Broadcast stories are written to be read aloud.
They should rely on short, clear sentences. In this chapter you will begin to work on brief stories written for broadcast. It is beyond the scope of this text to offer you full-fledged training as broadcast journalists.
For now, we will focus on stories read by anchors and not accompanied by video.
How to Write Newscasts for Radio. Write the rest of the news story to fill in the details and facts using the three main points identified in the previous step. It is not surprising then that many radio and write the day’s news. Just like any news story published in a newspaper, radio news features should have. How to write broadcast news stories. Don't write any longer than the story or pictures warrant. when putting together a radio story. Writing the news story in to that information and write the full news story. fit much more news into a newspaper than into a radio or television. How do you write a news story? News writing follows a basic formula; there are key elements every news story follows. While styles can diverge more dramatically.
Viewers in Steubenburg and Wilson will see the same newscast as viewers in Valleydale and Jeffersonville, so stories that go on the air have to appeal to all those viewers, and air time to cover such a vast area is at a premium. That means that Tori must be brief when she writes about her communities for the broadcast, especially when she has no video to accompany her stories. Television is a visual news medium, so with no visual elements even a compelling visit web page must be told quickly.
By looking first at RDRs, you should gain an understanding of how and why broadcast writing differs from writing for print and online media — even social media that might be even more condensed than broadcast. With that foundation, you should be prepared for later courses that involve shooting, editing, and writing to video. A script for a full broadcast package indicates video, sound bites and other elements.
Writing a second RDR can be just as challenging. Good broadcast writers use words that How To Write A Radio News Story good. They also use words that evoke imageseven when they know that visual elements will dominate their story.
Try reading this aloud, from a story by NBC correspondent Steve Dotson about a cave rescue that had plenty of video:. Imagine slithering through a block of swiss cheese a mile and a half long. Climbing up a thousand-foot maze dragging a broken leg.
She clawed her way beneath the earth for four days, after an pound boulder slipped and crushed her in a cave. Source is about a place where the wind blows, the grass grows, and a river flows below a hill. There is nothing here How To Write A Radio News Story the wind and the grass and the river.
But of all places in America, this is the saddest place I know. Good broadcast writers know that much of the appeal of most of their stories will be emotionalbecause they will reach a bigger audience than just those who will be affected rationally. That affects their impact, elements, words decisions significantly. Good broadcast writers use words that can capture an audience and create understanding the first time.
A broadcast audience does not have the option of re-reading a sentence that was hard to follow.
Good broadcast writers know someone has to read what they wrote aloud, on the air. They avoid most multiple-syllable words, words that are tough to pronounce, and long, convoluted sentences. Good broadcast writers cut to the chase quickly, but in a conversational style.
After all, their audience will see and hear someone telling them the story, much as in a conversation. A second RDR, for example, takes up only about seven lines as a computer file.
Remember the writing process we have been working on since the beginning. Think before you write. Find the impact and the elementsand then wrestle with the words. Writing for broadcast, like all good writing, begins with thinking about your audience, and how information will affect that audience. For example, your lede, story focus, and details about a bus driver strike in New York City will be different for an audience in Jeffersonville than for one in New York, so you will probably make different decisions How To Write A Radio News Story impact and elements.
The Jeffersonville piece might quickly tell viewers that 6, New York bus drivers called in sick today, leaving hundreds of thousands of commuters stranded. Both stories will focus on the what — the work stoppage. But in the Jeffersonville story the primary who will be the bus drivers, who will click the following article either sympathy or anger — emotional impact — from your audience.
In New York, the primary who becomes the commuters who were stranded.
Both stories would probably include one or two more brief sentences on why the bus drivers are striking — the contract issues. It is in the way we put words together that RDRs differ most from print stories.
To help you with the brevity and more conversational style of broadcast writing, try the following:. Give your audience a few seconds to pay attention. Remember that broadcast audiences cannot re-read a story. But it can give a broadcast audience an essential attention cue, and give ears a chance to tune in to the story. Locate your story for your audience right away. Write as you speak, only better. Remember that radio more info TV are conversational media.
We begin by writing stories, but then we tell them orally. Not unless your mother was a little strange. Its steeple is about to fall.
Limit yourself to one thought per sentence. Keep not just your ledes but all your sentences to no more than 20 words. Strive for an average of about Make your RDR resonate without pictures. Using the right words often means using senses besides vision to show your audience what is going on.
Read again the examples above from Steve Dotson and Charles Kuralt. Write for the ear. Remember, a viewer or listener will hear the story rather than read it.
Rely on the active voice, short sentences, short words, a conversational style. Avoid subordinate or relative clauses. Treat them instead as separate sentences, much as you would in a Web blurb:. The Cessna two-seater slammed into a mountain just after taking off from the regional airport. Look for ways to put the story in the present tense.
Broadcast news strives for more immediacy than print news. Avoid quoting people in RDRs. Remember that it is awkward or impossible for the anchor to convey when someone is being quoted.
If you must use a quote, look for ways to do that clearly but stylishly:. Remember that an anchor has to read your story aloud, and an audience has to understand it the first time. The best How To Write A Radio News Story to get an anchor — or a viewer — to come after you with an ax is to write a sentence like this: Two City Council members have tried repeatedly to force Prentice to quit.
Now time yourself reading it aloud. RDRs should run no longer than 30 seconds. The sometimes baffling technological requirements of broadcast news might require a special writing touch.
The focus of many discussions of ethics in broadcast journalism is on the intrusive nature of gathering information for electronic media. Even modern cameras are pretty noticeable, and the mechanics of shooting good video can mean that sources and subjects of stories feel as if they have been assaulted. I hope you have an opportunity to discuss the ethics of broadcast journalism more extensively in subsequent courses.
But even if you are writing RDRs, without visual images to worry about, there are some ethical considerations to keep in mind. First, the format itself creates some issues: Is 30 seconds enough time to give audiences a fair account of an event or issue? For some stories, it obviously is not.
RDRs should be used for stories whose impact can be How To Write A Radio News Story in three or four word sentences. Where the event or issue is more complex, consider a longer package that includes video and sound bites.
Second, in striving for a conversational tone, are we trivializing a story or ridiculing the people in it? There is a difference between a conversational tone and inappropriate light-heartedness, mocking or sarcasm. Third, as I mentioned earlier, do the characteristics of broadcast writing give audiences a false impression of events or the timing of action? Fourth, as in print writing, are we careful learn more here make the words serve the facts?
In making our writing as compelling as possible, there is a constant temptation to outrun what we know. Familiarize yourself with this summary of our tips for writing effective broadcast RDRs:.
As you do when you write for print, find the impact and the elements, and then wrestle with the words that will show. And strive for an average sentence length of about 15 words.
But make sure you are reflecting what is truly happening now. Time yourself reading it aloud. Locate your story to let give individual viewers or listeners know whether they should pay attention. Otherwise, though, leave crucial information out of the first few words. Write just a little more formally than you speak. Try for a conversational tone.
Keep your sentences to about 15 words. Make your story resonate without pictures.