Question of the Day: Does local news need an anchor?

Today’s New York Times notes that local news anchors are increasingly being forced into retirement.  The article explains:

“Across the country, longtime local TV anchors are a dying breed. Facing an economic slump and a severe advertising downturn, many stations have cut costs drastically in the last year, and veteran anchors, with their expensive contracts, seem to be shouldering a disproportionate share of the cutbacks. When station managers are forced to make cuts, hefty anchor salaries are a tempting target.

One of the anchors profiled, Ernie Bjorkman from KWGN in Denver, adds “I don’t think we’re going to see the anchor people grow old with the audience anymore.”

Considering this, here is the question of the day: Does local news need an anchor?

Do audiences expect (or want) a central figure to deliver the news to them?  If yes, does the role change?  Does the host simply get younger, and their salary smaller?  Or is there more?  And if no host is needed, what, or who, should replace that anchor role?

Thoughts?  Discuss!

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