Beyond Walter Cronkite’s “And That’s The Way It Is”: Ten American Network News anchors’ swan songs

Burton Silcock, Madeleine Liseblad

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Television anchors are key public figures in the American news media, vital for the ratings success of their outlets. This study uses content analysis and framing theory to examine US network news anchors’ role at a pivotal career moment—the last minutes in the all-powerful anchor chair—their swan songs. These final words are examined for messages as anchors express gratitude, sum up careers, provide journalism insights, and pronounce final words of wisdom. The textual analysis revealed several dominant frames—becoming one with the audience, expressions of gratitude to staff and viewers, the anchors’ perception of their historical role noting predecessors and successors, and insightful wisdom about journalism’s role in society. The visual analysis showed a style reinforcing a professional presence, signaling authority, and objectivity. Each American lodestar anchor was different, yet they were similar in how they said goodbye and how they wanted to be remembered.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)122-139
Number of pages18
JournalJournalism Practice
Volume13
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Feb 7 2019

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Keywords

  • American
  • anchor
  • broadcasting
  • content analysis
  • framing theory
  • network news
  • swan song
  • television

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication

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