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How to Write Radio News Scripts Essay

Introduction

Learning how to write news for radio broadcasting can be a challenge because it is a format that has its own rules. First and foremost, radio news scripts are written for listeners, not readers or viewers. Follow these basic guidelines for writing a radio news script: Instructions Difficulty: Moderate Steps

Step One

Know that radio news writing is aimed toward the listener, so the writing should be clear and simple. No words that are difficult to pronounce, nor require a dictionary to understand.

Step Two

Write an outline. Determine the key elements of the story. These are the essential components. Ask yourself: Who? What? Why? Where? When?

Step Three

Write a tease. This will be used with other teases to whet the appetite of the listener before the news is aired. This should not be longer than a sentence.

Step Four

Write a lead sentence. This is used to grab the listener’s attention. Be concise and accurate with your lead.

Step Five

Write the body. Include all necessary facts, figures, and main points. Radio news stories are typically 100 to 300 words, based on the amount of time dedicated to the story. 100 words equates to approximately 30 seconds of airtime.

Step Six

Write a story conclusion. This should be no longer than a sentence or two that sums up the key points of the story.

Step Seven

Format your script in accordance with basic radio script guidelines which may vary from radio station to radio station.

Step Eight

Fact-check the script and review your grammar. Present the script to a copy-editor that might find mistakes you overlooked. Overall Tips & Warnings • • Keep it fresh. Repetition is the most common error made in regards to leads and teases in radio news. Some of the basic radio script guidelines include:

• • • • • • • • • • • •

All copy should be typed and double-spaced. Date the first page of the script. Indent all paragraphs. Don’t use semicolons and write out abbreviations. Use underlines for emphasis and dashes for long pauses.

Avoid technical terms or jargon that will go over the heads of the public. Fact check. Your journalistic credibility is at stake, so don’t be careless. Limit the amount of figures you include. Too many numbers become confusing. Keep sentences short so the reporter can take a breathe. Use the active voice. “He jumped the hurdle” instead of “The hurdle was jumped by him.” Write in the present tense for immediacy. That is, instead of “The citizens of Old City will vote today” try “Old City citizens are voting.” Be objective in your writing, do not editorialize or add personal or philosophical comments. Stick to the story. Never plagiarize. Writing that you claim to be your own should always be your own. If not, you invite the possibility of litigation.


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