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If you have any role in news presentation, particularly in the studio, you are going to be involved with the teleprompter.

Smooth delivery using this device will be essential to your success. While it will be challenging at first, many hundreds of people do it successfully every day, and you can learn it, too. Of course, the primary goal is to look and sound like you are conversing rather than reading. The first step to get you there is practice, but there are numerous techniques to apply as well.

At the anchor desk, some newscasters sit, while others stand. In either case, you need to exhibit good posture, but with a relaxed appearance. This means sitting or standing erect, without leaning forward on the counter. In most situations, you'll want the news copy in front of you—preferably one story to a page, in case you get instructions to delete or add a story via the IFB. Both for appearance and emergencies, you will need to check your copy after each story. This brief pause helps the viewer to understand that you're changing stories. The pause shouldn't be long, but will help keep the right story in front of you, in case the teleprompter suddenly fails. Many stations find the viewers prefer to have you appear to use the copy, even though your delivery is coming 100% from the prompter. In most cases, you'll want to keep the copy flat or with the edge toward the camera raised only slightly. Holding it at 45 degrees will cause the lights to be reflected back on your face, changing the lighting. It also can become a wall that you don't want between you and your viewers.

How do you appear to be just talking when, in fact, you're reading from a script? First, all the vocal skills that have been previously covered come into play—inflection, pauses, emphasis, and pace are all essential. In a television newscast, a monotone reading is going to sound terrible. In addition, being as familiar with the copy as possible will help your performance tremendously. Certainly practice the difficult words, but become well acquainted with the flow of each story, so that you aren't surprised by something you run into, such as when a sentence goes off in a direction you didn't expect. Beginners often do not become as familiar with their stories as they should.

PrompterThe anchor's view of the teleprompter.

Next, in reading the prompter, you should set the pace. Your operator's job is to adjust to your delivery, not the other way around. Don't feel you have to rush. Remember, you're likely to feel the need to hurry. You may want to find a comfortable rate during practice and have that speed held during your report. The prompter will show you four or five lines, but since the type will be large, each line will have perhaps only three words in it. Look at the center of the middle line and try to hold your attention there. Avoid having your eyes tracking across each line. While holding your eyes steady, you can use your peripheral vision to see the oncoming words. Having some of the words in your mind, you can then split your attention between the delivery of the current phrase and what's coming next on the teleprompter— difficult sounding, but doable.

The final step is getting away from the "death stare," where you are so locked in on the prompter that your body becomes motionless and your face, a grim deadpan. Your face and hands are critical tools in successful teleprompter delivery. When we talk normally, we use head nods and a variety of facial expressions for emphasis. The more animated your face becomes, the more real you seem. We communicate a great deal with our eyebrows, and these should be a regular part of your tool kit for broadcast delivery. Small smiles, frowns, nods, and eyebrow moves contribute to making you seem involved and interested, and can help with the viewer's understanding of the story as well. Small gestures with the hand not holding the copy can also be added. Being expressive and animated without overdoing it makes you a much more interesting newscaster to watch, and gives you a professional appearance. 

If you stumble over your words, correct yourself and go on. The operator should slow the speed of the teleprompter for a moment until you recover. If it's a big mistake or a bit funny, a shake of the head will let the audience know you're human and will make them more likely to support you. Of course, a steady string of errors is not good, so concentration, preparation, and practice are your friends.