TV news reporting

TV News Reporting
MCOM 402: Theoretical
Introduction to Television Studies
Styles of TV News
 Headlines, Teases
 Readers or links
 Std VO
 Newsroom VO package
 Reports or packages from the field
 Two ways
 Live shots with reporters
 Walk throughs
 Studio Chats
The TV news package
There are four elements to any
– The intro/ cue read by the anchor
– The pictures/footage/graphics
– The links/voice over – i.e. the reporter’s
words read over the pictures
– The soundbites from the interviewees
featured in the package
The TV news package
A package is a story
 May be pre-planned or reactive to a
hard story
 If pre planned feature--- researched, set
up, structured, shot, written, voiced,
edited, broadcast
The TV news package
Contains GV or B roll pictures
 Interviews which become sound bites or
 A stand up or PTC
 A written narration or VO
 Effects or Graphics
Common Terms
 Actuality –audio clip or video bit from an
interview or other recording
 Line timing –determining length by line
 Live –not prerecorded
 Toss –anchor lead-in to package story
 Standard out cue –reporter’s last few words
Common terms
 Package – pre-recorded, self-contained story introduced by
the anchor and delivered by reporter.
All stories end with ### or (XXX)
VO – voice over
VO-SOT --voice over sound on tape
Standup (on camera) reporter on camera for television
– Open,
– Close,
– Bridge
Common terms
 ACK -Actuality –sound from the story itself, NAT
for natural sound or WILD for wild sound, or
RAW for raw sound.
 Voicer –same as Reader- In radio or television this
story has no actualities. A story read aloud by the
newscaster. Does not contain ACK.
 Wraparound –reporter’s voice wrapped around an
TV News Writing Tips
 Keep it simple
 Keep it conversational
 Use present tense making the
story immediate.
 Use
 Try something besides the who,
what, when, where, why and
how in your lead. Use a
sentence for each idea. You
should be able to read each
sentence aloud in just one
TV News Writing Tips
 Time limitations
 Boil down your story to the most essential
elements. Broadcast news is constrained by
time. The simplest stories tend to run in just
30 seconds.
 Speed at which newscasters read –about
140-180 words per minute
 Audiences just cannot absorb as much
information listening to a broadcast story as
they could reading a story of similar length.
TV News Writing Tips
 Use Round Numbers
 Shorten long titles
 Names and initials: Omit middle names and
initials unless a person is well known by his
middle name or initials.
 Do not use the courtesy titles or ‘Mr’ ‘Ms’ ‘Mrs’.
 Don’t use unfamiliar names in leads. Instead
characterize the person by what has made him
TV News Writing Tips
 Attribution: Attribution is the most basic tool of
journalism. You want your audience to know it, that’s why
the attribution comes at the beginning of the sentence so
there will be no mistaking who said what.
 Avoid direct quotes: The listener cannot see the quotation
marks in a copy. If you feel you must use a direct quote,
alert your listener that it’s coming.
 For example: Wrong: ‘I am not a crook’ the President
 Right: The President said, in his words, ‘I am not a crook’
 Lead is the most important part in a news story because it
sets the tone for all that follows.
Grab or hook the audience’s attention.
Can be exciting, dramatic, clever, intriguing or
Unless it is a feature, the lead must have an element of
news and must answer the 5 W’s and H.
There are a number of leads and a variety of ways to lead a
The decision of which lead to use depends on a number of
factors, the most important being the nature of the story.
 The Hard Lead: It tells the vital details of the story
immediately. Usually used for breaking news.
For example: Atleast 30 people were injured in the
collapse of a building.
More than 20 dozen people were arrested in the drug bust.
The Soft Lead: Alerts the audience to the news that is to
follow. Sometimes called ‘warming up’ the audience.
For example: A building collapses in Lahore. Atleast 30
people have been injured.
A major drug bust in Karachi. More than a dozen people
are under arrest
 Throwaway Lead: Similar to newspaper headline.
Summarizes information that will follow later in the story
 Umbrella lead: Often called shotgun lead, summary lead,
comprehensive lead and round-up lead, ties together
related stories. Most frequently used with national and
international news. Provides smooth transition from one
story to another.
 For example: Stories on the energy issue can be
related…gas rationing ;;to.. cutbacks in crude oil sales by
oil-producing countries.
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