Broadcast journalism
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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….

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Broadcast Journalism

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Broadcast journalism

Broadcast Journalism

Ten Differences Between Broadcast and Print


1 be conversational

#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

#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

#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

#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

#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

#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 different1

#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

    • 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

#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-nah-jad)


7 pronunciation is important1

#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

#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

#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 abbreviations1

#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

#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 out1

#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 (13-thousand, etc.) and round off if possible


Broadcast journalism1

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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