Chapter 19
Writing for Broadcast

Broadcast writing examples

elow are four examples of the kind of writing we will be doing in this section of the course. The four examples are broadcast news stories from National Public Radio.

Read these examples carefully and note particularly the short sentences and simple, straightforward language that is used.

Another thing to note is story length. While a couple of stories are somewhat longer than normal broacast news stories, they are considerably shorter than most inverted pyramid news stories written for print. That doesn't mean they were easier to write, however. In a broadcast news story, every word has to be carefully considered and must pull its weight.

Ex-Nurse Convicted of Indiana Hospital Deaths

An Indiana jury convicted former nurse Orville Lynn Majors on Sunday of killing six hospital patients by giving them lethal injections. Jurors told the judge they could not reach a verdict on a seventh murder count.

The patients all died within 13 months at Vermillion County Hospital in western Indiana, where Majors was employed. Prosecutors, who built their case around the fact that Majors was present -- and often alone -- when each patient died, say Majors delivered fatal injections of potassium chloride or epinephrine in order to kill the patients. They also found quantities of those at his home and in his van. But Majors maintained that the patients died of whatever illnesses brought them to the hospital. The judge did not allow prosecutors to use studies that linked Majors to as many as 130 other deaths at the hospital, fearing the trial would become bogged down.

Majors, 38, faces life in prison for the crime. (National Public Radio)

Hurricane Irene Heads Northward

With winds topping 75 miles per hour, Hurricane Irene Sunday night battered the Carolinas as the storm headed northward up the Atlantic coast of the United States.

Several counties issued evacuation orders as forecasters predicted three to five inches of rain from the storm. Irene's rain, flooding and power outages are creating extra concern to regions still recovering from Hurricane Floyd.

The Category One storm blew through Florida Friday and Saturday, dumping more than a foot of rain and leaving at least eight people dead. The flooding prompted President Bill Clinton to declare a federal emergency in dozens of counties. (National Public Radio)

How long does it take you to read this story aloud?

What would it take to get this story down to 30 seconds?

U.S.-Russia Nuclear Talks

New talks are underway between the United States and Russia on ways to guard against nuclear attacks by rogue states such as India, Pakistan, North Korea and Iran.

The discussions, confirmed Sunday by the White House, are focusing on modifying the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty. The agreement bans development of large-scale anti-missile systems, but the Clinton administration wants the accord changed so it can create a National Missile Defense System.

One trade-off reportedly being considered is an offer by the United States to help Russia develop its own anti-missile radar systems. The White House would not confirm or deny rumors that such an option is being discussed. (National Public Radio)

Another Black Monday Ahead?

Traders will be anxiously watching Wall Street to see what the stock market does Monday following a sharp slide last week.

Stocks lost nearly 6 percent, their biggest weekly drop in 10 years. The drop prompted concern among traders that the drop is following a pattern set 12 years ago during the 1987 market crash. Then, the market was swayed by strong oil prices, a weakening U.S. dollar and rich stock market valuations -- conditions that also exist today as the anniversary of Black Monday approaches . Investors were frightened Friday after the U.S. government reported that prices at the wholesale level jumped 1.1 percent in September, the largest increase in nine years. The market was also upset by comments Thursday night by Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan, who said he remains concerned about the high price of stocks. Greenspan suggested banks set aside more money as insurance in the event of a major financial downturn.

Analysts said investors are becoming increasingly concerned that the Fed may raise interest rates even before its next meeting on November 16. (National Public Radio)

Is anything in this story unnecessary?

Could you edit this so that someone could read it aloud in 30 seconds?

Should the writer have used the names of the drugs in the second paragraph because of the difficulty a reader might have in pronouncing them?

Section I | 1: News and Society  |  2: Culture of Journalism  |  3: Becoming a Journalist
Section II  |  4: Newspapers  |  5: Magazines  |  6: Television and Radio  |  7: News Web Sites
Section III  |  8: Reporters  |  9: Reporting  |  10: Writing news and features  |  11: Style  | 
12: Editors13: Editing and headline writing  |  14: Visual Journalists  |
  15: Graphics Journalism  |  16: Photojournalism  |  17: Publication Design  |
  18: Broadcasters  |  19: Writing for Broadcast
Section IV  |  20: Beginnings of Journalism  |  21: Journalism Comes of Age  | 
22: New Realities, New Journalism  |   23: 20th Century and Beyond
Section V  |  24: Law and the Journalist  |  25: Ethical Practices  |   26: Present and Future
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