• Writing to be Heard

    Most of what you hear on radio and television is written. TV and radio are word media, even though video and sounds often drive a story. For example, a story might have this quote: “I saw the crash from a distance — maybe 50 or 60 yards — but it was terrible,” she said. But you could include an audio clip with your story, and it is this:

    Or, take this example:

    For an amateur, Smith has the guitar techniques of a professional with many years of experience. Here’s a sample of his work (:40):

    Journalists need to learn how to take advantage of these new ways of communicating.


    Writing for Audio

    When you are writing for audio, with it is a news story or an introduction to someone else, the writing
    • must be clear
    • must be for the ear (to be heard, not read)
    For more on writing for audio, click here.


    The News Story

    Remember, the key to all good writing for the mass media is to understand what you are writing about. Broadcast writing is no different. The writer has to understand thoroughly the information that must be presented. Then the writer has to begin asking some questions:
    • What is the dominant theme?
    • What facts illuminate or help develop this theme?
    • What is the principal impression I want to leave with the viewer?
    • What is the most significant or interesting part of this story?
    • What is necessary for understanding this story?
    • What can I leave out?
    For more on finding a news story, click here.


    Radio News Story Examples

    [audio mp3="http://peytonebbeson.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/20121008_atc_12.mp3"][/audio] [audio mp3="http://peytonebbeson.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/hereandnow_0423_barista-coffee-championships.mp3"][/audio] [audio mp3="http://peytonebbeson.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/Clauss.mp3"][/audio] [audio mp3="http://peytonebbeson.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/Clemence.mp3"][/audio]


    The Assignment:

    1. Choose a topic of interest to you (home school, friends, etc.). There is no restriction to this. It could be the importance of a family recipe, the release of a new video game, a big win in a Lenape sport, an assignment in class...
    2. Record two brief interviews with two different sources, no more than (3-5 questions each).
    3. Record at least 30 seconds of natural sounds of activity related to your story.
    4. Write a script that tells a cohesive, focused story based on material gathered in your reporting. The typical NPR story format contains a logical integration of natural sounds, reporter narration, and sources talking (called sound bites). It should end with a final piece of reporter narration (not a sound bite). The natural sounds can be integrated at the beginning, middle and/or end — wherever the sounds are appropriate to set the listener into the scene where the story is taking place. Remember that the words in the story should help make clear what sounds we are hearing and/or where we are.
    5. The finished story must be between 00:30 and 1:30 long.


    CLICK HERE for the grading rubric.