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Broadcast News Writing, Reporting, and Producing, 4th Edition

Book Description

Broadcast News Writing, Reporting, and Producing, Fourth Edition examines the skills, techniques, and challenges of writing and reporting for broadcast journalism. Along with complete coverage of the fundamentals, the text presents up-to-date examples and issues through actual scripts and interviews with the people who bring us the news.

The book emphasizes real-life situations, and examines the problems that reporters, writers, assignment editors, and producers face every day. Each chapter contains exercises for writing, review, and discussion so that students can learn and apply what they've read.

This new edition contains material on embedded journalists, their preparation (journalist boot camp), including the late CNN reporter David Bloom, and their impact on the news. It includes new examples of tabloid journalism and expanded information on the state of terrorism and crime reporting today.

Ted White has been a broadcast journalist since starting his career as a copy boy for The Voice of America while in college as a journalism student. He worked for CBS, ABC, and CNN as well as other major radio and TV stations in NYC where he was a writer, reporter, editor, and producer before becoming a college professor at Southern University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

Table of Contents

  1. Cover
  2. Halftitle
  3. Title
  4. Copyright
  5. Contents
  6. Foreword
  7. Preface
  8. Acknowledgments
  9. Introduction
    1. A Changing Industry
    2. Is Journalism for You?
    3. What Role to Play?
    4. Your College Education
    5. Internships
    6. Your First Job
    7. Responsibility and Accuracy
  10. 1 Broadcast News Writing Mechanics
    1. Some Basics
    2. Correcting Copy
    3. Slugs
    4. The Split Page
    5. Avoiding Abbreviations
    6. Avoiding Split Words and Sentences
    7. Punctuation
    8. Names and Titles
      1. Middle Names and Initials
      2. Foreign Names
    9. Ages
    10. Marital Status
    11. Race
    12. Numbers
    13. Timing Stories
    14. Review Questions
    15. Exercises
  11. 2 Broadcast News Writing Style
    1. Rewriting Wire Copy
    2. Conversational Style
    3. Contractions
    4. Reading Your Copy Aloud
    5. Avoiding Information Overload
    6. Avoiding Relative Clauses
    7. Eliminating Long Words
    8. Conjunctions
    9. Prepositions
    10. Pronouns
    11. Modifying Phrases
    12. Avoiding Clichés
    13. Writing What You Mean
    14. Good Grammar and Some Exceptions
    15. Summary
    16. Review Questions
    17. Exercises
  12. 3 More Style Rules
    1. Verbs
      1. Present Tense
      2. Present Perfect Tense
      3. Mixing Tenses
      4. Active Verbs
      5. Says Is a Good Verb
      6. Strong Verbs
    2. Limiting Use of Adverbs and Adjectives
    3. Attribution
    4. Using Quotes
    5. Expressing Time
    6. Looking Ahead
    7. Transitions
    8. People, Not Persons
    9. Summary
    10. Review Questions
    11. Exercises
  13. 4 Writing Broadcast Copy
    1. Leads
      1. The “Five W’s and H Rule”
      2. Hard and Soft Leads
      3. The “Right” Emotion
      4. The Quote Lead
      5. The Shotgun Lead
      6. The Suspense Lead
      7. The Delayed Lead
      8. Negative Leads
    2. Updating and Reworking the Lead
    3. Constructing the Rest of the Story
    4. Summary
    5. Review Questions
    6. Exercises
  14. 5 Color: The Key to Good Writing
    1. Color Should Be Natural
    2. Emulate the Best
    3. Kuralt on the Road
    4. “A Postcard from Nebraska”
    5. Crisp and Clear
    6. Use Your Senses
    7. Color Comes in Many Shades
    8. Colorful Obituaries
    9. Frederick, Ellerbee, and Aaron
    10. Murrow and His “Boys”
    11. “This Is London”
    12. “Permit Me to Tell You”
    13. “The Fault, Dear Brutus”
    14. Eric Sevareid: Writing with Class
    15. Good Things from Local Stations
    16. Summary
    17. Review Questions
    18. Exercises
  15. 6 Radio News
    1. You Need A Scorecard
    2. All News Radio Stations
    3. Good News Teams Are Also Found in Small Places
    4. Your Audience
    5. Organizing Material
    6. Writing from the Back
    7. The Lead Story
    8. The Rest of the Newscast
    9. Localizing the News
    10. Story Length
    11. Actualities
    12. Wraparounds
    13. Lead-Ins
    14. Teases
    15. Headlines
    16. Pad Copy
    17. Back Timing
    18. Summary
    19. Review Questions
    20. Exercises
  16. 7 Writing for the Television Newscast
    1. Combining Words and Pictures
    2. Sound Bites
    3. The Television Newswriter
    4. Read Stories
    5. Voice-overs
      1. The Split Page
      2. Video Instructions
      3. Sound on Tape
    6. Lead-Ins
    7. Headlines and Teases
    8. A Team Effort
    9. Summary
    10. Review Questions
    11. Exercises
  17. 8 Delivering the News
    1. Credibility
    2. One-Way Communication
    3. Getting Help with Your Delivery
      1. Dialects
      2. Listening to Yourself
    4. Getting Pronunciation Help
    5. Pacing
    6. Marking Copy
    7. Characteristics of Successful Anchors
    8. Ratings Wars
    9. Cosmetics
    10. Summary
    11. Review Questions
    12. Exercises
  18. 9 Finding the News
    1. The Wires
    2. Television Satellite Feeds
    3. The Internet
    4. Newspapers
    5. Monitoring Radios
    6. Making Phone Calls
    7. Stringers
    8. Tipsters
    9. Employee Input
    10. Sounding the Alarm
    11. Developing Story Ideas
    12. Interaction
    13. Insights
    14. Assignment Boards
    15. Summary
    16. Review Questions
    17. Exercises
  19. 10 Broadcast News Reporting
    1. Basic Skills
    2. Accuracy
    3. Election 2000: It’s Better to Be Right than First
      1. New Problems in 2004
      2. The O. J. Simpson Trial
    4. News Judgment
    5. Curiosity
    6. Concern and Caring
    7. Persistence
    8. Aggressiveness
    9. Fairness
    10. Diversity
    11. Covering Stories about Gays and Lesbians
    12. Staying Well Informed
    13. Research
    14. Manners and Sensitivity
    15. Working with Colleagues
    16. Summary
    17. Review Questions
    18. Exercises
  20. 11 Reporting Assignments
    1. Fires
    2. Accidents
    3. Crime
    4. Rape
      1. Be a Watchdog
    5. The Courts
      1. Criminal Courts
      2. Reporter Access
      3. Civil Courts
    6. Demonstrations
    7. Riots
    8. Disasters
      1. The Terrorist Attacks of 9-11
        1. Trying to Find a CBS Crew
        2. Women Journalists at Ground Zero
        3. How Not to Spend the Last Day of a Vacation
        4. Just Go … Go … Go!
      2. Oklahoma City Bombing
      3. The 2004 Tsunami
    9. Tragedies
      1. Violence
      2. Schoolyard Shootings
        1. Media Invade Small Community
        2. Criticism of Media
        3. Why Such Killings?
        4. Don’t Forget the Victims
        5. Was the Reporting Excessive?
        6. Violent Stories Also Cause Stress for Journalists
      3. The Waco, Texas, Conflict
        1. Was News Coverage Fair?
        2. Government Control of Media
        3. Could Media Involvement Have Changed the Outcome?
    10. War Reporting: The Rules Have Changed
    11. Embedded Journalists
      1. The Private Lynch Fiasco
      2. Are Reporters Acting too Much Like Soldiers?
        1. Cheerleaders for the Military?
      3. Journalist Deaths in Iraq
      4. The Tip of the Spear
    12. Beats
    13. Advancing the Story
    14. Avoiding the Pack
      1. Keeping in Touch
    15. Establishing Rapport with the Cameraperson
    16. One-Person Band
    17. Convergence
    18. Quality Suffers
    19. Summary
    20. Review Questions
    21. Exercises
  21. 12 Covering Planned Events
    1. News Conferences
      1. Hard Questions
    2. Local Government
    3. Political Campaigns
      1. Putting Comments into Perspective
    4. Feature Stories
    5. Summary
    6. Review Questions
    7. Exercises
  22. 13 Reporting Live
    1. Organizing Thoughts
    2. Ad-Libbing
    3. The Challenges of Electronic News Gathering
    4. Keeping Cool
    5. Memorizing and Delivering Live Reports
    6. Changing Lens Shots
    7. Summary
    8. Review Questions
    9. Exercises
  23. 14 Putting the Television Story Together
    1. The Package
      1. At the Scene
      2. Taking Notes
      3. Opening the Story
      4. Good Pictures
      5. Good Writing
      6. Organizing the Story
      7. Selecting Sound
      8. Working with the Video Editor
    2. The Voiceover
    3. The Voiceover-Sound on Tape
    4. Reporter Involvement
    5. Summary
    6. Review Questions
    7. Exercises
  24. 15 The Interview
    1. Preparing for the Interview
    2. Phrasing Questions Carefully
    3. Avoiding Leading Questions
    4. Listening Carefully
    5. Warming Up the Head
    6. The Tough Questions
    7. The Surprise Questions
    8. Questions to Ask Before the Interview
    9. Keeping Control of the Interview
    10. Asking Enough Questions
    11. “Did I Forget Something?”
    12. Off the Record
    13. Curbing Nods and Smiles
    14. The Phone Interview
    15. Checking Facts
    16. Some Other Tips
    17. Check out Charlie
    18. Summary
    19. Review Questions
    20. Exercises
  25. 16 Collecting Information from Documents
    1. Public Records and the “Sunshine Laws”
      1. Filing an FOIA Request
      2. Supporting Video
      3. A Neglected Tool
      4. The Privacy Act
    2. Government Reports
    3. Business Publications and Indexes
    4. Trade Publications
    5. Database Services
      1. Great for Running Stories
    6. Other Public Files
      1. Police Records
      2. Court Records
      3. Birth and Death Records
      4. Licenses
      5. Land Records
      6. Financial Records
      7. Tax Records
      8. City Directories
    7. Summary
    8. Review Questions
    9. Exercises
  26. 17 Computer-Assisted Reporting for Broadcast by Brant Houston
    1. The Three Basic Tools
    2. Online Resources
      1. Search Engines and Guides
      2. Finding People
      3. Backgrounding Businesses
      4. Information on Disasters
      5. Covering Beats
      6. Downloading Databases
    3. Spreadsheets
      1. Using Downloaded Data
    4. Database Managers
      1. Searching
      2. Summarizing
      3. Comparing and Matching
      4. Building Your Own Database
      5. Acquiring Data
      6. CAR Stories
    5. Resources Needed
    6. Summary
    7. Review Questions
    8. Exercises
  27. 18 Developing Sources
    1. Tips
    2. Confidentiality
    3. Accuracy of Sources
    4. Gaining Confidence
    5. Making Friends
    6. Leaks
      1. The Clarence Thomas Case
    7. Trial Balloons
    8. Authoritative or Informed Sources
    9. Background Briefings
    10. Summary
    11. Review Questions
    12. Exercises
  28. 19 Specialty Reporting
    1. Investigative Reporting
      1. The Salt Lake City Scandal
    2. Environmental Reporting
    3. Business Reporting
    4. Health and Medical Reporting
    5. Consumer Reporting
    6. Sports Reporting
    7. Weather Reporting
    8. Summary
    9. Review Questions
    10. Exercises
  29. 20 Ethics
    1. Objectivity: Does the Media Have a Bias?
      1. Is the Bias to the Left or the Right?
    2. Gratuities
    3. Conflict of Interest
    4. Accuracy and Responsibility
    5. The Jason Blair Scandal
    6. USA Today Also Has a Major Scandal
    7. Libel
    8. Defenses
    9. False Light
    10. Boundaries
    11. Controversial Techniques
    12. Hidden Cameras and Microphones
    13. Case Studies Involving Ethical Issues
      1. Case Study 1: A Mercy Killing on TV
      2. Case Study 2: Food Lion Sues ABC
      3. Case Study 3: ABC Stings the Cops
      4. Case Study 4: CNN Retracts Its Story
      5. Case Study 5: CBS News Also Retracts a Story
    14. Other Stories That Backfired
    15. Ambush Interviews
    16. Reenactments
    17. Crime-Stoppers
    18. Staging
      1. Dateline Rigs a Truck
      2. CBS Also Blows Up a Truck
    19. “Unnatural” Sound
    20. Video Deception
    21. Improper Editing
    22. Avoiding Jump Cuts
    23. Inflating the News
    24. Will the Real Reporter Please Stand Up?
    25. Summary
    26. Review Questions
    27. Exercises
  30. 21 More Ethical Issues
    1. Cameras in the Courtroom
      1. Pros and Cons
      2. Do Cameras Influence Witnesses?
    2. The Fourth Amendment
      1. Don Hewitt Has Second Thoughts
      2. Supreme Court Eases Rules—A Bit
      3. Checkbook Journalism
    3. The Fairness Doctrine
    4. Invasion of Privacy
    5. Civic Journalism
    6. Summary
    7. Review Questions
    8. Exercises
  31. 22 Tabloid Journalism
    1. The Clinton-Lewinsky Scandal
      1. Unconfirmed Reports Abound
      2. Many Ways of Saying the Source Is Unreliable
      3. White House Scolds The Wall Street Journal
    2. Media Gripped by Sniper Obsession
    3. The JonBenét Ramsey Murder Case
    4. A Young Congressional Intern Dies and a Congressman Loses His Job
    5. A Star Pro Basketball Player Is Accused of Sexual Assault
    6. Are News Standards Dwindling?
  32. 23 Producing
    1. The Producers
      1. The Executive Producer
      2. The Line Producer (Show Producer)
      3. Associate Producers
      4. Field Producers
    2. The Staff Meetings
    3. A Busy News City
    4. Who’s the Real Boss?
    5. The Golden People
    6. Philosophy
    7. Ethics
    8. The Rundown (Lineup)
    9. Peaks and Valleys
    10. Rhythm and Flow
    11. A Difference of Opinion
    12. More Producing Tips
    13. Producers Need Good Writing Skills
    14. Enthusiasm
    15. Energy
    16. Still Pictures
    17. Live Shots
    18. Back Timing
    19. Bright Future
    20. Summary
    21. Review Questions
    22. Exercises
  33. 24 Using the Hardware
    1. Checking the Equipment
      1. Batteries and AC Power
      2. Tripods
      3. Earphones
      4. Filters
      5. White Balancing
      6. Mixed Light
      7. Focusing
      8. Time Coding
    2. Shooting Techniques
      1. Cover Footage
      2. Establishing Shots
      3. Sequential Shooting
      4. Shooting Enough Footage
    3. Recording Natural Sound
    4. Videophone Technology
  34. 25 The Job Search in a Changing Industry
    1. The Future of Broadcast News
    2. The New Players Demise of Radio News
    3. Getting Started
    4. “The Corn Fields”
    5. Education Is Essential
    6. The Job Search
    7. The Résumé
    8. References
    9. Cover Letters
    10. Writing Tests
    11. The Job Interview
    12. Minority Opportunities
    13. Some Final Words
  35. Glossary
  36. Index