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Writing in Broadcast Style Journalism/New Media II MCOM 258 Summer 2009.

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Presentation on theme: "Writing in Broadcast Style Journalism/New Media II MCOM 258 Summer 2009."— Presentation transcript:

1 Writing in Broadcast Style Journalism/New Media II MCOM 258 Summer 2009

2 Writing for the ear You only have one chance to get your point across Broadcast (especially radio) stories are short You may have only 2 minutes to tell a days worth of news Your audience isn’t paying attention to you and only you WBAL Radio

3 Print Lead BOULDER, Colo. -- The murder case against John Mark Karr collapsed this afternoon when he was exonerated by a DNA test, but the man who was once the leading suspect in the JonBenet Ramsey tragedy will be returned to California to face child pornography charges, officials said. (LA Times)

4 Broadcast Lead “Lawyers in the U.S. western state of Colorado say suspect John Mark Karr will not be charged for the killing of six-year- old beauty queen JonBenet Ramsey a decade ago.” Voice of America

5 Broadcast style Newspaper style is for consistency and readability for the consumer Broadcast style is more for making sentences easier to read aloud

6 Newspaper style $357,895.45

7 Broadcast Style Nearly three hundred and sixty thousand dollars.

8 Keep it conversational –If you wouldn’t use the word when talking to your friend or mom, don’t use it when writing a news story –Find the better word: Male/female Beverage Physician Deceased Youth Indisposed Edifice

9 Try to avoid technical terms When covering law, science, electronics and economics you’ll encounter terms that can be confusing Make sure you ask to have the term explained so you can find a way to say it so everyone can understand what you’re talking about –Ex: rather than saying “Doctors say the condition will heal with spontaneous involution.” Say: “Doctors say the condition will clear up on its own.” If you must use the technical term, explain it –Ex: The mayor pleaded nolo contendere which means she doesn’t contest the charges.

10 Use contractions Use contractions when it makes sense. You wouldn’t say: “They are not coming with us to the mall.” You would say: “They’re not coming with us to the mall” But if you need to emphasize a word…don’t use a contraction “Hillary Clinton does NOT want to lose the election.”

11 You is the magic word “You” relates your topic to your audience –Boring: “A University spokesman announced that a new parking garage is going up on campus.” –Better: “Your commute to campus may be about to get easier.”

12 What’s happening now? Whenever possible find a way to write in present tense –“Police are searching for witnesses in the burglaries at several dormitories.” –“The president says we may all get tax rebates.”

13 The Present Perfect Tense Maintains immediacy when actions have ended –“Nearly three feet of snow have fallen over the past few days.” –“Rudy Giuliani’s campaign has ended.”

14 Avoid “TV speak” Don’t try to make something present tense by creating a fake tense. You may see this on CNN, but it’s not good writing –Ex: A Baltimore bank is robbed today… –Would you say to your friend, “A parking space is found!”

15 Make numbers listener friendly Round up when possible $295,000=Nearly 300-thousand dollars Use ratios when possible…percentages Help audience visualize the number –“The aircraft carrier is the length of two football fields.”

16 Avoid Cliché’s Cliché’s are worn-out, over-used expressions –Finish these: It was raining cats and ____ It came as a slap in the ____ Long arm of the ____ Last but not ____ A blessing in ____

17 Avoid Journalese “Journalese” is a term for expressions/words that are overused in newsrooms –Ex: “Police combed the woods for the suspect.” –“A bank heist shut down the inner harbor today.” –Use words you would use in normal conversation

18 Writing the lead Don’t use all 5 w’s (who, what, when, where, why & how) Choose what is most important…use only one or two The strongest broadcast leads are short and only provide enough information so that listeners want to hear more You have plenty of time to work in all the information you need to reveal

19 Ask yourself… What interests me about this story? What would I tell my friend about it? What has the most impact on my audience? How can I write the lead so people will want to learn more? What will show/tell the essence of the story, but not give it all away?

20 Example: Facts: –Large crash on the Baltimore beltway –No one seriously hurt –Traffic at a standstill and backed up for miles –What is your lead? –You might want to come up with an alternate route if you’re planning on traveling on the beltway this afternoon… (Impact)

21 Some rules to follow: Don’t use names in leads unless the person is well-known/famous/public figure. Use other identifier. –Ex: a Dundalk man is celebrating tonight after learning that he won the lottery. Bunky Bartlett says he will accept the money in a lump sum…

22 More rules: Always lead with the most up-to-date information Ex: If a plane crashed at Dulles airport and your station was updating the story every half-hour…your lead would change as more information came in… –7 pm: Authorities say a plane has crashed at Dulles Airport. It happened just about 15 minutes ago… –7:30 pm: Rescue workers are trying to get to the 35 people who were aboard the plane that crashed at Dulles airport less than an hour ago… –8:00 pm: Officials have now confirmed that all 35 people aboard the plane have died…

23 Pronunciation How would you pronounce: –Worchester, Massachusetts?

24 It’s: Wuh-ster (or WUH-stah—if you’re from there) Phonetic spelling—spell it out like it sounds.

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