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Broadcast Newswriting Overview

Handy cheat sheet for students in the Super Semester at LUTV. www.supersemester.com

Jill Falk

on 25 August 2014

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Transcript of Broadcast Newswriting Overview

TV News Formats PKG RDR FS VO VO-SOT Style 0 + - = 9 8 7 1 2 3 4 5 6 c One more thing... Proper spelling and grammar matter!
Your credibility is at stake.
You or the anchor could trip over the script if it contains erroneous, lazy errors.
Fix them.
No excuses. A few other notes... Use hypens when each letter must be read:
NCAA = N-C-Double-A Broadcast Newswriters Don't... Broadcast Newswriters Do... Attribution What is the hardest sentence to write? The first one. COM 304: Broadcast Newswriting Overview ONE-NINE = spell out
10-999 = numerals
1,000 and up = combination of numerals and words:
1,000 = one-thousand
50,000 = 50-thousand
Phone numbers and years stay exactly the same:
2013 = 2013
949-4949 = 949-4949 Write in conversational tone.
Use short, declarative sentences.
Keep one fact or thought per sentence.
Indent each new sentence.
Type scripts in ALL CAPITAL LETTERS. Use quotation marks in scripts (except on rare occasions).
Write in passive voice.
Use flowery, unnecessary language.
Use symbols or abbreviations in scripts. This is the "who says" part of a newswriter's story. In broadcast scripts, attribution goes first. For example:
Correct: "St. Charles police say the suspect turned himself in."
Incorrect: "The suspect turned himself in, according to St. Charles Police." RDR = "READER" :20-:25 second story
The most basic element of a broadcast
Does not include video
Keep these short - they are not visually interesting FS = "FULLSCREEN" GRAHPIC :20-:25 seconds long
Adds visuals to a story without video
Think maps, mug shots, bullet points, upcoming events, quotes from officials who won't talk on camera
Abbreviations and symbols OK VO = "VOICE OVER" :25-:30 seconds long
Includes edited video that matches the anchor script
Key idea here: write to video! Don't "wallpaper" it
Video typically rolls after the anchor's lead sentence, or as a WIPE at the top of a story VO-SOT Runs roughly :45 seconds (:10-:15 second sound bite)
VO plus "SOT" = Sound On Tape
Usually includes :7-10 seconds of VO after the SOT PKG = "Package" Runs 1:30-2:00 depending on story - hard news is shorter than feature news
Includes reporter voice tracks, SOTs, VO, usually a stand-up, and "natural sound" Let's talk about writing NUMBERS... News scripts frequently contain numbers. You will need to write them in correct broadcast style. This is because your scripts are written for someone to READ out loud. Always use a hyphen! Active v. Passive Voice Use ACTIVE VOICE 90% of the time.
Put the subject first.
Who is doing the action?
SUBJECT - VERB - OBJECT Correct: The governor gave a speech.
Incorrect: The speech was given by the governor. Passive voice is lazy.
It makes sentences longer and eats away precious seconds.
Don't use it. The lead sentence is the "point of purchase" for the audience.
Will they stay and listen to your story?
That's up to you. You will frequently hear me say, "You've got a great SECOND sentence here, but you don't have a lead." Keep the lead SIMPLE.
Start with the most current information. Ask yourself, what's happening NOW? What *will be* happening by the time the newscast starts?
It has to be short and uncomplicated.
This is the, "Hey, Mom? Guess what?" part of your story.
Don't put unfamiliar names in the lead. President Obama? Yes. Unknown burglar police arrested? No. For web addresses, it gets awkward, I know. But here's how it goes:
www.lindenwood.edu = lindenwood-dot-e-d-u The End.
For now...
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