Updates from Frederick Smith, former Detroiter living in Los Angeles, and author of Down For Whatever (July2005) and Right Side of the Wrong Bed (December 2007).
Wednesday, August 10, 2005
When I was a kid, my dream job was to be a news anchor. On the right are some of the locals from Detroit when I was young... right, working your way in... Dayna Eubanks, Doris Biscoe, Diana Lewis... and in the collage, top right Kathy Adams, bottom right Amyre Makupson, bottom left Carmen Harlan. All Detroiters at some point. Since we didn't have "movie star" celebrities in the Motor City, we looked to news anchors as our celebs.
Since being a news anchor was my childhood career dream. I used to follow anchors, formats, and set changes religiously in Detroit. Used to sit in the mirror and practice reading from sheets of paper, my "scripts", to get just the right delivery. Would practice cheesy transition jokes to my fake weather and sports anchors. Would beg my parents to tape local Detroit news and send me the tapes while in college. In the Missouri School of Journalism I got a bit more practice. Got raves for my acceptable and crisp "Midwestern" accent. Kept it through the year I worked doing local news cut-ins for the Today Show at 6:25, 7:25, and 8:25 in the morning in Columbia, Missouri: Fred Smith, NewsCenter 8, Columbia.
Anyway, been thinking a lot about anchors this week... since the death of Peter Jennings. News is changing a lot. Dan Rather has new assignments at CBS. Tom Brokaw retired from NBC. News isn't news anymore. At least it seems that way. It's press kits and releases from government officials. Or celebrity news that isn't really news. No one investigates or questions anymore. We don't rely on a single anchor to reassure us anymore. We have internet news and the revolving door of folks on 24-hour news channels. Just an observation. But kinda missing the days of running home to see my favorite anchors sitting at the desk reassuring us everything would be okay in the world.