Broadcast Writing Tips

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Jun 27, 2008 en Journalism Basics

General rules:

  • Don’t try to tell the whole story

  • Be specific and use concrete terms

  • Focus on one thing at a time

  • Write conversational English

  • Write factually and accurately

  • Write in the active voice

  • Write a beginning, a middle and an end

  • Start strong

  • Simplify

Do

  • Tell stories in a LOGICAL order.

  • Write as you talk and talk as you write. (Keep sentences short. If you have a long sentence, follow it up with a short one)

  • One thought per sentence. Just one!

  • Use the PRESENT tense.

  • Use the ACTIVE voice.

  • Paint pictures with your words. (Let the viewer make the conclusion – you tell/describe what’s going on.)

  • Describe people, don’t label them. (Tell exactly what they do as opposed to using their official title.)

  • Use verbs as adjectives. (eg. If you say “he struts or saunters…” you’re giving a picture without using an adjective.)

  • Treasure small words.

  • Don't

    • Make freight trains. (Don’t pile up adjectives)

    • Use acronyms.

    • Stop at danger words like “who” and ‘which”.

    • Say what you don’t need. Be direct.

    • Use clichés.

    • Use jargon.

    • Use vague language. Be specific.

    • Use synonyms or elegant variations.

    • Use numbers. If you have to use them, write them out in your script and round them off.