Print news stories have the 5 Ws, but broadcast news stories have the 4 Cs (correctness, clarity, color and conversational style). These four Cs still serve as the basis for broadcast writing and form a good framework for talking about broadcast writing styles. Here are the rules for writing broadcast copy:
- Use titles before names.
- Avoid Abbreviations, even on second reference.
- Avoid direct quotations if possible.
- Attribution should come before a quotation, not after it.
- Use as little punctuation as possible.
- Numbers and statistics should be rounded off.
- Personalize the news when possible and appropriate.
- Avoid extended description.
- Avoid using symbols when you write.
- Use visual cues in your writing.
- Use phonetic spelling for unfamiliar and hard-to-pronounce names and words.
- Avoid third-person pronouns.
- Avoid apposition.
- Write in the present context when it is appropriate.
- Avoid dependent clauses at the beginning of sentences.
The most common structure for broadcast news is called dramatic unity. This structure has three parts: climax, cause, and effect.
- The climax of the story gives the listener the point of the story is about the same way the lead of a print news story does; it tells the listener what happened.
- The cause portion of the story tells why it happenedâ€”the circumstances surrounding the event.
- The effect portion gives the listener the context of the story and possibly some insight into what the story means.
Assignment: Produce a script for a newscast.
- Take Assignment #2: On the Spot News Story and turn it into a segment for a newscast.
- Report the story as if it just happened.
- While still following AP Style, write a script for one anchor.
- You are writing in a conversational tone as outlined in your textbook.
- You are the anchor of this ONE anchor news cast.
- Think about what the focus of your story is before you write it!
- Do additional research if needed.
- Use quotes if needed to add to the story.
- Time limit: 1:30 minutes.