head on. What are some of your biggest fears? What keeps you up at night? How can you better handle the pressure? We’ll offer suggestions on ways to relieve at least some of the stress and allow you the freedom to openly address the issue.