Anchorman: (n) the man who presents and coordinates a live television or radio news program
Can there be anything more awkward than the word “anchorperson?”
There are so many entrenched ideas in our society that when you try to edit them with more appropriate language, you end up looking like a buffoon.
But there are also so many talking heads on television of both genders, that we sometimes forget the voices and demeanors that are required to deliver the news of our day with the correct level of gravitas.
I think there are three preferred approaches. (Of course, I admit that this may be generational, and younger viewers may wish for a bit more variety. But I think sometimes what you get with variety is a lack of definition.)
What happens in our world is serious enough that we need the report imparted to us in such a way that we can be impacted without being destroyed, and educated without being influenced. (Once again, my opinion.)
So the three approaches I think work in this position–whether it be male or female–are:
1. Flat and monotone.
There are very few things in life that work with this blending, but I remember watching Huntley and Brinkley as a kid, and being totally convinced that neither one of them were capable of a frown or a smile, but that they had their features cemented in place prior to the broadcast, to ensure they would not communicate any emotion whatsoever during their assignment.
Certainly Walter Cronkite comes to mind. Watching him was kind of like having your dad explain the facts of life to you, using a combination of scientific terms with generally accepted colloquialisms, while all the time patting you on the shoulder to comfort you over some of the more shocking details.
3. Bemused and sardonic.
I always find Brian Williams or Diane Sawyer to be this way. With the squint of an eyebrow, you feel that they are a bit confused about what’s going on with the planet, but the little smile at the corner of their lips tells you not to take things too seriously.
On the other hand, the new batch of anchor people, who sport anger, frustration, sarcasm, a political leaning or just disdain for anyone who disagrees with them, leaves me cold.
Yes, I think an anchor man, who often is a woman, needs to give us a chance to absorb what’s happening, assimilate it through our minds, and arrive at some form of conclusion … that resembles our own thinking.
Thank you for enjoying Words from Dic(tionary) — J.R. Practix