Chapter 27.     Broadcast Writing

 

o      Writing for radio

o      Writing for television

 

BROADCAST WRITING

by Robin Tyson, Lecturer: Media Studies, University of Namibia

and Robert Moore, Professor of Communications, Elizabethtown College (USA)

 

Words possess immense power.  The spoken word is even more powerful than the written word because is has the ability to engage the listener in a type of conversation.  Further, broadcast journalists are able to use common and familiar words to make the conversation more meaningful.  Broadcast writing must concern itself entirely with the spoken word.  So it must always keep in mind that the words that are going to be read out loud and must be familiar and easily understandable to the listener. 

 

WRITING TO BE READ OUT LOUD

 

The listener does not have the ability of re-reading a certain story in the broadcast script to comprehend it as they can in a newspaper.  They have only one chance to understand the meaning of what they hear.

 

As a result, there are several guidelines that must be followed when writing for broadcast.  They are:  word choice, use of adjectives, using phrases, maintaining a conversational style, attribution, use of correct verb tenses, proper reference when using pronouns, avoidance of repetition, and writing compelling leads. 

 

Even the best stories lack meaningfulness to the listener if they do not “talk” to the listener.  The broadcast writer needs to get into the habit of reading the scripts out loud.  Some writers use this vocalising as a technique while they are writing; others read their scripts out loud after completion.  Whichever method is chosen – do it!  It is the only way to ensure that a script sounds good.  That, after all, is the whole point of writing for broadcast.

 

Writing should be convincing to the listener.  It is important that the information does not sound like it is being read to them.  The goal is to engage the listener in a conversation, a story, that is being related to them by a trusted friend in the media.  The broadcaster might like to visualise a single listener when writing and presenting a story.  It must be remembered that the listener is a single person at a time, not to the thousands of  “you out there”.  It’s a beautiful strength in radio and television that, in English at least, we can use that direct form of address: “How are you this morning?” It makes the listener feel as if we are speaking to them and only to them.

 

THE GUIDELINES FOR GOOD BROADCAST WRITING

 

WORD CHOICE--USE SIMPLE AND CLEAR LANGUAGE

 

Broadcast writers differ from print journalists in that they must use short and simple words that are easily heard, understood, and provide immediate meaning to the listener.  Avoid complex words.

 

For example:  His excellency, the honourable President of Namibia, Mr. Sam Nujoma, today, presided over the dedication of a new 200 bed hospital in Okahandja”.  Eliminating the complex words and choosing more familiar terms to help the listener’s understanding can easily improve this sentence:  President Sam Nujoma dedicated a 200 bed hospital in Okahandja.”

 

In selecting the appropriate words to use in a broadcast script, particular attention should be paid to the choice of verbs.  Choose ACTIVE verbs rather than PASSIVE verbs.  Show action.

 

For example:  The Ministry of Transportation has chosen not to continue to fund the road works project widening the road to Swakamund.”  In addition to choosing more simple words, the use of an active verb makes the sentence more meaningful:  The project to widen the road to Swakamund was terminated.”

 

Use proper verb tense to indicate time.  Be clear as to when the action in the story occurred.  If the story is over, report in past tense.  If the action in the story is happening now, is on-going, report it in present tense.  Finally, if the action in the story has not yet happened, future tense is used.

 

For example, past-tense:“70 injured passengers were rescued from a bus-truck collision near Otavi.” Present tense: “Environmental engineers are investigating deadly pollution at Goreangob Dam.”  Future tense:  “Fuel prices will be adjusted downward as the US Dollar weakens against the Rand.”

 

Language must be simple and clear.  Complex words are often used by politicians (decentralisation, bilateral, enabling environment, etc.) but broadcast journalists need to have good language skills in order to re-phrase the words of speakers to enable them to be understood by an average listener.

 

In addition, avoid scientific terms and other technical words.  If there is no alternative (for instance, referring to RAM in a computer,) always spell out clearly to the listener what exactly is meant by the term.

 

For example, the writer might say, “RAM, or Random Access Memory, is an internal computer memory that stores information whilst the computer is switched on.”

 

The speech or press release is often written with this kind of language. Find synonyms (have a good thesaurus on the desk at all times) for those complex words.  Remember, broadcast journalists write literally for the whole population, not just the literate and highly educated. It is a very challenging job to write so that all can understand.

 

In Namibia, as in many other countries, a radio or television script will often be distributed to various language services.  Take into consideration that the words chosen will be translated into other languages.  On the other hand, a translator for a language service, must ensure that the right word in chosen that reflects accurately what was written in the original English script.  Keeping the language simple and clear makes translation easier.

 

For example:  “Comrades and colleagues.  My government believes that, at this dynamic moment in time, it is important to stress the realisation of goals and the need to work towards an era of consolidation, of unification and of common purpose in bi-lateral relations within SADC,” said Prime Minister Theo-Ben Gurirab yesterday at the opening meeting of SADC taking place in Windhoek.  This wording could be improved by eliminating the complex words and make it more easily translated: “Prime Minister Theo-Ben Gurirab opened the Southern African Development Community (SADC) meeting yesterday calling for a common purpose within the organisation.”

 

Adjectives help make a story colourful and aid in creating a picture in the listener’s head.  However, the same rule applies to the choice of adjectives as it did to verbs:  choose simple words.  For example, in the list below, a complex word on the left is better replaced with a more simple word.

 

                                    Intelligent                                Smart

                                    Educated                                  Schooled

                                    Picturesque                              Beautiful

                                    Displeasure                              Angry

                                    Peaceful                                   Quiet

 

Complex phrases are often unnecessary in broadcast writing.  While print journalists have the space, and often the duty to report stories in depth, broadcast journalists, writing for the ear, must stick to the facts and make them easily understood.  Long sentences, with many complex words and phrases in them, can be shortened significantly for better understanding.

 

For example:  “The Ministry of Mines and Energy said yesterday that the retail price of leaded (93 Octane) petrol will fall by 10 cents a litre, unleaded (95 Octane) petrol will go down by 12 cents and the wholesale price of diesel will drop by 10 cents.”  This complex sentence, with many phrases in it can be rewritten:  “Yesterday, the Ministry of Mines and Energy announced a 10-12 cent per litre reduction in the wholesale price of petrol.”

 

Writing in conversational style is a technique used by broadcast journalists to mentally involve the listener in the story.  A person, addressed by a presenter, and told a story is more likely to listen more attentively.

 

For example:  “For Windhoek residents, the Goreangob Dam poses a health threat with high levels of bacteria and pollution.  Dead fish, debris, and pollutants have resulted in the water being placed off-limits to fishing or recreation.”

 

Attribution is essential to good journalism.  Within the story, the source of the information is identified to establish the credibility of the report.  Referring to “anonymous sources” does not establish credibility.  Rather, it shows doubt or lack of confidence in the making public the information.

 

In broadcast writing, attribution is brief.  Condense wording, titles, and names so as to make the attribution more easily understood.  Since attribution is crucial to credibility, it should be put at the beginning of the sentence so that the listener hears the recognizable source at the beginning of the report.

 

For example:  “The Automobile Association of Namibia said that 40 road deaths occurred over the Christmas holiday.”

                                   

Pronouns are of particular importance in relation to attribution.  Pronouns are often used to shorten stories and attribution.  It is critical that they are not over used.  But most importantly, when used, it must be clear to whom the reference is made—to one single noun.

 

An example of an unclear reference is:  “The President and the cabinet reviewed the Eros Airport decision.  He indicated that no change would be made.”  A clearer reference would be:  “The President and the cabinet reviewed the Eros Airport decision.  The President said that he would not reverse the plan.”

 

Avoid repetition of words.  Similar or identical words should not be used in the same or successive sentences.

 

Some sentences can be ambiguousThe man was found lying on the pavement by his wife.  Does this mean the man was found lying next to his wife on the pavement or that his wife found him lying on the pavement?  Listeners must clearly understand exactly what is meant, and should not be sitting at home wondering what the meaning was.

 

Six Swedish sailors are in prison this evening.  Tongue twisters such as these are useful for voice practice for those wishing to become broadcasting presenters, but have no place in a script.  Again, a writer is to make the presentation as easy as possible, so don’t include obstacles like this.

 

Similarly, dealing with numbers properly in stories is important to good presentation.  To write that: the budget for Namibia this year was N$12 098 230 is virtually impossible to read out loud without preparation beforehand.  Rather, write it out in a way that is easier to read--the budget for Namibia this year was 12 million, 98 thousand and 230 dollars.  Even better would be to round it off for easier reading.  The budget for Namibia this year was just over 12 million dollars.  Note that Namibian Dollars is not used.  When the media in Namibia writes a story about Namibia, it is assumed that the reference is to Namibian currency.  However, when making reference to any foreign currency, write out US Dollars or Australian Dollars, etc.

 

WRITE COMPELLING LEADS

 

Perhaps, the story lead is the most important part of a script.  With out an attention getting, involving lead, the listener may tune out the story.  The goal of the lead, then, is to identify the story topic and begin the flow of information with the most important details.

 

Leads attempt to immediately identify for the audience why the story is important to them.  Four general categories of stories and leads are:  the content is of importance to the viewer in their everyday life; the story is close in proximity to then (their life, job, family/friends, home, etc.); the topic or people in the story are prominent; finally, the story is interesting to the listener.

 

Very little detail goes into the lead.  The lead is to grab attention and draw the listener into the story.  Generally, ask, what is it about this story that is:  important, proximate, prominent, or interesting.  Then include the what and where information about the story.

 

Avoid spectacular wording.  Do not use clichés.  Keep to the facts.  Do not include the 5 W’s in the lead.  Do not ask questions as a lead.  Do not use quotes as a lead.  Ask, why is this story important to the listener and what information will draw them into the story.

 

 

FOLLOW A LOGICAL ORDER IN WRITING THE SCRIPT

 

After the lead (which usually includes the what and where information,) the writer focuses on the who and why.  Unless very important to the story, the when is often ignored.

 

Often times, a writer will organize a story chronological order.  Most likely, this is not advisable.  Seldom do the important elements of a story occur in order.  Other, more valuable approaches to writing a story include the particular-to-general order or the cause and effect order.

 

STRUCTURE THE SCRIPT

 

Commas and other punctuation are also great aids to a presenter who is going to read the script out loud.  Break-up sentences into short, easy-to-comprehend units.  A long sentence is not only a challenge for the presenter (who will have to take a breath sometime!) but also for the listener, who tends to get lost while trying to understand it.

 

Use double-spacing at all times when writing for broadcast.  Please waste paper!  Many writers (especially students!) obviously like to economise, but in the world of broadcasting it is important to space out words clearly.  This not only means large fonts and double-spacing, but also means greater use of short, clear paragraphs.  Essentially the writer tries to make it as easy as possible for the presenter to read.  Small fonts, single spacing and long paragraphs are very difficult to read on the air.  Many presenters will like to make small additions to your script (see: MARKING FOR PRESENTATION) and a dense format will make it difficult for them to do so.

 

Don’t use capital letters throughout.  Conventional writing has the advantage of making the capitalisation of certain names (e.g. President Sam Nujoma) clear to the reader, rather than PRESIDENT SAM NUJOMA.

 

Each story in a news bulletin or an actuality programme (such as World at Six) will also have to be written on a separate page.  This is also to enable an editor to change the order of a bulletin, or even add a late breaking story at the last minute.  Note that each page of a bulletin should contain important information at the top, including:  the date on which it was written, the author/reporter and a ‘slug’ (a short identifier – for instance: SAM FISH for a story about President Nujoma opening a fishing factory).

 

STYLES OF NEWS WRITING

 

Living in Windhoek, with 17 different radio stations, writers have the opportunity to listen to many different broadcast writing styles.  Listen critically and as widely as possible. Identify what is good and bad writing.  Generally of course, the easier the story is to understand and the easier it flows in the mind, the better the writing.

 

Š                NBC Radio uses a very formal, but old-fashioned approach.  The entire news bulletin script is written out and read by one person.  Very few broadcasters, even the BBC, use this approach.  However, because of the need for translation of each bulletin, NBC in a way is still forced to use this method.  Listen to NBC National Radio for examples of this approach – their major bulletins are at 07:00, 08:00, 13:00 and 19:00 daily.

Š                Most common throughout the world today, including VOA and BBC World Service, is the use of ‘sound bites’.  In other words, the bulletin, although read by one person, will contain within it a number of reports or other sounds (for instance, an interview).  Rather than simply reading out the fact that 100 people died in Nigerian riots, the reporter on the scene has a lot more impact if he or she describes it in their own words.  It also has the advantage of breaking up the monotony of one person’s voice talking for ten minutes without any break.  Listen to VOA news on Radio 99 as well as some of the Word Radio Network broadcasters (each evening on UNAM Radio 97.4) for examples of this approach.

Š                Also note that the commercial broadcasters require Namibian news content.  However, the choice of story will obviously be different with more focus on entertainment news, sports items or novelty items.  The style of writing will be more informal with more slang being acceptable.  Listen to Radio Wave (96.7) for examples of this style of writing.

 

MARKING FOR PRESENTATION

 

A news writer or reporter may increasingly be called on to present or read a story on air.  It is important to know how to prepare the script for ease in reading.  Even if the script is to be passed on to another person to present, the writer should know what the presenter would do with the script in order to make it easier to read.  This knowledge should improve a writer’s ability to create a script to be read.

 

Š                Use some marks (/) throughout the script in order to break it up in to ‘sense blocks’.  This will help make sense of the script when it is presented.

Š                Write out difficult words in full on the script.  In the heat of the moment Ngarikatuke Tjiriange can be quite a mouthful.  So writing it out, as it sounds, in big letters somewhere (NGARI-KA-TU-KE TJI-RI-AN-GE) will really help a presenter when they are live with the red light on.

Š                Use underlining to indicate that the presenter is to give emphasis to pronunciation or to words.  For example, emphasizing Ja in Rio de Janeiro may use correct pronunciation but the emphasis all wrong.  So underline the part of the word that will give correct emphasis – Rio de Janeiro.

Š                Consider using some kind of squiggly line under those parts of the script that might present a problem.  This technique can signal a presenter to slow down and take more care over these difficult words or sentences.

 

PRESENTATION

 

Although this chapter is called “Broadcast Writing” it is now standard practice for journalists who write voice reports or even news bulletins to present them as well.  This has the advantage of authority and knowledge – the journalist will know the pronunciations, know the background of the story and know the terminology contained in the piece that will be presented.  Often, the newsreader is normally the final editor of a piece of writing and will often change things in the bulletin to suit their personal style of presentation.

 

Correspondents for NBC Radio, especially in the regions, will be expected to ‘voice’ their items and then send them for broadcast in Windhoek.  Similarly, commercial radio stations (for instance, Radio Wave) expect their news writers to also present the news bulletins.

 

Here are some tips on good presentation.  Preparation is vital.  Schedule plenty of preparation time beforehand.  A presenter should never be forced into the situation where they are rushed into the studio to bluff their way through a script.  That is asking for trouble!

 

Know all of the pronunciations beforehand and practice them.  The presenter and the news bulletin, indeed the entire broadcaster, can lose credibility if names are incorrectly pronounced on the air.

 

When the red light is on, keep calm.  It’s more difficult than it seems but practice will make perfect and make the presenter more comfortable with the script.  Tension will lead to a ‘strangled’ voice tone and speed will increase. Often, the presenter will stumble over the words in the script.  A relaxed posture, sitting naturally in front of the microphone, will ensure that the voice remains natural and easy to listen to. 

 

Regarding speed – generally the slower the better.  The listener does not have an opportunity to ‘rewind’ what is being read, so it is important that they can clearly understand what is heard the first time.

 

Presenters should listen to a recording of their broadcast and evaluate it.  Did the voice sound pleasant to listen to or was it too high, too fast or too unnatural in phrasing?  Did you fumble some words and make some mistakes?  Try to improve every time you are on the air.  If you made five mistakes in one report, get it down to four mistakes the next time.

 

Increasingly broadcasters are turning to reporters to present ‘live’ reports, unscripted.  Both NBC radio and television reporters are required to perfect this technique.  Again, practice makes perfect, so take a story and then try to present it as if it was live.  Work to make the presentation a flowing, smooth report.  These “live” reports should sound spontaneous but the presenter will have obviously prepared a few major points beforehand and planned a general structure for delivery.  “Live” does not mean unprepared.

 

SUMMARY

 

Š                Write words that will make sense when read out loud

Š                Use simple, clear language – avoid jargon that listeners won’t understand

Š                Write short sentences

Š                Use large fonts, double-spacing and short paragraphs

Š                When presenting -mark the bulletin well beforehand, check all pronunciations and keep calm and relaxed

 

SAMPLE RADIO NEWS BULLETIN

 

Does it follow the guidelines of the chapter?  Can it be improved?  Are there any important facts missing?

 

TITLE:            SWAPO-CAPRIVI

AUTHOR:        jthebuho

DATE:             19/7/00

DUR:               00:39

 

 

The government has been urged to speed up efforts to find a solution to the transport problem, that for many years has faced residents of Impalila Island.

 

At present, it can only be reached from the mainland via the Zambezi River, by air, or by road through Botswana.

 

The SWAPO councillor made the call for the Kabbe constituency in the Caprivi, Peter Mwala, at a weekend community meeting held on the island with SWAPO national leaders assigned to the Caprivi.

 


           

TELEVISION--A PICTURE IS WORTH A THOUSAND WORDS

 

Writing for television, one could argue, is something that, in an ideal world, would not be necessary at all!  After all, how many people say that they “listened to television last night” or that they “heard something on television news.”  Television is watched.  Whilst radio allows the listener to be busy doing something else (washing dishes, chatting to family members, reading a magazine, knitting, etc,) television is involving.  Viewers pay more strict attention to this media watching the pictures. 

 

Certain elements of any story cannot be portrayed merely by visuals and so it is important to learn to write in a special way for television.  The script does not elaborate on what is being shown.  The script tells the viewer what is not evident in the pictures. Pictures tell the story. The script must underline, emphasise and complement those pictures.

 

WRITE TO PICTURES

 

Television scripts reflect story writing based upon what is seen.  To use a practical example, if our script refers to ‘voter’s cards’, pictures of those cards should be shown on the screen at the same time.  Similarly, when referring to what President Nujoma said, then show pictures of President Nujoma.  Certainly, one should not confuse viewers by showing images on screen that have nothing to do with the script – make it easy for us to understand by ensuring that the script synchronises with the images.

 

Even better, however, would be to use a ‘sound bite’ (a short sentence or two that captures the main point of a story) of the President actually talking! It’s a difficult call however, because in many cases the journalist will be required to summarise in a short time what the speaker might have spent an hour or more saying!  Nevertheless, a well-chosen sound bite will allow the journalist to capture the essence of the speech.

 

TEAM WORK

 

“Diary of a television news story” shows clearly how important co-operation is.  The writer has to work closely with the cameraperson, video editor, news input editor, news output editor and producer of a television news bulletin.

 

Remember, pictures are the most important element to a television new story.  Therefore the reporter or writer will have to work closely with the cameraperson on location to ensure that the necessary visual material is obtained that will complement the script.  The writer, in other words, will have to have in their head a sense of the structure of the final script, even before a word has been written.   The essence of the story must be gotten while in the field.

 

For instance, at the scene of an accident, establishing shots (a wide angle shot of the overall scene) will be needed.  Then, working with the cameraperson, obtain close-up shots of the elements that are necessary in telling the story.  This could include accident victims, ambulance and fire crews, police, distressed family members, equipment being used to free the victims, etc. Remember, once the scene of the story is left and the crew is back in the studio shots that were missed cannot be gotten.  It is better to shoot too much material than too little. 

 

Often when watching a television news story where a long script lacks enough suitable visuals a certain shot (often ‘file material’ drawn at the last minute from the archive) is repeated two or three times to ‘fill in’ over the script.  This is poor television - highly irritating for viewers and failing the guidelines to write a story to pictures.  Don’t fall into the trap of writing a good story, and then run around at the last minute for visuals – rather ensure from the start that the right visuals have been gotten – the writing will come later.

 

SOUND IS ALSO IMPORTANT

 

Don’t forget sound.  Some of the best television consists of strong visuals with strong sounds.  Some the most important sound is natural sound.  Remember the famous footage of the World Trade Centre on September 11, 2001?  A lot of the material simply consisted of the roar of the buildings collapsing, the sound of fire engines and ambulances, and the shocked reactions of pedestrians on the street. 

 

Again, the script must indicate where the sound will dominate (usually the term used is:  “sound up”). Natural sound may be a powerful option as an introduction to your story rather than words (e.g. sounds of gunfire to open a story on a civil war) or use natural sounds at the end of a story (e.g. sounds of a baby crying at the end of a story on drought).  Television is often most powerful when it lets the images (and sounds) tell the story –words in such a case might be an intrusion.

 

THE PRODUCTION SCRIPT AND PRESENTATION SCRIPT

 

The production script (attached as an example) contains everything a reporter needs to do the story – words, the sound bites (short extracts of a speech, for instance), the supers (the captions on screen), timings, etc.  It will be written by the reporter, approved by the input editor, recorded by the reporter and eventually handed to a video editor.

 

The presentation script will be given to the team responsible for the live broadcast and will include any introductory words that the news anchor will use, timings for the story, timings for the captions and “out words” for the entire report.

 

It is the reporter’s responsibility to write a full production script.  This should indicate not only the words that the reporter will use, but also indicate the “in” (start) and “out” (finish) words of each “sound bite” used in the report (including all accurate timings for these) as well as the wording to be used over “supers”.  All of this is important because once the script has been approved and been recorded, it will then pass it on to a video editor, who needs to know exactly what visual and audio material to use and when.

 

DIARY OF A TELEVISION NEWS STORY

 

Š                The reporter checks the daily story board to see their stories – it will list times, venues, cameraperson’s, visuals and deadlines for each planned story for the day.  In a breaking story, a cameraperson alone can be sent, but this is not ideal.

Š                Plan beforehand what will be necessary for the story – lights, extra microphones, etc?  Also check with editors and colleagues on the background to the story.  Research and prepare questions beforehand.

Š                Arrive well in time in order to be fully briefed on what is going to happen – this mingling before a news event can often be a good source of background information and future contacts.

Š                While the story is underway, liase (normally quietly – through sign language!) with the cameraperson to ensure that they film what you regard to be important.

Š                Returning to the newsroom, check the footage along with the cameraperson, and then start writing.

Š                After the script has been approved by the news input editor (who will check for details, facts, etc), do a ‘voicer’ (go to the studio and record the script – watch out for proper pronunciations!)

Š                The completed voice tape, video footage and final production script are given to the video editor, who will edit the story ready for broadcast.

           Write the final production script, listing all details (super wording, timings, etc) and hand over to the news output editor.

 

TELEVISION WRITING TIPS

 

Š                Ensure all the relevant facts about a story are included (What happened?  When did it happen? Where did it happen?  Who was involved?  How did it happen?)

Š                In one sentence, try to summarise what this story is all about – in other words, what’s the main angle to this story?

Š                Avoid jargon and “politician-speak”.  Try to find simpler words to explain to the viewer concepts such as ‘bilateral developmental consultations” – typical of the type of language used by politicians and NGO’s.

Š                Make it easy to read.  Spell out numbers (twelve million dollars) to make them easy for a presenter to read on the air.

Š                Get the facts right – particularly the titles of people in the news and their spellings – remember this will be needed later when writing the ‘supers’ (captions) that will identify the newsmaker on screen in the final story.

Š                Don’t write too much!  Commentary should complement what is seen.  Don’t allow the magnificent script to dominate what should be magnificent visuals!  Neither should the words distract – write about what the viewers are seeing.

Š                Don’t repeat facts or phrases – a common mistake is to write in the production script (used by the reporter) exactly the same information that is in the presentation script (used by the presenter of the news bulletin).  Time is precious in broadcasting – don’t waste it!

Š                Don’t tell what we can see (“This is Windhoek at sunset, the glowing mountains in the background reflect.”) – we can SEE all of that!  Your script should merely complement the visuals.

 

EXAMPLE – HOW THE VISUAL STRUCTURE SHOULD CLOSELY MATCH THE WRITTEN STRUCTURE

 

The following is the opening sequence from a CNN report on the kidnapping of an Indian politician.  Note how every line in the script is strictly matched by complementary visual material.  Also note how, in writing for television especially, colloquial English is often used rather than formal English.  Thus, the first sentence should read:  “Bangalore is a city on edge, as police …” However, being television, don’t tell the viewers what they can already see (in this case a caption under the image would confirm that the shots are of Bangalore).

 

“A city on edge, as police nervously patrol the centre ….”  (SHOTS OF CITY CENTRE – POLICE IN FOREGROUND)

 

“The politician was kidnapped three months ago..”  (SHOTS OF DEAD POLITICIAN)

 

“His kidnapper, a 42 year old Bangladeshi national.” (SHOTS OF KIDNAPPER)

 

“However, the government says ….”  (INTERVIEW WITH GOVERNMENT SPOKESMAN)

 

PRODUCTION SCRIPT EXAMPLE

 

At the end of this chapter, the writer has included both the production script (that will be used for the report) and the presentation script (that will be used during the live transmission by the news anchor).  The reporter, after having this script approved by the news input editor, will go and record the commentary (from the words “Representatives from Spain, Portugal, Germany … “ on line 12 up until the final line – “Tsumeb being the first”).  Note that there are two ‘sound bites’ in this story (at 00:08:18 until 00:08:30 – the Spanish Ambassador – and 00:07:09 until 00:07:34 – Lands Minister Pohamba).

 

The first 11 lines (up to the words “Minister: Lands, Resettlement and Rehabilitation) will be used for the presentation script – eventually to be used by the production team during the live transmission.  Again, timings for each of the supers (marked “super in” and “super out”) will eventually be included in the final presentation script, as well as indications of sound (‘natural sound’ ‘sound on both channels’ etc).

 

Remember, that final presentation script will be copied and used by the production team during the live broadcast.  They need to have all indications of exactly where and when to insert supers, bring up sound, etc.  Note also that the “in” and “out” words of the entire story, as well as clear timings (00:01:25) are necessary, as a countdown will be given to the news anchor, studio camera operator, vision mixer, sound engineer, producer, autocue operator (who “rolls” the text on a special screen for the news anchor to read) in order to warn them to get ready to present the next story.  Television is all about timing – to have only 5 seconds of blank screen is unforgivable and looks very odd at home – some viewers might even think their sets have broken down!  Note therefore that all timings here are to the second!

 

Also note, in television, timings are hours: minutes: seconds.

 

PRODUCTION SCRIPT

 

Author::           Amweti

Duration:         00:01:25

First Words:     The Spanish Embassy and other EU member …

Last Words:      Farm near Tsumeb being the first.

 

EU-Resettlement

 

The Spanish Embassy and other EU member states represented in Namibia, say they are satisfied with the implementation and utilization of land under the resettlement program.

 

Yesterday, union representatives visited the Queen Sofia Resettlement Project near Outjo, which is jointly funded by the Spanish and Namibian Governments.

 

………………………….. Video …………………….

 

Report: Agatha Mweti

 

Super:  Javier Perez-Griffo

Spanish Ambassador to Namibia

 

Super:  Hifikepunye Pohamba

Minister: Lands, Resettlement and Rehabilitation

 

00:00:20 & 00:01:06 EU Group

 

Representatives from Spain, Portugal, Germany, Italy, France and the Netherlands visited this farm donated to Government by the late Karl List for resettlement purposes.

 

It became operational in 1999 through the twelve million dollar funding from the Spanish Government, and hence is named after their queen.

 

The Spanish Ambassador to Namibia Javier-Perez Griffo, expressed satisfaction with the current success in crop and livestock production at the area.  00:02:16 & 00:00:47 & 00:02:16

 

Sound up

In:        00:008:18        We are extremely happy and …

Out:     00:08:30          …serve as an example for future resettlement projects

 

Ambassador Griffo, while pledging continued support, urged beneficiaries to gear-up for self-sustainability once the Spanish government ceases its assistance.

 

Lands, Resettlement and Rehabilitation Minister Hifikepunye Pohamba, described the Queen Sofia farm, as one of the success stories of the land distribution program.

 

Sound up

In:        00:07:09          I talk about school …

Out:     00:07:34          …under our ministry.

 

Future plans are to divide the farm into one thousand hectare units to allow the fifty beneficiaries there, to farm independently.

 

Queen Sofia is the second resettlement program funded by the Spanish Government – the Excelsior resettlement farm near Tsumeb being the first.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Grateful thanks to Menesia Muinjo (Editor: NBC TV News Input) and Mushitu Mukwame (Senior Editor:  NBC TV News) for their input in writing this chapter.

 

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