Ch 5: Broadcast Basics: Write Simply, Think Visually
Broadcast storytelling is both simple and complex. Its writing has to be simple to get the main points of the story across to an audience that usually has only one opportunity to hear and grasp them. But it also involves the complex layering of sound and moving pictures to provide emotion and immediacy.
Broadcast writing requires simple subject-verb-object sentences, no abbreviations, active voice, present tense and attribution first. Sound bites are the core elements of stories and scripts are often built around them. They can provide information, authenticity and humanity to a story. They can reflect and underscore the story’s focus. In choosing a sound bite, look for something that was said in an interesting or unique way.
Visuals add yet another dimension to broadcast storytelling. The visuals need to connect to the words and information being presented or else audiences will become confused and disconnected from the story. To gather good video visuals, journalists use a variety of shots to help depict the scene, the setting and the people in a story.