A guy walks into a bar. It may sound like a trite joke or a B-movie script, but the direction of Anthony Everett’s life literally changed by meeting a woman in a bar. It’s true. After graduating from Tufts University as an English and Philosophy double major and applying to law school, he and some friends took off for a ski vacation in Colorado. His friends stayed for 2 weeks and left, but Everett decided he wanted to stick around and live the ski bum life in the winter of ‘84.
Enter a woman in a bar, who happened to have been a news anchor at a little local radio and TV station that was looking for a sportscaster. She convinced Everett to take a screen test and the station hired him to do sports reports on TV and radio.
‘I had no broadcast experience,’ explains Everett. However, he did have some journalism experience, having served as editor-in-chief at the Tufts Daily, one of the country’s leading college publications. ‘I was awful. But they needed somebody and so that’s how I started,’ reveals Everett.
He did sports reports for about a year but realized that his interests in news were greater and that news provided more opportunities for him. ‘I felt there was more value to me personally doing news,’ he continues. ‘So I switched and became their news anchor and ultimately became the news director, as well, so I had management and on-air experience.’
In 1987, Everett was hired at WVIT, the NBC station in Hartford, CT, first as reporter and then as weekend anchor, as well. Eventually, he became the weekday anchor at the station. While at WVIT, then-WCVB news director, Emily Rooney, hired Everett for a Sunday night shift at the Boston station, as his then-fiancée was in business school in the Hub. December of 1989, Rooney told Everett she could guarantee him 3 days a week in ‘CVB’s newsroom and he leapt at the part-time opportunity. Within a month, reporter Jack Heath left and Everett took his place as full time general assignment reporter.
During his time at WCVB, he was able to learn the ropes from some of the best in Boston news who were very gracious and helpful to him. But Everett actually modeled himself after the late ABC anchor Peter Jennings. ‘I always thought he was the ultimate news anchor.’
Eventually, he became the weekend co-anchor and fill-in weekday anchor until December of 1999, when 2 major events occurred. Anchor Brian Leary left the station and legendary anchors Chet Curtis and Natalie Jacobson split up. That created a news anchor version of musical chairs, featuring multiple anchor teams that appeared to change every half-hour. When Curtis left, Everett got the anchor job fulltime from 2000-2007.
When Everett was seemingly ensconced in the anchor seat in 2005, he was recruited to co-host the jewel in the programming crown, ‘Chronicle’, the celebrated, long-running news magazine program. At first, he was hesitant to take on the position, but was persuaded and encouraged by longtime ‘Chronicle’ hosts Mary Richardson and Peter Mehegan.
He accepted the offer and did both his news anchor job and the ‘Chronicle’ co-hosting job for 2 years. In 2007, Ed Harding took over all the anchor positions and Everett went to ‘Chronicle’ full time.
His views on the difference between working in news and working on ‘Chronicle’ have changed over the years. ‘Initially, the biggest difference was the deadline pressure,’ Everett explains. ‘The environment was much less intense and there’s so much more time to work your craft, to write creatively, to use the video and to add music. The first thing I noticed is that the time crunch is really off.’
But as he worked at ‘Chronicle’ over time, his view changed a bit. ‘I began to realize that the quality is exceptionally high and there’s a reason why it takes a month to put a ‘Chronicle’ program together. That became increasingly rewarding to me,’ he elaborates. ‘I have said many times that I think ‘Chronicle’ does some of the best journalism in all of Boston television. Nothing against our news team but we have the time to do some of the best journalism in the city.’
‘I say to people, there are many nights when I get off the set from ‘Chronicle’ and I think to myself ‘Wow, that was really good television. I’m really proud to be a part of it.’
Over the span of Everett’s career, there have been many memorable moments. From interviewing survivors of the Titanic, to traveling to South Korea for 2 weeks for ‘Chronicle’, to covering Pope John Paul II’s death at the Vatican plus selection of the new Pope. But high on the list is the trip he and photographer Lionel Jardine’s trip to Vietnam in 1989.
‘We were the first American film crew taken to Vietnam by the Russians ever,’ he proudly exclaims. ‘We actually ran into a ’60 Minutes’ crew and they said ‘what are you guys doing here?’ because they thought they were the first Americans who had ever been let into Vietnam.’ But Everett and Jardine from the upstart Hartford station had apparently beaten the big guys there.
Since he started in the TV news business, Everett feels that the biggest change is the number of ‘avenues through which you can get information’. We still do the job basically the same way we always did. But the competition has forced us to be faster, better and a little more nimble.’
‘There’s still an appetite for good content. There’s so much chaff out there, if you produce good wheat, people will come and they’ll watch. The quality of content will still be really important. It’s just about how you get it out there and being smart about that. I get a lot of pride and professional satisfaction about what we do at ‘Chronicle’, Everett explains. ‘It’s really a team effort, and I like that.’
Before Everett accepted the position of ‘Chronicle’ host, he had heart-to-heart conversations with Mary Richardson and Peter Mehegan, longtime hosts of the program. ‘Both Mary and Peter said they both thought they’d be there for a year and then back in news and here we are 20-plus years later. We never left.’ And I can see how that happens.’
But it’s doubtful that it would have occurred the same way for Anthony Everett if he hadn’t walked into that Colorado bar that fateful night several decades ago. It was the road taken. And it led to ‘Chronicle’.
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