This instrument can teach, it
can illuminate; yes, and it can
inspire. But it can only do so
to the extent that humans are
determined to use it to those
ends. Otherwise it is merely
wires and lights in a box.
One of the basic problems with
radio and television is that both
instruments have grown up in
an incompatible combination of
show business, advertising
and news... And when you get
all three under one roof, the
dust never settles.
Print vs. Broadcast
• More immediate
• Lacks depth
• Written for ear, not eye
• Longer sentences
• More words, details
• Not as conversational
• Attributes more often
• Uses parenthetical phrases
• Gives precise numbers
• Uses direct quotes
• Constructed in inverted pyramid
• Shorter sentences
• Fewer words, details
• More conversational
• Attribute less often
• Avoid parenthetical phrases
• Rounds off numbers
• Rarely uses direct quotes
• Stories constructed with a
beginning, middle, end
Writing for broadcast
• Preference for active voice
• Preference for present tense
• Attribution before assertion
• Short, direct sentences
• No abbreviations
• Symbols, numbers spelled out
Some form of “to be”
Is, was, were, be, being, been
The receiver of the verb’s action is preceded
by the verb
The actor of the action is often at the end of
Advantages of active voice
Straight line meaning
More interesting copy
Order of preference
The city council will vote on the ban tomorrow
The hurricane is battering the coast
The president has resigned
The president resigned
Attribution before assertion
The election is tomorrow,
the mayor said.
The mayor says the election is
• Governor Smith, who is 46 years old, the
father of two, and a published author, is
running for a third term.
• Governor Smith is running for a third term.
Basic scripting rules
• Upper case
Use only one side
• No dateline
One story per
• End mark # # #
• Break at natural
point if story carries over
to the next page
Broadcast writing rules
• Phonetic spellings
• Cairo (KAY-rho), Illinois
• Eliminate abbreviations
• Except common ones, like YMCA, Dr. Mrs., U-N, etc.
• Titles precede names
Broadcast writing rules
• Use st, rd, and nd after dates, addresses,
and numbers to be read as ordinals
• 2nd Avenue, 16th Street, etc.
• Set off quotes which phrases such as:
• “in these words...”
• “as she put it...”
• Avoid “quote” and “end quote”
• Spell out numbers one through eleven
• Translate other amounts into digits and words
• Never $12,000,000.00
• Better: 12-million dollars
• Use thousands, millions, billions, trillions
• Avoid dollar & cents signs, decimal points
• Round out complex numbers
CRABB, Texas (AP) Voters in this farming community Saturday
overwhelmingly rejected a plan to incorporate, a move the town’s
12-year-old mayor had sought to prevent annexation by
“It’s back to the drawing board,” frowning Mayor Brian
Zimmerman said after the 595-30 vote against incorporation,
which also allowed him to keep his job.
Only 33 percent of the 1,911 eligible voters cast ballots, and
Zimmerman wasn’t among them because of his age.
Although failing in his campaign promise of incorporation,
Zimmerman gets to retain his title as mayor. He said he doesn’t
plan to give up on incorporation.
When Zimmerman, then 11, was elected mayor in an unofficial
election in September, he vowed to put Crabb on the map by
Incorporation, he said, would prevent adjacent cities such as
Richmond, Rosenberg and especially Houston from annexing it.
Crabb is about 20 miles south of Houston.
(CRABB, TEXAS) – EFFORTS BY THE 12-YEAR-OLD MAYOR OF
CRABB, TEXAS, TO INCORPORATE THE COMMUNITY HAVE FAILED
BUT HE SAYS HE DOESN’T PLAN TO GIVE UP ON
THE MAYOR PUT IT THIS WAY: “IT’S BACK TO THE DRAWING
MAYOR BRIAN ZIMMERMAN, WHO WAS ELECTED WHEN HE WAS
11 YEARS OLD,VOWED TO PUT CRABB ON THE MAP BY SEEKING
INCORPORATION. HE SAID IT WOULD PREVENT NEIGHBORING
CITIES – INCLUDING HOUSTON – FROM ANNEXING IT.
ABOUT ONE-THIRD OF CRABB’S NEARLY 2,000 ELIGIBLE VOTERS
CAST BALLOTS. ZIMMERMAN WAS NOT ONE OF THEM …. HE’S
NOT OLD ENOUGH.
THE YOUNG MAYOR DID NOT LIVE UP TO HIS CAMPAIGN PROMISE
OF INCORPORATIONN. BUT THE LANDSLIDE VOTE AGAINST
INCORPORATION DOES HAVE ONE POSITIVE EFFECT –
ZIMMERMAN GETS TO KEEP HIS JOB.
PROVO, Utah – A 31-year-old woman was stabbed and
robbed Friday morning in downtown Provo, police said.
Shortly before 11 a.m. Friday, the victim was walking down an
alley to the south of the 600 block of Park Avenue, said police
Sgt. Andrew Wheeler.
Two teen-agers accosted her and demanded money, Wheeler
said. She told them she had no money so one of them stabbed
her twice in the leg, he said.
The teens then took an undisclosed amount of cash from the
woman and fled west down the alley on foot, Wheeler said.
POLICE ARE LOOKING FOR TWO TEEN• PROVOWHO STABBED AND ROBBED A THRITYAGERS
THE VICTIM WAS WALKING DOWN AN ALLEY
• TO THE SOUTH OF THE SIX HUNDRED BLOCK
OF PARK AVENUE SHORTLY BEFORE ELEVEN A.M.
• SHE SAID SHE HADSTABBED THETHEN THEY
TOOK HER MONEY AND FLED EAST DOWN THE
ALLEY ON FOOT.
PROVO, Utah – A partially devoured woman’s body was found
early Saturday in the outdoor lion enclosure at the Provo City
Zoo. A zoo official said two lions were in the enclosure at the
Police Department spokesman Sergeant Joe Gentile said the
cause of death had not been established. The woman was not
A zookeeper discovered the body at about 7 a.m. He coaxed
the animals back into the lion house and called police.
A spokesman for the zoo, Marc Bretzfelder, said the dead
woman was not a zoo employee.
• PROVO CITY ZOO WORKERS FOUND A
PARTIALLY DEVOURED WOMAN’S BODY IN AN
OUTDOOR LION ENCLOSURE.
A ZOOKEEPER FOUND THE UNIDENTIFIED
WOMAN AT 7 A.M. SATURDAY. HE COAXED THE
TWO LIONS BACK INTO THE LION HOUSE AND
A POLICE SPOKESMAN SAYS THE CAUSE OF
DEATH HAS NOT BEEN ESTABLISHED. THE VICTIM
WAS NOT A ZOO EMPLOYEE.
PROVO, Utah Thieves have stolen seven Picasso
• paintings worth–more than $40 million from BYU’s
Museum of Art, police said today.
Provo police said the break-in
• weekend through the basementoccurred over the
of a neighboring
• andpolice statement said tow works, “Seated Woman,”
“Christ of Montmarte,” were the most valuable of
the paintings stolen. Both paintings were stolen in
1991 from a Zurich gallery and were recovered the
• POLICE IN PROVO, UTAH, ARE LOOKING
FOR SEVEN PICASSO PAINTINGS. THIEVES
GRABBED THEM FROM AN ART GALLERY
OVER THE WEEKEND.
FAMOUS PAINTINGS ARE
• THE MOST“SEATED WOMAN,” AND “CHRIST
OF MONTEMARTE’ (MONT – Mar – Tay)–
BOTH RECOVERED FROM A PREVIOUS
THEFT IN 1991 FROM A ZURICH GALLERY.
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