2nd Yr Journalism Radio Week 1

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  • 1. BA Level 2 Radio Journalism Week 1 What makes good broadcast journalism? Pre-session reading: Making Radio, Michael Kaye and Andy Popperwell (Brunel library PN 1991.75 K38) PP 11-15 Rosemary Hortsmann, Writing for Radio, (Brunel Library PN 1991.7H67) pp1-23, 64-70 A Boyd, Broadcast Journalism: techniques of Radio and TV News, pp 56-71
  • 2. What we’re going to cover  Radio journalism – news and current affairs  Writing for radio and with pictures  Recording and editing audio  Interview techniques - Setting up interviews, preparation and recording.; soundbites; short interviews and longer interviews; recording and editing interviews; recording and editing vox pops.  Using sound – in news and in feature packages  Practical exercises in feature and news package making  Voice training – presenting news and voicing packages  Putting together illustrated news bulletins.  Making a radio feature/package
  • 3. Why radio?  One text on radio production says “Radio is the media genie, small enough to fit into a bottle, big enough to cover continents” (Kaye and Popperwell). It can be done simply but still well or with huge sophistication. Audience can range from a few dozen to millions.  It can be a lifeline in conflict areas, a link to the wider world for remote communities, a link between peoples and nations or more ominously a medium of hate and incitement.  It still provides news, information and entertainment, despite the rise and growing dominance of the internet – after all most web pages now have direct radio or audio links and podcasting relies heavily on replaying radio output.  You can receive radio from across continents with a tiny radio and a battery or even a wind-up radio – you don’t need complicated or expensive kit and you don’t even have to be able to read – it is a lifeline not just for the remote, but also for those deprived of education.  You can listen while you work, in the car, in the shower – radio is in many ways more immediate and even intrusive than other forms of journalistic delivery because you don’t have to stop what you are doing.
  • 4. How does it work 1 Good vibrations - Good Vibrations Radio works by vibration – your vocal chords vibrate as you speak and create sound waves, these are converted by a microphone into electronic form. This form is recorded or replayed in digitised form.
  • 5. How does it work 2  Recorded or live speech can be increased in loudness, softened, have low and high frequency interference removed through a mixing desk and can be mixed with other sounds from digital files, CDs, radio, TV or other voices. The final sound from the mixing desk is relayed by cable to the transmitter and transmitted as sound waves.  These waves can be in long, medium or short wave amplitude modulation (AM) or very high frequency (frequency modulation – FM).  Sound waves are vibrations in the air. They are broadcast in frequencies or wavelengths (the two mean the same thing). Long wave is a low frequency that will travel several hundred miles; medium wave will travel one or two hundred miles ; short wave and FM about 50 miles. But short wave can be bounced off the ionosphere and travel hundreds of miles. But short wave has the downside of lower sound quality via the receiver. DAB is a digital format bounced off satellites and back to radios.  The higher the frequency – so the higher the number of cycles of sound waves per second – the higher the quality. It’s the same principle as with pixels in digital photography – the more pixels and the sharper the picture.
  • 6. What makes good radio?  Above all – like any form of journalism – it is the quality of the content. For decades, the BBC World Service was the dominant global broadcaster – even though it was on short-wave so sound quality was poor – because of the reliability of its news, the quality of its journalism and entertainment and the breadth and depth of its programming.  But as first higher quality AM and then FM and DAB came on stream, the quality of content had increasingly to be matched by higher quality sound and more sophisticated and complex use of a variety of audio material to supplement speech.  Increasing local, national and international competition from a variety of stations, genres, specialisations and with varying target audiences have changed the radio market globally and nationally. There is more choice, there is better quality and broadcasters (like the BBC or other national broadcasters) can no longer expect to have the undivided loyalties of listeners.  This means that while broadcasters can afford to do so, there is a proliferation of stations with the vast majority aiming at niche audiences – talk radio, sport, a massive variety of music genres, news etc.
  • 7. Good radio – examples  Radio Luxy 024  Clip from W Service - http://www.bbc.co.uk/mediaselector/check/wo rldservice/meta/tx/twt?size=au&bgc=003399 &lang=en-ws&nbram=1&nbwm=1&ls=411  Radio Four  Test Match special  XFM – from e-mail  Classic FM - http://www.classicfm.co.uk/Default.asp
  • 8. Radio journalism  The same principles of accuracy, balance, fairness, impartiality and relevance apply to radio or video journalism as to print journalism.  The major difference is that you are writing for the ear and not for the eye. What you write is heard – often only once – and not read. So the first principle is to ensure that what you write is clear and can be read clearly.  So avoid too much alliteration – it can be very hard for you to read or for a presenter/newsreader to read.  Think about your audience – what style of presentation, news delivery, speech are they expecting? Are they listening in their first language; with they understand colloquialisms and slang; age range; what knowledge can you presume; attention span?
  • 9. Practical exercise Take newspaper reports and re-write for a radio audience. Draw up a radio bulletin from Guardian, Telegraph and Times – rewrite for a Radio Four audience, IRN style news for Capital, XFM, Kiss etc Get one or more of group to be newsreader and to read out – will record and listen.
  • 10. Assignment  Take any 3 stories from the newspapers (nothing we’ve used today) and re-write in the radio news style of your choice (IRN/Sky, Radio Four, Radio Five, World Service etc).  Each story should be a maximum of 35 seconds long when read out at normal reading speed.  Always read out aloud before submitting final version.  Bring the stories to the next session already printed out as you’ll need to read them out.  Reading ahead of next week: Mervin Block pages, Writing for Broadcast News, 1-45