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Transcript Lecture-notes-for-Module-2-Writing-TV-News

Dr Joseph Obe
Dr Joe
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Website: www.josephobe.com
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Writing &
Module 2
Topic 1: Writing a news
Attribution: Jonathan Cooper
The Unseen Entity of Television News
A news package is an innovative way to convey news to a
broad audience. It is a visual form of news that has a story,
characters, entertainment value, and facts. Reporters spend
copious amounts of their time researching stories,
interviewing characters, and eventually writing the scripts for
these packages. The general population rarely sees news
package scripts because the aspect you see on the evening
news are video forms. This guide is intended to teach you
how to write a news package script. Whether you are an
inexperienced reporter or somebody interested in public
genres, understanding news packages can give us a more
informed perspective of the news we watch daily.
Topic 1: Writing a news packages (Contd)
The Script
Writing a script should be the final step in
creating an entire news package. Long before
you sit down to write out the script, you
should be thinking of sound bytes and ways
to structure your story. News packages need
to have a beginning, middle, and an end, as
well as characters. Be thinking of the
direction you want it go as you shoot video
and conduct interviews. Once you have
enough audio and video for your story, you
are ready to begin:
Topic 1: Writing a news packages (Contd)
The Script
Separate the script into two columns. On the left side,
write video. On the right side, audio. Because you are
writing for a visual medium, it is vital to separate out
what the audience will see and what they will hear.
Choose sound bytes that are emotional, provide an
interesting opinion, or help your story along. As you
choose these sound bytes, mark the time on the tape
next to the sound byte you write out so the editor can
find it easily.
Write voice-overs that you, the reporter, will say to push
the story along. The voice-overs should not stick out,
but rather sound natural with the story.
Weave sound bytes and voice-overs together to create a
cohesive audio section to your story.
Topic 1: Writing a news packages (Contd)
The Script
Find places to put natural sound, which is strongly
connected with video.
Write down video you have that complement the audio.
You will have a large selection from shooting B-Roll in the
field. Mark times next to the video so the editor can find it
Read over your script and make sure it sounds natural,
follows the guidelines of a story, and is easy to read so the
editor will have an easier time editing it later.
Once the script is completed you are ready to go into the
sound booth and record your voice-overs.
Topic 1: Writing a news packages (Contd)
Some Tips and Warnings
Be creative in the story you tell. You want to entertain as well as inform.
Be sensitive in how you convey your story in sad subject matters.
Don’t log every sound byte if you know you are not going to use it. Only
take sounds bytes that are relevant to the direction of your story.
Feel free to modify the format of your script if you feel it makes it easier to
If you work for a news station, you will be working on a strict deadline so
you must be able to write scripts quickly and efficiently.
Think of a title that is unique and best expresses your story.
Ask for assistance from your photographer for good ideas for video.
Topic 1: Writing a news packages (Contd)
The Beauty of News Packages
Few people realize the hard work that reporters and other
employees of television stations put in to broadcasting the news
every day. While news packages are only a small portion of the
work that these people do, it could be one of their most important
tasks. It is the culmination of research, interviews, and
investigating that are combined into the single unit the audience
sees. Without a script however, these packages would be nothing.
Scripts are the foundation of television news and essentially the
medium to the world around us. All news packages are different in
the information they convey, however they all follow a general
outline that makes it easy to read and convert to a broadcast form.
By following the guidelines in this tutorial, you will not only
produce a good story, but also write a script that will be useful for
whoever edits it, and ultimately watches your news package.
Sample news package script
Portable. Perpetual. Personalized. Participatory. These are the words that
describe news in today’s interactive "always-on" world we live in.
News consumption habits are moving away from traditional media outlets
such as newspapers and broadcast television.
For better or for worse, Anita Varghese, Quinnipiac News, has the story.
[VIDEO: Facebook, Twitter news pages, computers/keyboard]
With the aid of wireless devices, Facebook, Twitter and blogs, American
news consumers can access news when they want, how they want, and
comment and share with whom they want.
“Everything is sort of—the consumer is in control, especially with digital
news. Because you can search for exactly what you’re looking for, and
you can serve it up when you want it, and read it at your leisure, and
share it with your friends on Facebook if you feel like it.”
[VIDEO: Tiffany on computer]
Sample news package script
According to the Pew Project For Excellence in Journalism, about 61
percent of Americans get their news online, a number that has held
steady in recent years.
“I usually go on news websites, like ABC, CBS.”
“I get a lot of my news on Facebook or Twitter. If some of my friends post
something, I’ll go check it out.”
“Nowadays news consumers don’t have to wait for news. They don’t have
to watch the newscast at 6 o’clock. They don’t have to buy the newspaper
and have it delivered to their door at 5 o’clock in the morning.”
[VIDEO: Dana on cell phone]
Of the 80 percent of American adults who have cell phones, 34 percent of
them now access the internet, and 26 percent say they get some form of
news via cell phones.
Sample news package script
“I definitely use my iPhone for news. My phone is so easy to
see what everyone is talking about, it’s instant, it’s quick—I
love it.”
“Eventually, I think it will all go digital – its more eco-friendly,
you don’t have to kill a lot of trees to get there, and frankly I
think as the consumer, you want to be able to get it on your
own schedule.”
Fifty seven percent of Americans rely on two to five news
websites for their news. With all this options, one this is for
certain –regardless of age group, the internet is now the main
Further reading on tv script writing
Outside Links and Examples
Sample Script
-An example of a completed news package script from a high school
broadcasting student.
-Focuses on specifically how to write a news package script.
-Provides a simple overview of creating a news package.
three major news
hour from one
national (private),
one national
(government and
one international
stations. Compare
their teasers and rap
Class Exercise 2
Recall any event of
note and write a draft
script for its
reportage in the TV
5 marks