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Broadcast Style Basics. Copy Style 1: Basic Rules. Each station will have its own style. Write It the Way You Say it!. Homework: Add *** to CP Appendix A. ABBREVIATIONS:

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Broadcast Style Basics

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Broadcast style basics
Broadcast Style Basics

Copy Style 1: Basic Rules

Broadcast style basics

Each station will have its own style.

Write It the Way You Say it!

Homework: Add *** to CP Appendix A

Broadcast style basics


Don’t use them: Mr., Mrs., Ms. (Exception: Dr. or Doctor - spell it out. NOTE: Make this correction in your CP/handout.)

Use only if abbreviation is well known:

eg. N-double A-C-P, U-N, G-O-P, F-B-I

Use hyphens between letters.

Don’t use hyphens when abbreviations are pronounced as one word: NATO, SARS, UNICEF

Spell out abbreviations: Mon., Jan., TX – Monday, January, Texas

Broadcast style basics


***Used rarely for adults.

***More common for children.

If use, use hyphens and place it before name:

… 24-year-old Toni Jackson

***Or better, work it in more naturally by using two sentences.

Print: Jordyn Zeldes, 4, loves to sit on her brother.


Broadcast style basics


Use subject-pronoun agreement.

The journalism faculty (plural) research or researches on hot topics.

The cookie (singular) taste or tastes good.

Broadcast style basics


Place the name of the source in the front of the sentence.

PRINT: “I love my brother,” said Jordyn Zeldes.


***Only use “according to” for documents, not people.

For JRN 306 and 403, when attributing a student, use major, year and name:

Advertising junior Penny Clark.

Broadcast style basics

AVOID CLICHÉSand overused words and phrases.

Last but not least

Heated discussion

Safe and sound

Escalating violence

Brutally murdered

Details are sketchy

Broadcast style basics


Use for clarity.



Broadcast style basics


Use specific dates if necessary.

***Spell out months and days of the week.

Write out first through eleventh, 12th, 13th, 14th ...

For years, use year, don’t hyphenate:

“The Big Three Automakers reported huge losses in 2007.”

Broadcast style basics


Use for pauses.

“Jordyn says she’s excited about her brother’s second birthday party. It’s on Saturday … a day, when she gets to blow out her brother’s candles and open up his presents … She says it’s her birthday too.”

“U-F-O fans are staging a meeting in the nation’s capital. They want the government to open up files … files they say contain information about U-F-O sightings. One official of the U-F-O …

Broadcast style basics


For acronyms, eg. A-E-J-M-C, U-A-W, M-O-S

***Use hyphens to connect the number and the noun it modifies:



Use a hyphen in words to make it easier to read – even if the dictionary doesn’t use one:




Broadcast style basics


Only use if common:

George W. Bush

John F. Kennedy

Broadcast style basics


***In leads, if a person or place is well known, use the name in the lead.

If the person or place is not well known, use a delayed ID lead: mention the person or place by a general identifier, and then use his or her name in the following sentence.

A local boy loves to dance. Three-year-old Gabriel Zeldes watches Dancing with the Stars…

An East Lansing gym closes its doors. Powerhouse Gym on Grand River…

Broadcast style basics


***First reference, use full name.

***Second reference, use last name or title.

If child, use first name.

Broadcast style basics


Numbers – Spell out one – nine, use numbers 10 – 999.


two numbers back to back: “…190, ten percent more …

Years: September eleventh 2001.

Digits for time of day: 2 o’ clock this afternoon.

Avoid beginning sentences w/ numbers! If use, spell out numbers.

Broadcast style basics


Round off big numbers.

Write out symbols next to numbers. For example, $ and %.


87-percent increase

***Use hyphens to connect the number and the noun it modifies:



Broadcast style basics

Pronouncers: For difficult names and locations. See on-line references.

Bonnie Bucqueroux (Buck-er-oo)

Lima (LIE-mah), Ohio

Broadcast style basics


Use sparingly. Try to paraphrase.

***Use a short quote.

Intro using “in his words,” “with these words,” “what she called,” “he put it this way.”

If quote is long, use “went on to say,” “still quoting the senator.”

***Place name of source you are quoting as Subject.

***Avoid using “According to …”

Broadcast style basics


Upper left hand side: Slug, Newscast, Name, Date, Pg #, TRT

Exceeds one page, type “More” or “-30-” at bottom of page.

***Type “###” at end of copy.

***Double space.

Indent often.

***Circle info not spoken.

***Use upper and lower case for track and upper for bites.

Broadcast style basics


***Avoid using numbers in street addresses. If necessary, write out abbreviations and use a nearby intersection or block number.

“…near East Mulberry and Apple Streets

“…happened in the 100-block of East Mulberry Street.

OR, if, if necessary, hyphenate street number addresses of more than four digits:

“19-15 South Broadway”

Broadcast style basics

***SYMBOLS: Spell out ALL symbols. For example,

% - percent

$ - dollars

5.5 – five-point-five


Strive to write in present tense.

Broadcast style basics


***Use S-V-time ref – object. Place time reference near main verb.

“Denver high school students may think twice about skipping classes this spring.”


Use numbers for time of day, i. e. 2 o’clock. Use o’clock, morning, evening, today.

Avoid a.m., p.m. days of the week: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and yesterday.

“We end class at 11 a.m. today.”


Broadcast style basics


Like ages, place titles before names:

Dean Chuck Salmon

Director Jane Briggs-Bunting

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