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Writing Conversationally. MC3306 01.22.14. Story Planning. Sort out your facts Numbers, chunks, charts, etc. What’s the freshest angle? (Remember, it should be present tense) What is your best sound?

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story planning
Story Planning
  • Sort out your facts
    • Numbers, chunks, charts, etc.
  • What’s the freshest angle? (Remember, it should be present tense)
  • What is your best sound?
    • Soundbites often make or break a story, so give them the proper respect in your planning process
  • Think of how you want to close the story
pick your words wisely
Pick Your Words Wisely
  • Fancy words belong in an English paper or a NY Times article, not in broadcast stories
  • Use short sentences, simple words
  • Says, say (not exclaimed, proclaimed, stated, etc.)
  • Don’t use clichés
    • Mangled mess of metal
    • Pool of blood
    • Parent’s worst nightmare
    • Never, ever, ever use the word “blaze” in a story
names and titles
Names and Titles
  • Everyone must have a title on first reference
    • Police Chief Bill McManus
    • Texas State student Jill Smith
  • What’s the rule regarding non-famous names in a lead?
names and titles1
Names and Titles
  • Everyone must have a title on first reference
    • Police Chief Bill McManus
    • Texas State student Jill Smith
  • What’s the rule regarding non-famous names in a lead?
    • Avoid non-famous names in the lead
      • A former Texas State football player is about to see his biggest dream come true.
      • The city of Austin wants a River Walk, just like San Antonio’s. But a community activist there says it’s a horrible idea.
names and titles2
Names and Titles
  • Everyone must have a title on first reference
    • Police Chief Bill McManus
    • Texas State student Jill Smith
  • What’s the rule regarding non-famous names in a lead?
    • Avoid non-famous names in the lead
      • A former Texas State football player is about to see his biggest dream come true.
      • The city of Austin wants a River Walk, just like San Antonio’s. But a community activist there says it’s a horrible idea.
  • What’s the rule regarding famous names?
names and titles3
Names and Titles
  • Everyone must have a title on first reference
    • Police Chief Bill McManus
    • Texas State student Jill Smith
  • What’s the rule regarding non-famous names in a lead?
    • Avoid non-famous names in the lead
      • A former Texas State football player is about to see his biggest dream come true.
      • The city of Austin wants a River Walk, just like San Antonio’s. But a community activist there says it’s a horrible idea.
  • What’s the rule regarding famous names?
    • The top political officials and certain celebs don’t need first names
      • Oprah, President Obama, Governor Perry, Madonna
names and titles4
Names and Titles
  • Everyone must have a title on first reference
    • Police Chief Bill McManus
    • Texas State student Jill Smith
  • What’s the rule regarding non-famous names in a lead?
    • Avoid non-famous names in the lead
      • A former Texas State football player is about to see his biggest dream come true.
      • The city of Austin wants a River Walk, just like San Antonio’s. But a community activist there says it’s a horrible idea.
  • What’s the rule regarding famous names?
    • The top political officials and certain celebs don’t need first names
      • Oprah, President Obama, Governor Perry, Madonna
  • Use only the last name on second reference
names and titles5
Names and Titles
  • A few more notes about titles…
    • Don’t use titles with “of” or “for” in broadcast
      • Chief of police should be police chief
      • Spokesman for the city of Fort Worth should be Fort Worth city spokesman
names and titles6
Names and Titles
  • A few more notes about titles…
    • Don’t use titles with “of” or “for” in broadcast
      • Chief of police should be police chief
      • Spokesman for the city of Fort Worth should be Fort Worth city spokesman
    • Don’t bog your story down with long titles
      • Valero’s Executive Vice President of Corporate Development John Smith
      • Valero executive John Smith
attribution
Attribution
  • Where does attribution go in a broadcast sentence?
attribution1
Attribution
  • Where does attribution go in a broadcast sentence?
    • Attribution always goes at the beginning for broadcast
      • Clark says he’s against the proposal because he doesn’t want Austin to look like a copycat.
      • President Obama says the attacks in Syria have gone too far, and it’s finally time for the United States to step in.
attribution2
Attribution
  • Where does attribution go in a broadcast sentence?
    • Attribution always goes at the beginning for broadcast
      • Clark says he’s against the proposal because he doesn’t want Austin to look like a copycat.
      • President Obama says the attacks in Syria have gone too far, and it’s finally time for the United States to step in.
  • Why do we use attribution?
attribution3
Attribution
  • Where does attribution go in a broadcast sentence?
    • Attribution always goes at the beginning for broadcast
      • Clark says he’s against the proposal because he doesn’t want Austin to look like a copycat.
      • President Obama says the attacks in Syria have gone too far, and it’s finally time for the United States to step in.
  • Why do we use attribution?
    • Attribution clarifies where you got your information
    • Gives credibility to your story
    • You must always use attribution when dealing with blame or opinion
location
Location
  • Always clarify the location of your story in the lead
location1
Location
  • Always clarify the location of your story in the lead
    • One man is dead and another is in jail after a shootout at a bar.
location2
Location
  • Always clarify the location of your story in the lead
    • One man is dead and another is in jail after a shootout at a bar.
    • Better: One man is dead and another is in jail after a shootout at a bar on the west side.
location3
Location
  • Always clarify the location of your story in the lead
    • One man is dead and another is in jail after a shootout at a bar.
    • Better: One man is dead and another is in jail after a shootout at a bar on the west side.
    • An elementary school student is about to see his wish come true. He’s going to line up with the big boys on the football field.
location4
Location
  • Always clarify the location of your story in the lead
    • One man is dead and another is in jail after a shootout at a bar.
    • Better: One man is dead and another is in jail after a shootout at a bar on the west side.
    • An elementary school student is about to see his wish come true. He’s going to line up with the big boys on the football field.
    • Better: A 3rd grader here in San Marcos is about to see his wish come true. He’s going to line up on the football field Saturday with the big boys from Texas State.
what next
What Next?
  • Always, always, always read your story aloud
  • Record your story and listen back
  • Be on the listen for hang-ups in your story
  • Read it to your roommate, boyfriend/girlfriend, best friend to get honest feedback
    • Did it make sense?
    • Do they have any questions?
    • Was it clunky?
words to avoid
Words to Avoid
  • Precipitation
  • Interrogate
  • Contribute
  • Witness
  • Purchase
  • Attempt
  • Require
  • Exhibit
  • Transpire
  • Intoxicated
  • Venture
  • Youth
  • Abrasion
  • Garment
  • Sufficient
  • Physician
  • Passed away
  • Utilize
  • Terminate
  • Attorney