WRITING FOR BROADCAST (SOUND)

  • Writing for broadcast (sound) should always be in the present tense or as close to the present tense as possible – NOT PAST!

CUES/LINKS/LEAD-INS

  • All three mean the same thing. It’s an intro to an audio clip or report read out by the newsreader. It’s usually between one to four paragraphs – each about one or two sentences long.
  • Cues have to be written in easy language because they’re read out by the newsreader – also so that the viewers understand the story easily.
  • A cue needs to be self standing – This means that if somehow the audio fails to work, the cue would still make sense and tell the story w/o the audience knowing there was meant to be an audio clip.
  • Cues that lead to a longer audio clip like a package or a voicer (recorded report containing only the journalist’s voice) are usually shorter because the audio will do most of the explaining. Therefore, cues for packages and voicers are not self standing and finish with an a line introducing the audio e.g Here’s our sports reports reporter Mr Baltzer with the details” then the audio would be played.
  • 3 PAR CUE = The standard 3 paragraph introduction to an audio clip (par is short for paragraph)
  • COPY = A three or four par cue that doesn’t have any media – it’s just a block of writing and it tells the story on its own.
  • Keep the sentences simple and short – one idea per sentence.

KISS – Keep It Simple Stupid

 

 

HEY MOMENT = First paragraph/sentence of the cue – it’s the most important point of the story

MINI-HEY = Second paragraph/sentence of the cue – the second most important part of the story

The last paragraph/sentence of the cue is the least important part but will cue-up the audio while also keeping the cue self standing e.g “The Prime Minister says she’s disappointed with her decision”… then cue the clip of the Prime Minister.

  • PUB DOOR TEST = If you walked into a pub and only had ONE sentence to sell the entire story in order to grab everyone’s attention, what would it be? If it wouldn’t grab everyone’s attention then change the top line or the story.
  • It has to be something catchy, engaging, interesting, intriguing, punchy,informative. This is the HEY MOMENT – because it’s the first thing you’ll say and it sums up the story in one line.

 

  • IBIZA TEST = Imagine someone has been on holiday in Ibiza for 2 weeks. They might not know all the facts, so don’t assume they know the story – always make sure you explain it in a way that someone who’s just come back from Ibiza would understand.

 

  • CORNFLAKE TEST = Write the story in a way that would make someone stop eating their cornflakes if they’re listening over breakfast. Make it engaging.

DO NOT REPEAT SAY IN THE CUE EXACTLY WHAT’S GONNA BE SAID IN THE AUDIO = e.g the cue might be “Theresa May says there’s no going back from here” then in the clip it’s Theresa may saying “There’s no going back from here”. The interview/audio is meant to support the information in the cue, not repeat what’s just been said.

In Radio There Are Generally Four Ways To Deal With A Story And Report It On Air:

  1. COPY = A three par cue w/o audio. It’s self standing and read by a newsreader or presenter – it’s the quickest way to get a story out on air
  2.  CUE + CUT = A three par cue that’s self standing with an audio clip accompanying it. The clip is usually 15-40 seconds and is usually taken from a longer interview with someone to do with the story you’re telling.
  3. CUE + VOICER = A two/three par cue by a newsreader that is unlikely to be self standing. The final paragraph/sentence introduces a longer audio clip. The audio introduces is usually 30-60 seconds and only has the reporter telling the story talking directly to the audience like a tv news reporter doing a live report.
  4. CUE + PACKAGE/WRAP = A two/three par cue by a newsreader that is unlikely to be self standing. The final paragraph/sentence introduces the accompanying audio. The audio features at least 2 voices (reporter & interviewee) and fully explains the story giving a balanced view.
  • Wraps/packages are usually around 60+ seconds long.
  • The most basic form of wrap is “donut wrap” which has 3 audio clips edited together:
  1. First we hear the reporter’s voice with a bit more info about the story
  2. Then we hear the audio clip of the interviewee
  3. Then the reporter’s voice again rounding up the story.

Wraps and packages usually take longer to put together because they involve getting many bits of audio/interviews. They may have more than one interviewee. They are seen as the target a journalist wants to get to when covering a story.

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