COMM 118 BCJ - Lecture #2 (Characteristics of Broadcast News Writing)

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Characteristics of Broadcast News Writing:

Characteristics of Broadcast News Writing Broadcast Journalism: COMM 118

Writing for The EYE vs. The EAR:

Writing for The EYE vs. The EAR All journalism = asking the 5 Ws and the H ESSAYS = EYE NEWSPAPER = EYE Audiences can read it again BROADCAST = EAR Audiences tend to hear it only once so you must be certain your message is clear Making sure something is “ear-friendly”? READ IT OUT LOUD!

Traditional Story Structure for “The Eye”:

Traditional Story Structure for “The Eye” Print = INVERTED PYRAMID STYLE A News Story Structure that places all the important information in the first paragraph Often means putting the end of the story first Paragraphs arranged in descending order of importance

PowerPoint Presentation:

LEAD/LEDE: IMPORTANT FACTS MORE DETAILS LEAST VITAL

Story Structure for “The Ear”:

Story Structure for “The Ear” Broadcast = NOT Front-Loaded A News Story Structure that dispenses important information throughout the whole story The end may be the most important fact – summary statement Every section builds from what’s come before and leads into what’s coming next – you cannot just “trim from the bottom” and have it work

Writing for “The Ear”::

Writing for “The Ear”: Broadcast writers use a conversational tone Tell the viewer a story like you would tell it to a friend (within reason) Use “the MOM rule” – talk like you’d talk to your mother Broadcast writers use contractions Makes a story less stiff and formal

Writing for “The Ear”::

Writing for “The Ear”: Broadcast writers use short, declarative sentences Complex sentences are hard to follow by ear and even harder to speak Broadcast writers write in an active voice not in a passive voice Active = someone doing something Passive = something being done to someone Put subject and verb close together

Writing for “The Ear”::

Writing for “The Ear”: Broadcast writers use present or future tense when possible Makes stories seem current – you want to give today’s news, not yesterday’s Broadcast writers write in “Today Language” Don’t lead with “yesterday” – move the story along or why cover it?

Writing for “The Ear”::

Writing for “The Ear”: Days & Dates You can use “today”, “yesterday” and “tomorrow” in stories if not repeating the broadcast Use dates if further than a week away Broadcast writers use last names and put titles first “Bill Smith” first, then just “Smith” Putting titles first is easier to hear and speak Identify speakers both on-screen and in spoken copy

The Teleprompter::

The Teleprompter: A technological tool used by Broadcast Journalists that prompts the person speaking with an electronic visual text of a speech or script.

The Teleprompter::

The Teleprompter: Video camera Shroud Video monitor Clear glass or beam splitter Image from subject Image from video monitor

The Speech Teleprompter::

The Speech Teleprompter:

Writing for The Teleprompter::

Writing for The Teleprompter: Broadcast Writers are especially aware of pronunciations and spellings Phonetic spelling makes it easier for anchors to say complicated names Look out for common words like “bass” with two pronunciations Use titles w/o names if appropriate Don’t rely solely on spell-check!

Writing for The Teleprompter::

Writing for The Teleprompter: Teleprompter = ALL CAPS Lowercase letters are simply harder to see – put everything in all capital letters Broadcast writers avoid abbreviations and are careful with acronyms Spell abbreviations out to avoid confusion Use hyphens with acronyms = F-B-I, A-M, C-N-N, etc.

Writing for The Teleprompter::

Writing for The Teleprompter: Broadcast Writers keep hyphenated words on the same line Helps anchors be professional Broadcast writers don’t use symbols Must be pronounceable and obvious Don’t write anything that will cause your anchor to pause oddly

Writing for The Teleprompter::

Writing for The Teleprompter: Broadcast Writers aren’t overly concerned with addresses and ages Use only when pertinent to story Broadcast writers correct ALL copy Different versions = Confusion Broadcast writers punctuate differently Ellipsis = PAUSE Underline = EMPHASIZE

Writing for The Teleprompter::

Writing for The Teleprompter: Broadcast Writers paraphrase when possible Direct quotes usually demand dedicated video/audio/graphic Broadcast writers are careful with pronouns Clarity is of utmost importance

Writing for The Teleprompter::

Writing for The Teleprompter: Broadcast writers attribute before statements Makes it clear who said what (not the talent) Attribute facts when possible/necessary

TELEPROMPTER DOs & DON’Ts:

TELEPROMPTER DOs & DON’Ts DO: Write in ALL CAPS Spell out symbols & acronyms Use phonetic spellings

TELEPROMPTER DOs & DON’Ts:

TELEPROMPTER DOs & DON’Ts DON’T: Assume the anchor knows what you mean and how you want her to emphasize Forget to READ IT OUT LOUD!

GENERAL DOs & DON’Ts:

GENERAL DOs & DON’Ts DO: Be clear and concise. Remember the 5 Ws and the H. Make life easy for the anchor. Write like people talk (use MOM rule). Attribute.

GENERAL DOs & DON’Ts:

GENERAL DOs & DON’Ts DON’T: Forget that you know more about stories than audience members do. Depend on the computer to catch mistakes. Fail to make corrections on the prompter as well as on hard copy.

Writing for The Teleprompter::

Writing for The Teleprompter: HOW YOU WRITE IT IS HOW THEY WILL SAY IT!

WRITING FOR BROADCAST ASSIGNMENT #1:

WRITING FOR BROADCAST ASSIGNMENT #1 Take the story you were given to read in class and correct/rewrite it and apply the characteristics of broadcast style writing discussed in class today. They will be delivered on camera next week in the TV Studio.

WRITING FOR BROADCAST ASSIGNMENT #1:

WRITING FOR BROADCAST ASSIGNMENT #1 Always remember the 5 Ws & H of journalism WRITE IN ALL CAPS Be conversational (within reason – use the MOM rule) Use active voice and present tense – put subject and verb close together

WRITING FOR BROADCAST ASSIGNMENT #1:

WRITING FOR BROADCAST ASSIGNMENT #1 Use pauses and emphasis: how you write it is how they will say it! Be aware of potential trouble words STORIES SHOULD BE 30 SECONDS LONG: READ IT OUT LOUD! http://e.ggtimer.com/ http://cueprompter.com/

WRITING FOR BROADCAST ASSIGNMENT #1:

WRITING FOR BROADCAST ASSIGNMENT #1 DUE BY NEXT THURSDAY NIGHT VIA BLACKBOARD!

LOOKING AHEAD:

LOOKING AHEAD NEXT WEEK’S CLASS WILL BE HELD IN THE TV STUDIO: AAB-210 DO NOT COME TO THIS ROOM – GO DIRECTLY TO THE TV STUDIO!

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