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Reflection Supports Development

Samwel Mahela - BA Hons in Journalism

THE ROLE OF TELEVISION NEWS PRESENTER IN JOURNALISM.


Introduction


Aiming to research and secure a role as news anchor, in formulating my essay I asked, how can a new journalist build their career protecting their professional and personal, ethics and values?

This essay considers the role of television news anchor, the guidance and news production environment, my education, experience and professional and personal skills.  To understand the needs of a journalist I have interviewed a professional, who has experience in supporting newly qualified journalists in finding news apprenticeships and placements with the BBC.

I have also interviewed two successful international TV Anchors discussing how they stand by the industries ethical code and work within what are identified as quality news agencies.


A Television Anchors role


News broadcasting is an important moderator and/or weapon in the development of any country and requires governance to provide freedom for the media to do their work, freely without restrictions.

In countries that recognise the importance of the media, for example Tanzania, news agencies become the fourth state, preceded by the executive, legislative and judiciary.

In today's world, television and online broadcasting has become the most important platforms used by news consumers, attracting viewers to keep informed on current affairs nationally and globally.

Briefly a news anchor is a journalist who presents stories and events on a media broadcast. They read a script from a teleprompter and engage in commentary while live on air. In addition to normal coverage, they report on breaking news and work on special project series or investigations holding multiple feeds to engage viewers.


The most common news anchor responsibilities include:


·       Reporting breaking news as it occurs

·       Collaborating with editors and reporters to generate story ideas.

·       Conducting live interviews with experts and guests

·       Gathering, verifying, and analysing information from sources.

·       Creating pitches


In television broadcasting, several important considerations enhance a broadcaster's effectiveness:


·       Knowledge base.

·       Ability to process new information.

·       Ethical compass.

·       Command of the language

·       Interviewing finesse

·       Mastery of communication skills 

·       Keeping up to date on current affairs and peers


Understanding all the components of the anchor’s role, delivering the news, on air, needs the anchor to promote confidence while managing the studio environment.

The creation of a time managed script that guides and focus the Anchor, coupled with knowledge, skills and professional control, enables the consistent delivery of a news services that is seen as one of quality.


Professional and personal ethics and values


Considering the TV anchor as the face of the news, brings to the front, the need to consider how they maintain their professional and personal ethics and values.


The Society of Professional Journalists promotes four principles as the foundation to ethical, journalist practice.


·       Seek truth and report it.

·       Minimise harm.

·       Act independently

·       Be accountable and transparent.


In chapter 58 of The News Manual, (Australia) the pressures on journalists in maintaining their ethics and values involve a daily awareness of personal convictions, traditions, family, gifts, freebies, bribes, threats, authority and pressures from the employer.  

Nationally and internationally, all codes of practice that govern a journalist’s role, comprehensively promotes truth and independence. Guidance also expresses the challenges that journalists in all their forms may face and the risks in maintaining ethics and values.


Interview with Salim Kikeke – Presenter with BBC Swahili


Interviewing the legendary Tanzanian TV Anchor and radio presenter Salim Kikeke, an African and UK educated journalist with over 20 years-experience. Salim has spent the last 10 years as a TV anchor for BBC Swahili. With a long history that reaches into radio and presenting for shows like Focus of Africa.





In April 2023 at the end of presenting news for that day, Salim announced he would no longer anchor for BBC Swahili.


Salim Joined BBC back in 2003, being a multiple award winner, he also secured the best TV Presenter in Tanzania in 2014 and 2015.


From his peers and his followers Salim is very much seen as a people person, he says: “A good news presenter does their research, maintains eye contact, speaks clearly and makes sure they know their story. It’s important to remember body language, to smile when the story needs it, but if the story is sad then present a more sombre mood.” 


Recognised as a charismatic presenter he says: “I protect myself professionally by becoming credible, I don’t get involved with citizen journalism, don’t get sucked in to click bait, you have to stick to the truth to hold your credibility.”


On a personal level Salim is known for staying connected to the audience, Salim says:” One thing I have maintained is I am not a celebrity, I am a journalist, I try to interact with each and every person as much as I can, you can’t push people away.” Salim promotes staying authentic, in the studio and outside.


Seasoned and with experience in an editor’s role, Salim accepts that the battle for journalists to protect their ethics and values will always be a factor within the role, he says:” To protect this is to maintain Facts, facts, facts, you need to be right, understand what your evidence is, you stand your ground, fact check every detail that comes through. These fights with editors and producers will always be there, good presenters do their research, when they know their facts, they can defend and stand by truth.”


Interview with Mary Mgawe - Voice of America (VOA)


Mary Mgawe is an internationally famous television presenter working for The Voice of America’s Swahili channel since 2005.


Having worked in Tanzania from 1996 to 1999 for Radio One and ITV as a presenter, Mary has built up a reputation as a seasoned professional.  Mary says: “To be a good presenter you must balance your news, make sure your sources are competent, consider the five W’s, listen to people, talk to them.





Presenting on the television or radio is also about catching the viewers, ensuring they are listening to you.”

Mary believes that becoming a presenter involves people making the decision to take action, she says: “I always say to people be courageous, don’t look at yourself and say I want to do this, put yourself into it, try, life is a trial, find a role model, contact them, ask for advice, feed off their experience.”


Mary went on to say:” Being professional, working with your producers, your team, following the industry guidelines, as a professional you must follow the ethics, if you do you won’t go wrong.”

 

Interview with Fadhili Maghiya CEO of Watch-Africa CIC 


Investigating opportunities available to post graduation journalists students, I have explored mainstream employment agencies and networking to understand what is available in additional training and apprenticeships.

Watch Africa CIC began their services in 2013. Since starting they have become a well-known, national and international organisation connecting creative, ethnic talent to mainstream news, film and TV channels. Watch Africa advocates for a diverse media sector in Wales.


My research into the ‘next steps’ for my career, connected me with CEO Fadhili Maghiya, exploring support available for graduating journalists.


Fadhili said: “One of the aims of our organisation is to make available apprenticeship and placement programs for ethnically diverse communities, connecting black and Asian minority communities to providers like the BBC.”

We provide a preparation service for those looking to be employed by the media world.  Initially we offer one to one support look at what an applicant would like to achieve and assist in preparing CV’s, Covering Letters, leading on to supporting individuals in the application process.”


Fadhili went on the share the benefits for students and the BBC he said: “Industry knowledge, exposure and the boosting of a news readers portfolio will improve the ability for a journalist to extend their scope into and within the industry.


“For the BBC they will gain the journalists life experience, will have the contribution of unique knowledge that offers a diverse perspective on the cultural landscape. Depending on permissions to work in the UK, securing a placement with the BBC as an apprentice can also lead into employment.”


While the next round of apprenticeships is due to be released by the BBC soon, the intake is for September 2024.  At the end of my interview with Fadhili I was invited to forward my CV and covering letter for assistance in finding a 40-hour placement with the BBC.


Conclusion


As an experienced journalist, my research for my degree and the interviews for this essay has confirmed the strength of my ethics as a journalist in that I am willing to lose my employment before I will publish something that does not adhere to the journalist’s code.


My expectations, post degree, are to focus on the role of TV Anchor. I aim to target the world's largest news agencies that work within professionally recognised competence. My preference is specialist news units, e.g. Kiswahili language channels, as the largest spoken language within Africa.  Both BBC Swahili Service and the Voice of America Swahili Service (VOA) are examples of this.


If I achieve my goal, I am aware I will need to implement the following responsibilities.


·       Confidence in fulfilling my duties – Having professional courage to stand for the industries ethics, factual evidence and transparency for public interest.


·       Communication.  Present open, clear communication with my colleagues to increase the efficiency of our team. To be transparent with contributors during the investigative and editorial process and to fact check at every level of the news process to ensure viewers are presented with evidenced truth.


·       Teamwork.  Working as a team is one of the most important tools in bringing success in the workplace including to problem solving process. I will pay close attention to working with my colleagues understand their needs in the research and production process. Enabling each to contribute to the final piece while supporting the efficiency needs of our employer.


References


  1. Indeed (2023) What does a news anchor do? (With salary and qualities). Available at: https://uk.indeed.com/career-advice/finding-a-job/what-does-news-anchor-do (Accessed on 1st December 2023)

  2. LinkedIn Talent Solutions (N.D) News Anchor Job Description. Available at: https://business.linkedin.com/talent-solutions/resources/how-to-hire-guides/news-anchor/job-description (Accessed on 1st December 2023)


  3. CPDonline (N.D) How to Become a TV Presenter | Hours, roles & qualifications. Available at: https://cpdonline.co.uk/career-guides/how-to-become-a-tv-presenter/ (Accessed on 1st December 2023)

  4. ASAT Online (2018) Five Principles of Ethical Journalism: Implications for Media Professionals. Available at: https://asatonline.org/for-media-professionals/ethical-journalism-autism-treatment/ (Accessed on 1st December 2023)

  5. Society of Professional Journalists. ( 2014) SPJ Code of Ethics. Available at:  https://www.spj.org/ethicscode.asp (Accessed on 3rs December 2023)

  6. The News Manual. (N.D.) Title of the specific page. Available at: https://www.thenewsmanual.net/Manuals%20Volume%203/volume3_58.htm (Accessed on 3rd December 2023)

7.      https://www.indeed.com/career-advice/pay-salary/news-reporter-vs-news-anchor-salary

8.      Poynter (2011). "8 essential skills for anchors (& any journalist) covering breaking news. Available at: https://www.poynter.org/reporting-editing/2011/8-essential-skills-for-anchors-any-journalist-covering-breaking-news/ (Accessed on 3rd December 2023)

9.      International Media Support (IMS) (N.D) Good Journalism Available at: https://www.mediasupport.org/what-we-do/good-journalism/ (Accessed on 5th December 2023)

10.  IPSO (N.D) Editors Code of Practice available at: https://www.ipso.co.uk/editors-code-of-practice/ (Accessed on 5th December 2023)

11.  International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) (N.D) Global Charter of Ethics for Journalists, Available at: https://www.ifj.org/who/rules-and-policy/global-charter-of-ethics-for-journalists (Accessed on 5th December 2023)

 

Contributors contact details are protected but include:

Mary Mgawe

interview with Salim Kikeke – Presenter with BBC Swahili

Contact details for Fadhili Maghiya CEO of Watch-Africa CIC


Reflection Supports Development
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