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Radio News Reporting and Production

FUNDAMENTALS OF NEWS WRITING:Inverted Pyramided Style, Telling the Story

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Radio News, Reporting and Production ­ MCM515
VU
LESSON 27
FUNDAMENTALS OF NEWS WRITING
The first thing which a news writer must keep in his mind while writing a news story is that the news must
be factual, objective and the language employed must not be flowery.
Inverted Pyramided Style
The main difference between news writing and other forms of prose, such as essay, short story, novel,
article, or feature, etc. is that the writers of these forms usually begin with minor details first and they first
start with comparatively insignificant details, and then develop the flow of the writing to the most
significant information by the end of the writing; whereas the news writer reverses this style. In other words
a news writer starts writing with the most significant information and the rest of the details are given near
the end of the story.
This style of news writing is called inverted pyramid style that is peculiar with news writing. The inverted
pyramid can be illustrated as following:
Most important details of a News Item
Intro (Lead-headline)
Body of the News
Least important details of a News Item
Essentials of Radio News
Lead
The lead or the headline or intro is the starting sentence of a news item. It contains the most important
features and the facts and figures of the news story. Since it is the crux or the gist of the event that is being
covered, it needs to be short, crisp, comprehensive and catchy. Keeping the interest of the listener alive
throughout the bulletin and making him wait for the detailed news, all depends upon the lead. Radio news
presentation is different from that of the newspaper in a way that in newspaper every headline is followed
by the detailed news but as far as radio is concerned, this technique is simply impossible. Here the headlines
of all the news items to be included in the bulletin are read out at the start of the bulletin and then the news
in detail goes on air. That is why writing lead for radio news bulletin requires more skill and proficiency on
the part of the news writer.
A headline is normally a brief summery of the main points of the story and must be completed within a line
comprising word not more than 48 in any way.
Body
This is the detailed version of the news item whose headline has already been read out by the start of the
news bulletin. This part of the news bulletin may contain an actuality, voicer or wrap depending upon
the requirement of the news item.
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Radio News, Reporting and Production ­ MCM515
VU
In five-minute news bulletin, however, actuality, or other insertions are not possible to be made a part of
the bulletin owing to the time restraints.
Details
While penning down the body of the news story a news writer must not forget to include any important
point of the news item. All the details must be arranged in the body.
Paragraphs
If the news item is pretty lengthy yet important, the story must be written in paragraphs. In this way the
newscaster will be at ease while reading out the news item.
Chronological order of the events
Another important thing that the news writer needs to focus is the Chronological order of the events. If
the event being covered extends to dates or different times in the same day, the chronological order is to be
maintained. It means that the different parts and portions of the same news item must be arranged
according to the order they have taken place.
Paul White (CBS News Director) Formula
The format and the style of radio news bulletin is well explained by Paul Whit who had been serving CBS
news as director. The style described by Mr. White is called Paul Whit Formula that goes like this:
"Tell them what you are going to tell them, tell them, and then tell them that you have told them."
The formula actually explains that in a radio news bulletin, first the audience must be told the head lines
(Tell them what you are going to tell them), then news in detail must be read out (tell them), and finally
the headlines once again are to be told by before the bulletin ends (and then tell them that you have told
them).
Essentials of Radio News Writing
The essentials of writing news for radio, by and large, are the same as are the essentials of writing for radio
in general. The news writer must keep the following truths in his/her mind while writing news for radio:
For ear---not for eye
First and the foremost truth about writing for radio is that you are writing for ears not for eyes. It simply
means that whatever you are going to write it will be heard and it will not be read by the audience. It is quite
obvious that the written expression is different from the spoken one and it ought to be. The content written
for radio must be spoken and lengthy sentences and difficult vocabulary must be avoided.
Telling the Story
You must write for the radio in a way that can be told not read out. Telling a story is an effective method
for writing for radio.
If you find it difficult to put your thoughts down on paper clearly and simply, use the trick of
telling someone out loud what you want to say -----------------------------------------Harris Watts, BBC.
Writing for mass audience
While writing for radio another important truth must be kept in mind that you are writing for masses, not
for the intelligentsia of your society. Communication means to convey the message in a way that the target
audience not only listen to it but also understand it. For securing this purpose it is necessary that the
message must be constructed coming to the level of the audience.
Listener's requirement is different from that of a reader.
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Table of Contents:
  1. WHAT RADIO IS:HISTORY OF RADIO, MARCONI –THE INVENTOR
  2. HISTORY OF RADIO:B.B.C. – 1922, Radio in Sub-Continent, PBC SERVICES
  3. OBJECTIVES OF BROADCASTING IN PAKISTAN:Information, Islamic ideology
  4. NEWS VALUES I:CONFLICT, PROGRESS, VICTORY AND DEFEAT
  5. NEWS VALUES II:TIMELINESS, PROXIMITY, NOVELTY, HUMAN INTEREST
  6. NEWS VALUES AND ELEMENTS OF NEWS:MISCELLANEOUS NEWS VALUES
  7. MEASURING THE IMPORTANCE OF NEWS:Intensity of an Event, NEWS STORY TYPES
  8. TYPES OF NEWS STORIES II:SIMPLE TYPES, ILLNESS, DEATH
  9. TYPES OF NEWS STORIES III:Conspiracy, Drug Trafficking, Lunar Months
  10. TYPES OF NEWS STORIES IV:COMPLEX NEWS, Forms of Government, Monarchy
  11. TYPES OF NEWS STORIES V:Education, Research, Religion
  12. TYPES OF NEWS STORIES VI:Lifestyles, Receptions, Entertainment
  13. SOURCES OF NEWS I:Network of Reporters, QUALITIES OF A REPORTER
  14. SOURCES OF NEWS II:MONITORING, NEWS/ PRESS RELEASE
  15. SOURCES OF NEWS III:National News Agencies, HARD NEWS, SOFT NEWS
  16. REPORTING:ORDER OF REPORTING, REPORTER’S QUALITIES, Well informed
  17. A SUCCESSFUL RADIO REPORTER:Briefing, Reporter’s Ammunition, Meeting Deadline
  18. INTERPRETATIVE REPORTING I:Growth of Interpretative Reporting
  19. INTERPRETATIVE REPORTING II:Factual Background, SPEECH STORY
  20. INTERPRETATIVE REPORTING III:FIRES & ACCIDENTS, CRIME STORIES
  21. INVESTIGATIVE REPORTING I:Thalidomide Scandal, Watergate Scandal
  22. INVESTIGATIVE REPORTING II:Identification of the problem, INTERVIEW
  23. TYPES OF INTERVIEW:Hard News Interview, Informational Interview
  24. ESSENTIALS OF A GOOD INTERVIEW I:Comments and Opinion, Topic must be specific
  25. ESSENTIALS OF A GOOD INTERVIEW II:Preparation of the Interview, Language
  26. RADIO NEWS GLOSSARY:Actuality, Cut, Voicer, Wrap, Hourly, Lead
  27. FUNDAMENTALS OF NEWS WRITING:Inverted Pyramided Style, Telling the Story
  28. FUNDAMENTALS OF WRITING NEWS FOR RADIO I:Language
  29. FUNDAMENTALS OF WRITING NEWS FOR RADIO II:Complex numbers
  30. ESSENTIALS OF A NEWSCASTER:Authority, Credibility, Language, Pronunciation
  31. PRODUCTION AND PLANNING:Principals of Planning a Program
  32. PRODUCER & BUDGETING:Strengths of a Radio Program, Budgeting a Program
  33. JARGONS OF PRODUCTION (Continued):Frequency spectrum, Dead studio
  34. TYPES OF TALK:Qualification of a Talker, Essentials of a talk, Vetting a talk
  35. DISCUSSION:Controlled Discussion, Live Discussion, Current affairs
  36. DISCUSSION:Selection of the TopicKnowledge of the Topic, Narrowing down the topic
  37. RADIO FEATURE:Sound Effects, Narration, Dramatic Feature, Religion, Personalities
  38. RADIO DOCUMENTARY:Commentary, History, Persons, Things, Phenomena
  39. DRAMA:Solo plays, Series, Serial, Soap, Components of Drama
  40. SPECIAL AUDIENCE PROGRAM:Children’s Programs, Women’s programs
  41. SPORTS PROGRAM:Live Programs, Recorded Programs, Preparation of OB
  42. THE MUSIC I:Folk Music, Classical Music, Light Music, Pop Music
  43. THE MUSIC II:Classification of Raga In Terms Of Notes, Aado, Khaado
  44. ETHICS & LIMITATIONS OF MEDIA:Domain of Freedom of Media, Defamation
  45. RECAP:What Radio Is, Timeliness, Elements of news, Types of Reporting, Production