Broadcast Journalism

Report
Broadcast Journalism
Ten Differences Between Broadcast and Print
#1: BE CONVERSATIONAL
 In broadcast, you write the way you talk
 Your language will be more relaxed, to a point
 Watch out for construction delays if you’re driving on
Sessoms tomorrow.
 Tomorrow, today, last night, tonight…
#2: KEEP IT SHORT
 Broadcast sentences are incredibly short and simple
 Avoid lengthy introductory clauses
 Clauses are not your friend in broadcast writing
 PRINT: John Smith, a San Marcos taxi driver who claims a
passenger was drunk and insulted him Monday night, was
arrested and charged with assaulting the passenger.
 BROADCAST: A San Marcos cab driver is in jail, accused of
attacking a passenger.
#3. GET RID OF INVERTED PYRAMID
 Broadcast stories have beginning, middle and end
 You want the viewer or listener to stick with the story and
keep watching/listening
 Final line typically advances the story
 The San Marcos city council will vote on the issue tomorrow.
#4: USE PRESENT TENSE WHEN POSSIBLE
 Timeliness is a major difference between broadcast and
print
 PRINT: A San Marcos man was hospitalized Monday night
after he was hit by a train.
 BROADCAST: A San Marcos man is recovering this morning
after being hit by a train.
 Don’t be afraid to use past tense, but you should always
look for fresh story angles
#5. MOST CONTRACTIONS ARE OKAY
 Because we’re writing like we talk, you can use
contractions in broadcast writing
 The only time to avoid contractions are when they are
audibly confusing
 Are, aren’t, jury’s, etc.
#6. QUOTES/ATTRIBUTION ARE DIFFERENT
 Attribution goes at the beginning
 PRINT: Jones confessed to murdering his wife, police said.
He could face the death penalty if convicted.
 BROADCAST: Police say Jones confessed to murdering his
wife.
 PRINT: “I felt like I was at home,” said President Obama.
 BROADCAST: President Obama says he felt like he was at
home.
#6. QUOTES/ATTRIBUTION ARE DIFFERENT
 Important notes about quotes/attribution:
 In broadcast, it’s better to just use the actual sound from
someone than trying to paraphrase what they said.
 Always use some kind of title or descriptor
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Vice President Joe Biden
Police chief Howard Williams
Texas State president Denise Trauth
Mass comm major Vaughn Wolfe
San Marcos resident Steven Torres
#7. PRONUNCIATION IS IMPORTANT
 If you have a tough-to-pronounce word or name, you
need to let talent know how to say it
 Mahmoud (Mock-mood) Ahmadinejad (Ack-ma-dee-nahjad)
#7. PRONUNCIATION IS IMPORTANT
 One important note about names:
 If the name isn’t vital to a broadcast story, don’t include it
 Most spot news/crime stories will not have names
associated with them
#8. PUNCTUATION HELPS YOU READ
 Dashes and/or ellipses show when to pause
 Quarterback Tony Romo says he’ll be ready to play…and
win…this next season.
 Let talent know when a word needs emphasis
 City council *has* to pick a firm by tomorrow.
#9. AVOID ABBREVIATIONS
 In broadcast, spell out just about everything
 ST: Is that saint or street?
 DR: is that doctor or drive?
 Well-known acronyms are used (with hyphens)
 F-B-I, I-R-S, N-C-DOUBLE-A or N-C-A-A
 If pronounced like a word, no hyphens
 NATO, NASA
#9. AVOID ABBREVIATIONS
 An important note:
 Avoid symbols in broadcast writing
 $ = dollars
 % = percent
 At and And
 d-b-2-8-4-5-5 at Texas State dot e-d-u
#10. ROUND OFF NUMBERS AND SPELL THEM OUT
 Numbers can create massive chaos in a broadcast story
(and take incredibly too long to read)
 PRINT: The thieves stole $397,945 worth of jewelry.
 BROADCAST: The thieves stole nearly 400-thousand dollars
worth of jewelry.
#10. ROUND OFF NUMBERS AND SPELL THEM OUT
 A few important notes about numbers:
 0: zero
 1-11: spell out as words
 12-999: use numerals
 More than 999: use a combo of numbers and words (13thousand, etc.) and round off if possible
Broadcast Journalism
 DON’T FORGET
 You get one shot for your story to make sense in broadcast
 You have to make it as easy as possible for the talent to
read clearly
 Viewers/listeners can’t re-read the story if they’re confused

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