Unformatted text preview: Writing for Broadcast Writing
Writing is the key to employability, Writing regardless of the medium. regardless Almost all media jobs are writingAlmost iintensive. Broadcasting’s no exception. ntensive. Whether you’re going into journalism, advertising, online advertising journalism, telecommunications or public relations ... journalism telecommunications public … American Society for Training and Development researchers and others suggest the ability to communicate in writing is the key communicate to success during the first five years of employment among ALL types of business professionals. types That means employment at … Anything … Anything any time … and anywhere .... NOT just journalism! and anywhere But there are a few differences between writing for print But (publications and the Web) and broadcast writing. (publications When you write for: When BROADCAST MEDIA, BROADCAST YOUR COPY WILL LOOK LIKE THIS: A SCRIPT FORMAT THAT OCCUPIES HALF THE WIDTH OF THE PAGE. But the content will remain accurate, concise and complete, just as in any writing you do, whether all caps or not. whether Broadcasting news values Broadcasting Timeliness! Over one to two hours later may be “stale” news. be KISS – simple stories Two minutes is the maximum normal length. Most are 30 seconds; some are only 10 seconds with five-second “actualities.” “actualities.” Must have aural and Must aural visual impact! Think visual Think sound, voice, visuals! sound, 5 “Ws” and the “H” in print; 4 “Cs” in broadcast writing “Cs” Correctness Clarity Conciseness Color (drama) TV news must TV have “wiggle.” have Words should be: Words UN-ambiguous Simple and familiar Repetitious … if important … but not redundant! Repetitious but Conversational in tone Appealing to the ear … And verbs should be present – not past – tense! Broadcast stories are: Broadcast Done is what’s called “packages.” It’s a careful mix of recordings: interviews It’s with experts or bystanders, background or scenic information (usually with a voice-over). The reporter’s identify and location close out the package. location Start with a “hook” or “headline” to grad Start listener/viewers’ attention. listener/viewers’ Readers should see pictures Readers in their heads from your words. Meeting deadlines is imperative. imperative.
If you don’t, you’ll be fired. Period. End of discussion. Structure: dramatic unity Structure: Story’s high point goes Story’s first. This is like any other hard news lead. other Then the cause … (context, insights) Then the effect of the Then outcome (high point) outcome In broadcast writing, it’s In a news circle – not an inverted pyramid. Viewers must be held. Viewers High Point Cause Effect It’s all about the timing! It’s
Announcers read about 150-160 wpm 2 lines = 10 seconds (25 words) 5 lines = 20 seconds (45 words) 8 lines = 30 seconds (65 words) 16 lines = 60 seconds (125 words) Timing … is everything! About 60 characters/spaces, depending upon how fast someone reads – which should be a little faster than normal speech, but not too fast – is 4 seconds. How long did it take to read the sentence above? About 10 seconds? Broadcast stories are “a unit” -- and can’t be cut. -90 80 70 60 50 40 30 20 10 0 1 st Q t r 2 nd Q t r 3rd Qt r 4t h Qt r Ea st W e st N or t h Flow is … Flow
… arranging stories in a way pleasing to viewers. arranging A newscast usually is only three to seven minutes without commercials. seven Yep. Believe it or not! That’s all there is. Broadcast writing conventions: Broadcast Read the fine print here please.
Titles before names. Don’t abbreviate. Avoid direct quotes. Attribution comes before – not Attribution after – a quote if used. after Use just enough punctuation Use to help newscaster through. to Time: the alarm was set at Time: seven-23 P-M. Or lightening struck at about 6 o’clock last night. Break-in took place at four A-M. Use midnight and noon. Note that A-M and P-M are hyphenated. are Round off numbers and Round statistics. Numbers 1-11 are written out as words. Use “three million 450-thousand people.” people.” Spell out monetary units, as Spell in “The lunch bill was 16in dollars and 45-cents.” Personalize! Use “you” to Personalize! speak directly to listeners. speak Avoid extended description. Don’t use symbols, including Don’t the dollar sign. Write it out. the More writing tips … More Use phonetic spelling for Use unfamiliar words. unfamiliar Avoid pronouns. Avoid apposition (such Avoid as Tom Smith, mayor) as Say “tomorrow” and Say “yesterday.” “yesterday.” Say “47-year-old Charles Say Johnson,” not “Charles Johnson, 47,” …. Johnson, Use present tense. AVOID using quotes AVOID unless you have an actuality (sound bite). Say “Mayor Jones says … and I’m quoting now … “Quote the mayor.” Avoid dependent clauses Avoid at the beginning of sentences. sentences. Subject, verb, object! Still more writing tips … Still Use contractions constantly. Use ellipses to create Use pauses, not commas. pauses, Don’t use question marks, Don’t exclamation points. exclamation Just “say” it! Use “says,” not “said.” Avoid using quotes. No abbreviations No
They’re too hard to read aloud. Preparing copy … pay attention to this please! attention One story per page, One double-spaced. double-spaced. Use caps and lower Use case letters. case Don’t carry paragraphs Don’t to new pages. to Don’t hyphenate at the Don’t end of a line. end Indicate “ROLL TAPE” Indicate when tape is inserted and when it ends. and “Show, don’t tell” is even Show, more important on radio. more
Formats for radio broadcast stories are: • Written copy/ “voicers” – without actualities or sound bites • Sound bite or actuality – someone or something on the radio with an identifiable sound to juxtapose with broadcaster’s voice sound More radio formats More
• Wrap-around – intro, Wrap-around sound bite, tag line. sound • Mini-documentary – Mini-documentary Anchor sets the stage. Story runs more than a minute (and sometimes as much as 15 minutes) and includes sound bites, reporters weaving in and out of story. (NPR uses this style.) uses Television formats Television Reader copy – read by anchor, slide or graphic background or Voice-overs – videotape shown with the sound of the event turned down and reporter speaking over it and Voice-over to sound bite – anchor, someone talking on tape someone More TV news formats More Package stories – anchor leads in, intro the story and reporter; then a pre-recorded piece includes video, sound bites, voice-overs and a standsound up description by the reporter. Live shots – anchor to the reporter at scene who does a stand-up, then interviews someone, has V/O videotape, answers ?s of viewers. videotape, New developments … New Reporters get more direct control in Reporters creating their stories because of new computerized work stations. computerized Increased use of satellite technology means Increased more “stand-ups”/copy to Web. more Broadcast and print are merging under a Broadcast single roof – ergo, reporters are wearing two hats at the Caller-Times in Corpus. two Who’s was your favorite broadcast journalist? broadcast Barbara Walters? Walter Cronkite? John Stuart Leibowitz Charles Kuralt? Katie Couric? Diane Sawyer? Tony Kornheiser/Colin Cowherd? Simple Assignment Simple Find a short print story on the Web or Find in a daily newspaper. in Re-write it for broadcast. See Chapter 9, especially pp. 188199. ...
View Full Document
- Spring '10
- Broadcast Journalism, broadcast writing