By: Rachel Ibanez
Dennis Bounds has been a part of the King 5 News team in Seattle since 1991. Currently, he co-anchors the 5, 6:30, 10 and 11 newscasts. During his time at King 5, Bounds has covered a variety of events including interviewing the Dalai Lama, many Olympic Games, and political debates.
How did you start in the broadcasting world? What kinds of classes did you take in college, if you attended?
I worked at 3 small radio stations before falling into television news. I had a friend from college who was working at the number 3 station in Fargo, ND and she told me they had a weekday evening anchor opening. I applied for the job and got it. My march into the business began. My major in college was Sociology with a minor in philosophy (the University of North Dakota), so I took no classes in broadcasting, though I worked at the campus radio station during my senior year. I always had an interest in sport broadcasting, but discovered in my first television job that doing the news seemd to be more important (though I have friends who’ve done very well in sportscasting).
You have been in your current position for nearly 20 years (according to the KING5 website), what keeps you around for so long? In other words, why do you love your job?
I’ve been at KING5 for over 23 years. 3 years, 9 months and 3 days as the morning and noon anchor at the station, and almost 20 years in the evening anchor position (38 years in broadcast journalism in total). What keeps me around is that I decided at a point early on at KING that this was the place where I’d spend the rest of my career and raise my family. I’ve been able to meet interesting people, do interesting things and enjoy a little bit of travel for my job. That’s why I love it. Also, being a part of the community has been fulfilling as a person who comes into people’s homes every night, and making many appearances at a number of community and charitable events around the region over the years. I’ve always said KING is my last and best stop in my career.
Do you have any predictions on where broadcast journalism is headed?
It’s hard for me to make an accurate prediction for where broadcast journalism is headed. I can say that the number of people watching local t.v. news has dropped quite a bit with more news available over the internet and on cable. There will always be a need for good story tellers and credible information gatherers and investigators. The task is to find the platform where the most people will be able to see/listen/read those stories. My bosses tell me that what television does well, and where people tune in, are live events.
What’s a day in the life of Dennis Bounds, news anchor, like?
A typical day starts at 2:30 in the afternoon. I anchor one hour at 5pm, one hour at 6:30pm, one hour at 10pm on our sister station KONG, and a half hour at 11pm. That’s 3 and a half hours on the air, every day. I spend a lot of time going over scripts, checking for accuracy and grammatical errors. Everything I read I usually proof before I read it on the air. There are exceptions; stories that are written late or changed during a broadcast. I also offer any editorial advice that producers might have (given that I’m twice as old as most producers at the station) and raise questions about editorial content and placement in the news. On those atypical days I might have be emceeing a luncheon event (or breakfast event, though not often). I’m home by midnight. Then it’s up the next morning and I digest news from the Seattle Times, New York Times and I peruse news aggregate sites like Flipboard or Pulse (on my I-Pad).
Do you have any pieces of advice for an aspiring journalist like myself?
My advice to you; learn the language well, perfect your writing skills, take as many public speaking opportunities as possible, get a broad based education (political science, economics, history, government), and learn to express yourself in your own voice. Learn a little about a lot of things. As you progress in your broadcast news career, you may find a specialty you like, at which time you can immerse yourself in a particular subject and become something of an expert. Start at a small market television, where you can learn your craft and make your mistakes. With practice and years under your belt, you’ll make your way up the ladder to a larger market, perhaps even a network.
Hope all of this helps you.
Good luck with your college career and wherever broadcast journalism takes you.