Day in the life of a news anchor

I can’t possibly encompass all of the craziness that took place in this nine-hour period from 3 p.m. until midnight with four news casts, constant moving, tons of television screens and loads of sarcasm in one professional article. But that won’t stop me from trying.

Anchors+Greg+Copeland+and+Amanda+Grace+sit+at+the+King+5+news+desk+during+the+4+p.m.+news.+

Jacoy Willis

Anchors Greg Copeland and Amanda Grace sit at the King 5 news desk during the 4 p.m. news.

Jacoy Willis, Feature Editor

These days people primarily get their news from social media or other online sources, but that doesn’t mean other forms of news are irrelevant. Though printed newspapers are slowly going out of style, televised news is still a large industry. For this issue, I was very fortunate to shadow King 5 news anchor Greg Copeland to see just what goes on behind the scenes.

“My job is absolute chaos from start to finish,” Copeland said.

Arriving around 3 p.m. at the King 5 station in Seattle to prepare for the 4 p.m. show, Copeland promptly reads his script and schedule for the coming evening. Once he reads through what the writers composed in the script and rewords it to sound like he would say it, Copeland must check his Facebook and Twitter accounts to check what his viewers have to say.

“Social media and audience interaction is about 30 percent of the job,” Copeland said.

Though he is not a large fan of social media, Copeland loves interacting with people. During breaks on camera, the anchors are constantly working. Whether they are making notes on scripts, checking on breaking news or just preparing for the next round of announcements, the anchors are on their phones and computers to make the most of their time on the job.

“I love to interview people and learn new things,” Copeland said. “I like getting people to tell me things they normally wouldn’t tell someone.”

Copeland has had a passion for learning new things about people since high school when his mom suggested news as a career.

“I was one of those people who sat in class and did the work, but had no idea what I wanted to do after high school,” Copeland said.

He took his mom’s idea all the way to Washington State University. While there he earned a degree in journalism and practiced how to connect to people, following his passion.

Now an anchor, live interviews are a way Copeland gets to interact with people, as he is no longer a field reporter. As they only get one shot, it is important to do plenty of research about the person and topic ahead of time in order to accurately address important areas the viewers would want to hear.

As an anchor, Copeland gives brief information to lead into stories while field reporters and other segments go into further detail about the stories.

Different viewers tune in around the clock, which is why there are so many newscasts in a single day. The day I was shadowing, Copeland and his co-anchor Amanda Grace anchored the 4 p.m., 6 p.m., 10 p.m. and 11 p.m. news. These hours can be difficult on a family, as it is for Copeland.

“Working holidays and evenings means I can’t spend time with my family and kids,” Copeland said.

He has had many different schedules during his 19 years of working as an anchor and reporter. Each one is difficult in its own ways, whether it is getting up at two o’clock in the morning or missing out on key family time in the evening.

“If there’s a show in this building, I’ve done it,” Copeland said. “I’ve been up before dawn working or staying until the next morning doing a late-night newscast.”

Over the years Copeland has worked at every show in the King 5 building at one time or another, from the early morning news at 6 a.m. until the 11 p.m. Though the hours can be tough, Copeland is seen as the sarcastic and goofy co-anchor. He is constantly cracking jokes when he’s working or while they are on commercial break.

“He’s a lot of fun to work with,” Grace said. “He likes to distract people and be on his phone all the time but he also works hard.”

The dedication shown by Copeland is consistent in many of the other workers at King 5. Grace, having worked in the industry of broadcast journalism for 11 years, has a great enthusiasm and confidence in her career.

“I’m not sure what form it will take,” Grace said, “but everyone will always need as a source of information and communication.”