KTLA News Anchor Rick Chambers speaks to journalism students

Anne Lima and Yousef Fatehpour

Ilana Gale

Journalism students were surprised to learn about the consequences news anchors face, including being suspended, if they say something inappropriate while live on the air.

“When you’re out there, you’re in control,” KTLA Sunday Edition and Weekend News anchor Rick Chambers said.

KTLA News Anchor Rick Chambers discusses his career and what it's like to be an anchor in the news business.
Lauren Fritschi
KTLA News Anchor Rick Chambers discusses his career and what it’s like to be an anchor in the news business.

He introduced the students to the ins and outs of being a news anchor during a presentation today. Chambers described the immense amount of pressure that is placed on news anchors during live television.

“It’s a lucrative business to get into but you have to be able to carry the weight,” said Chambers, who has been working for Los Angeles television stations since the early 1990s.

Chambers explained how important it is to react to tragic events as a reporter but at the same time,  keep composure and get through the assignment.

“You really have to build up a callous emotionally,” Chambers said.

During the presentation, he advised students to only pursue this business if they can handle the competitive nature of this job.

“You really have to watch your back,” Chambers said. “But generally, most people are nice.”

Chambers also gave students an idea of how tight deadlines can be during live television with three hour deadlines and the importance of turning everything in on time or else it will complicate the entire evening line up.

Chambers has worked at KTLA for six years and prior to this job he worked at KNBC since 1992. He arrived to work at KNBC in Los Angeles on a Monday and by Wednesday, the Los Angeles Riots broke out and he had to immediately start reporting. Chambers was given a bullet proof vest and he had to ride with police, while he watched stores being looted and vandalized.   

Part of the excitement is to be where the action is and then report about it.”

— KTLA Anchor Rick Chambers

“It (the riots) was an awful thing for the city of LA but it was great for my career,” Chambers said. 

Chambers enlisted in the military after high school, which gave him a boost of self-confidence and opened up more possibilities.

After four years, Chambers tried to get a job as an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT), however, many of the positions were full.

“I thought I had my future thought out and suddenly that was not the case,” Chambers said.

Eventually, he stumbled upon journalism and became interested. When someone heard his voice, they suggested Chambers should pursue radio, however, it didn’t work out.

Directly out of college, Chambers was hired at a small ABC  station outside of Harrisburg, IL.

“We worked everyday, anchored everyday and wrote everyday,” Chambers said.  

On his days off, Chambers likes to watch Netflix.  He does not watch the news often but he will watch certain hour-long special news reports.  

“Since I interact and talk with people nonstop, on my day off that’s the last thing I want to do,” said Chambers, who appeared in several films including “Nightcrawler” and “The Purge: Anarchy.”  

After being in this business for 37 years, Chambers has learned it inside and out. He understands and explained the complexities of being an anchor and reporter for a large television station.

“Part of the excitement is to be where the action is and then report about it,” Chambers said.