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Broadcast News Writing Basics
Transcript of Broadcast News Writing Basics
Use upper and lowercase letters.
It’s easier for an anchor to read upper and lowercase THAN IT IS TO READ WHEN EVERYTHING IS ONE SIZE.
Punctuation makes your sentences grammatically correct and helps the anchor recognize when to stop, pause, etc. But remember, you’re going for simplicity.
Too much punctuation may mean your
writing is too complex. Also, ellipses (…) are okay, but don’t overuse them.
If a sentence is complete, use a period.
Use WORDS for numbers one through eleven.
Use NUMERALS for numbers 12 through 999.
High Numbers: Round up or down and use a combination of words and numerals. Example: “Six-point-three million” not 6,278,117.
Use words, not symbols when talking about money, percentages, measures, etc.
Example: “450-dollars” not “$450.”
Example: “75-percent” not “75%.”
Dates are written in broadcast copy the same way they are in real life.
Example: “July 6, 1984.”
We all know a date when we see one. Anything else would just be confusing.
Simplify percentages when possible.
Example: “Nearly two-thirds” not “64-percent.”
Example: “Three out of four dentists” not “76-percent of dentists.”
Use abbreviations sparingly. Write out the full word the way you want to hear it on the air.
Example: “Lieutenant John Carpenter” not “Lt. John Carpenter.”
Example: “Eight ounces” not “8 oz.”
Some organizations’ abbreviations are more familiar than their full names. They are also much shorter.
Example: “F-B-I” not “Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Media Production Class
Acronyms are words formed from the first letters of an organization’s name. Only use acronyms that are very familiar like NASA. You can use less familiar acronyms like “NATAS” if you use the full name first (National Association of Television Arts and Sciences.)
Only use ages when they are relevant to the facts in a story or help to identify someone. Generally the age comes before the name.
Example: “Police say they are looking for 41-year old Clive Baxter.”
Only use race when it is part of a full description.
Example: “Police say they are looking for an Asian man, about 25 years old with a beard. They say he is about six feet tall and was wearing red pants and a black leather coat.”
Race and Descriptions
Generally, don’t use middle initials in broadcast news writing.
Don’t use formal names unless that is how a person is commonly known.
Example: “Syracuse Mayor Matt Driscoll” not “Matthew J. Driscoll.”