News Anchors and the Abuse of Power by Ron Steinman

Because an anchor in television news may make ten million dollars a year – an obscene amount in journalism by any standard – it does not mean that person is smarter, a better journalist, or someone with superior skills in broadcasting. When the network he or she works for designates that person Managing Editor, red flags fly. Yes, managing editor started with Walter Cronkite as probably a sweetener during his contract negotiations. It continues to this day seamlessly and recklessly for anchors on every network newscast. Despite its presence, it doesn’t means it is a good idea. By now we should accept that network executives do not always know what they are doing. Even in news, they are star-struck and kowtow to the celebrity anchor. Managing editor says the anchor has power that far exceeds ability, experience and knowledge. The managing editor — how good that sounds — invariably takes the title seriously, believing he or she is really in charge. It is a distraction in the newsroom and it gets in the way of the professionals who are trying to run the broadcast. Going forward, the networks should abolish the title for the betterment of journalism.


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