Anchor Adventure in Sri Lanka

Yes, I co-anchored the 9pm news bulletin on Sri Lanka’s independent MTV Newsfirst! My partner Shameer Rasooldeen guided me through the treacherous Singhalese words. You haven’t lived until you’ve had to say “Anarandapura Hospital” on live TV. I thought the EP, Chevaan Devavarathan Daniel, was joking when he suggested during the station tour that I stick around to anchor the broadcast. He wasn’t kidding. And that tells you something about this innovative news organization. But first… here’s the breaking news.Content of the newscast: severe weather, election fraud, woman killed by elephant, billion dollar rescue plan for the economy, cancer hospital closed, honoring the heroes who ended the civil war a year ago, Bollywood stars coming to Colombo for Indian Academy Awards. Whew! But there was none of the drama that accompanies such news in the US. Most of the stories are written in the past tense and passive voice. The rundown calls for a series of anchor throws to packages, so there are no VOs or VO SOTS to quicken the pace and add variety. Another change is that the presenters sit far apart at the desk, while American co-anchors sit so close together than their knees are almost touching. The camera was at the far end of the studio and I had to remind myself not to shout. The anchors don’t work from a printed rundown and instead rely on the producer in their ear telling them to stand by.
The professional hair and makeup crew made sure I didn’t look as tired as I felt. I can hardly wait to check out the DVD of an unforgettable experience.