4 surefire tips for more effective TV writing

Reporters usually get all the credit for great broadcast writing, but if you consider the amount of writing TV producers do in a single day, you’ll understand why we thought WXII-TV’s Executive Producer Brian Neal might have some good advice after years of writing and editing scripts in the Winston-Salem market. 1. Keep it short. …

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TV reporter tips for better storytelling

The old inverted pyramid approach to storytelling — reporting the most important information first — is still a useful tool, especially in breaking news situations.  But creative reporters like to  change the approach to fit the content.  Rachel Beech at WDAM-TV in Hattiesburg, Mississippi says she has a favorite technique for writing feature stories. “With …

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Top 5 social media writing tips

It’s not hard to find a slew of articles on best practices for social media tweets and posts, but if you can only focus on five things, here’s where to start! 1.  Share “news.” Before you say, “Duh!” — let us explain.  In addition to sharing pieces of information about any story you’re reporting, be …

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Well-chosen details make stories stronger

One challenge TV reporters face is deciding what details belong in a story. Too many and the story bogs down. Too few and it loses impact. What works in a story is “telling” detail: information that conveys a basic truth about a character or situation. Think about the difference between two stories about the aftermath …

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15 rules of storytelling–and then some

Writing a two-minute TV news story is nothing like writing a screenplay for a movie. Or is it? Truth is, all writing has some things in common. Take this list from Emma Coats, a former screenwriter at Pixar, the movie studio. Of her 22 rules of storytelling, more than a handful apply to the kind …

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The very best in TV news writing

The best broadcast journalists are always looking for ways to get even better at that their craft, and a great place to start is by watching KARE-TV’s Boyd Huppert. But don’t take our word for it — Huppert is also the 2013 winner of the large market Edward R. Murrow Award for writing. Over the …

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Tips for multimedia journalists on writing fast

Video journalist Anne Herbst firmly believes in preparation. She does research on stories before leaving the newsroom. She shows up to assignments early so she can meet people and figure out in advance who might be a strong character. And she writes fast–an essential skill when you’re working by yourself and you have to do …

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Top journalism skills in 2012

So, it may seen a little arrogant to assume that our blog can act as a barometer of the journalism industry, but what the heck. If you look at the five most viewed posts of 2012, it seems reasonable to me to make the following assumptions: The fundamentals still matter.  The No. 1 post on …

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Improve your writing by editing backward

Words have power and the most powerful word in a sentence should come last.  I could have written: Words have power and the last word should be the most powerful one in a sentence. But that would have put the emphasis on “sentence” when I wanted to stress “last.” See the difference? Sometimes, this kind …

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What’s a VO/SB and how do you write one?

For some reason, the voice over/sound bite (VO/SB) or voice over/sound on tape (VO/SOT) seems to be one of the most challenging TV story forms to do well.  It also seems to be one of the toughest story forms for which to explain the writing process to beginning journalists. At it’s most basic, a VO/SB …

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