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Writing for Local Television News

Posted by: | November 9, 2010 | No Comment |

Many journalism students are familiar with writing for print and online publications, such as Broadside and OnMason blogs, but there is another form of journalism that some might not be familiar with: writing for broadcast.

Broadcast journalists include reporters that you see on the local news, but they also include big-name journalists like Brian Williams and Katie Couric.

JPROF.com has an interesting list that shows how the broadcast style of journalism writing differs from the print and online styles.  Some of JPROF’s tips for broadcast news writing include:

  • Write for the ear.  You should use a conversational style, just like how people talk.  One major difference from online and print journalism is that you can use contractions!
  • Use a softer lead with non-essential facts to hook a viewer.  Who, what, when, where, why and how can be explained further in the story.
  • Avoid using the inverted pyramid. Instead, after the lead, tell stories chronologically or use a cause-and-effect approach.  You can also speak about a generalized subject, like health care reform, and relate it to a local business or person.
  • Keep the language easy to understand for the entire audience.  Do not use jargon or complex words.
  • Stories should be written in present tense.
  • Instead of aiming for 500 words in a print or online article, write to fill 90 seconds of video.  Learn how to write effectively in this much-shorter time frame.
  • Your story will be more of a script than a publishable article.

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