When you’re a KING 5 anchor, life is good.
You’re the face of the evening news, reading off big stories for an audience that’s growing by the minute.
You have a platform, fame and admiration.king 5 news anchor dies
Within KING 5’s newsroom, there are dozens of people who would love to be in your place – so how does it all come to an end?
It could be as simple as an email from management explaining that they’ve let you go because they don’t need so many anchors now.
It could also come when you realize someone else has been living your life better than you have
making more money than what would ever be attainable at KING 5 or any other TV station in town.
Or, it could come after years of battling with your bosses about how your career wasn’t going anywhere.
But when the day comes, what you do is up to you.
At 5 p.m., August 23rd, I was sitting in a conference room at KING with three others – a morning meteorologist, a reporter and a producer.
We were told that we had been let go from our positions as regular news anchors and that we would be reassigned for the time being to reporting jobs.
It didn’t matter that we had all been at KING long enough that we had retirement accounts or that I was just six months away from medical benefits.
We were all in shock.
My first thought was that I had been let go because my ratings weren’t good enough.
I mean, they didn’t say it outright, but they never did when you’re in the news business.
It’s always “your ratings are down” or “your stories are too long.” As a member of the team,
I had always felt it was my job to help promote ratings – so when my bosses started blaming me for low ratings,
I began to wonder if they really wanted something better than what I could give them.
We have a great group of people who work at KING 5 – many of whom have been there for decades.
If you’re a new anchor who isn’t pulling ratings, it’s easy to start believing that you aren’t good enough.
That maybe, if you were leaving for somewhere else, you’d have a better chance at success.
I started thinking about the other anchors who were still there – because I had heard rumors that they might be next to be let go.
These are people who have been killing themselves for years trying to do the best they can for this company and their communities.
They work hard and I don’t know any of them that would want to leave
if they could just do another story or read another set of numbers or call out another name on the screen – something that would keep them at KING 5 forever.
But, for myself, I wanted to be somewhere where I would get to do more than just read the news.
We all did. And it’s just not what they want.
It’s not that hard to understand – because when you’re in the news business
, the only reason you get hired is because you can do a lot of things that most people can’t do.
You have a background in education and a broadcasting degree that makes you a natural at reading scripts and memorizing details.
You know how to hold a camera steady under any kind of weather condition
report with great expertise on everything from sports to the space shuttle launch.
They hire you for the skills that you have.
And then, slowly, over years of doing this job every day on the air, they tell you to stop using them.
They say things like “don’t breathe on air”.
Don’t make yourself look too tan. Don’t laugh at the jokes your coworkers make about your appearance on air
because if you do, they’ll make it seem like it’s a pattern of behavior that will lead to your downfall.
And don’t ever let anyone see that there are things making you sad or angry at work
because maybe then people will say your emotions are getting in the way of your news delivery and that’s not what they’re paying for.
With every anchor that’s let go, there’s a big change in the room –
and it has nothing to do with the person who has left.
It’s how you start to see yourself. No longer are you good enough for this city or your families or the people you work with.
You start to look at how other people are moving up and you wonder what you can do to get ahead too
– because if they’re doing it, then maybe it can be done.