September 1 marks the one-year anniversary of David Muir, 41, taking over as anchor of ABC World News Tonight. The selection of Muir, a veteran field reporter, has brought the newscast 500,000 new viewers and has tightened the race between ABC and NBC at 6:30 pm. Earlier this year, World News Tonight beat NBC Nightly News in total viewers four weeks in a row for the first time in more than seven years. Muir reflects on his first year in the anchor chair.
1. I’m convinced that we should end each newscast with a story that offers a bit of hope. It’s my way of signaling that we’re all in this together. That might be “Made in America,” my series about small-town business victories. We often hear from profiled companies that their website crashes within moments of our newscasts. That means people are watching and want to support them.
2. Being the anchor of an evening newscast is a two-way conversation. People tweet us during the show. I tweet during the commercial breaks. We get immediate feedback, so it’s a hyper-connected moment to be an anchor. I’m grateful for that.
3. People expect an anchor to be accessible in person as well. On the way home on the subway a couple of months ago, the guy sitting next to me turned and asked, “What happened today?” [Laughs] So I went through the rundown of the newscast. People today are inundated with bits of information on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram. The responsibility is greater than ever to do a deeper dive [on the broadcast] and answer the questions that people have about those headlines.
4. I’m moved by the reactions of viewers to stories I’ve done overseas. We did a story about child refugees on the Syrian border who were picking potatoes in the fields all day. In a few hours, viewers sent $33,578 to fund supplies for makeshift UNICEF schools.
5. I’ve learned that I am my own biggest critic. At home after the newscast, I’m always thinking about a story that we can do in more depth or a question that we can ask better. That’s what drives me.
6. I did part of an interview with Jeb Bush in Spanish—his is quite good—for our Univision cable partners. That portion of the interview immediately went viral. We were reminded that there is a huge audience who might not have watched that interview had they not seen that I was willing to ask some questions in Spanish.