x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 20 January 2018

Casting her anchor wide

CNN’s International Desk anchor Hala Gorani tell Saeed Saeed that authenticity defines a good news anchor.

The CNN International anchor Hala Gorani. Delores Johnson / The National
The CNN International anchor Hala Gorani. Delores Johnson / The National

CNN’s International Desk anchor Hala Gorani tells Saeed Saeed that what makes a good news anchor is authenticity

A lot of news anchors are defined by the connection to their audience. Is that tough to achieve on an international news channel where the audience changes every hour?

That is possible and that’s why local news anchors are known by their first names, and when they enter the local bakery they are recognisable. With CNN, it is a smaller audience in many countries because we are not local, but you do find that during breaking news everyone in that case will tune in. But at the same time, you do hope that in each country you have your faithful local audience.

In your experience, are the personalities of news anchors the same on and off the screen?

They are usually not the same – but I think mine is pretty much the same. This is something that you have to work on as an anchor, as you want to be someone’s confidante and storyteller. To spend an hour with someone on television, you really have to like them and feel they are genuine. That comes with experience and you have to always be cognisant of that.

Do you embrace the jet-setting lifestyle of an international journalist?

At this stage of my career, I am not embracing a transient lifestyle. I am at the moment deciding on where my home base would be. I do move around a lot when a story breaks, but I like the fact that I can have a home base to go back to.

What are you looking for in a new home base?

I do like a neighbourhood feel. I like the idea of opening my doors and walking around without necessarily making a reservation and just walking into a restaurant. I just like that neighbourhood life. You can get that in places such as Paris and Washington.

• Hala Gorani hosts International Desk on CNN International from Atlanta at 6pm, Monday to Friday