What led you to this profession?
Majumder Jewel (MJ): What interested me in news anchoring was when I started poetry recitation as a student of Dhaka University. Over the years, the interest grew. One day, I thought of applying for a job, and later, in 1990, I was employed as a news anchor at Ekushey Television.
What primary qualifications should one possess to become a news anchor?
MJ: Anyone interested in news anchoring must have a cultural background as cultural activities can nurture them for the job in the long run.
Speaking of educational requirements, an applicant must be a graduate from any discipline.
We definitely prioritise applicants who have been associated with cultural activities. Poetry recitation, singing, dancing, whatever the activity maybe, if we receive an application from a graduate who is culturally rich, that person will get more preference for the job.
What is voice modulation?
MJ: It is the measurement of control over your vocal prowess.
As I have already said, cultural activities such as poetry recitation and singing nurture the voice and prepares it for jobs that require a strong command over vocals. With practice, voice modulation can automatically install itself in a person's vocal chords.
Do women get more preference in news anchoring jobs? Why?
MJ: Truth be told, it is true to some extent that women are preferred for news anchoring job over men.
This is mostly because television channels are a viewable service for the people and they like seeing female faces and listening to feminine voices, over men. But of course, male news anchors are very much in demand as well.
However, I personally think women should be prioritised for this job because they are more culturally-oriented than men and that is a very important criterion for becoming a news anchor.
How can someone learn proper pronunciation?
MJ: There are various outlets to learn pronunciation. Primarily, Dhaka University has a few language centers where they teach pronunciation and proper vocal practice.
And if anyone wants to learn pronunciation in a more professional setting, there are many well-known language and pronunciation institutes in Dhaka that specialise in not only perfecting pronunciation but also teaches how to have command over one's vocals.
Apart from professional centers, I think it is equally important for a person to be able to properly pronounce words naturally. For example, if a person has a local dialect from childhood, it is very difficult to suddenly get rid of it and speak in standard Bangla.
How should one apply to become a news presenter?
MJ: The easiest way is to drop your CV or resume to the TV channel's front desk addressed either to the editor or HR.
One thing that should be noted is whoever applies for the job of a news anchor should have the patience to wait. Channels do not hire news anchors throughout the year. They are only hired when there is a vacancy.
We never discard any of the CVs we get, which is why channels can call an applicant for an interview even after a couple of years.
Can you tell us a bit about the career prospects as a news anchor?
MJ: As a career, news anchoring is definitely a great option and it has a lot of prospects if you can create a face value for yourself.
Since a news anchor's face will be broadcasted nationwide, the more face value a news anchor has, the more s/he will be in demand and with more demand, comes more salary.
However, making the profession sustainable depends completely on them.
How much can one earn as a news presenter?
MJ: The pay scale varies from one presenter to the other. Some channels pay newcomers Tk500 per news while some channels pay as much as Tk1,500. But if we are talking about professionals who have been in the industry for some time, they can earn up to Tk2 lakh per month - depending on their face value and experience in the industry.
What advice would you like to give to people interested in becoming news anchors?
MJ: My advice to them would be to keep practicing pronunciation and not lose patience. Since this industry prioritises cultural activities, I would advise future applicants to get into the habit of participating in these activities.