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FUNDAMENTALS OF WRITING NEWS FOR RADIO I:Language

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Radio News, Reporting and Production ­ MCM515
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LESSON 28
FUNDAMENTALS OF WRITING NEWS FOR RADIO I
Writing news for radio is a different task; different from the way employed for writing news for newspaper
or television. While writing for radio following fundamentals must be kept in mind.
1. News for Once only
Since newspaper can be read for many times a day and it is something that can be picked up for confirming
or re-reading news stories whenever one feels like. But this is not the case with radio news. Radio news
bulletin goes on air once only. That is why the radio news must be written in such a way that the listener
may be able to understand and grasp the contents of the news when he/she listens to it.
2. Language
It has been mentioned time and again that the radio is a medium that is meant for ears and not for eyes.
Radio is a verbal communication medium and the language to be used for knitting radio content must be
spoken, easy and colloquial.
3. Avoid Written Expression
Though what is put on air on radio is first, in most of cases, written on paper and then put on air by the
newscaster, but the way the message is written must not be in written expression. The example given below
will explain the difference between written and spoken expressions.
Written Expression
``The government,'' said the opposition leader, ``had created the problems.''
The same sentence when read out may take the following shape conveying altogether opposite sense.
The government said, "The opposition leader had created problems."
Expression for Radio
The opposition leader said that the government had created the problems.
4. Avoid Literary Expression
Literary expression has its own tone and style and is different from journalistic language so must not be
used for print or electronic media.
Literary Expression
Sweet are the fruits of adversity.
Expression for Radio
The fruits of adversity are sweet.
Literary Expression
Kuchh huvaa yoon k donon kaideen ki mulakat Karachi mein hui.
Expression for Radio
Dono kaideen ki mulakat Karachi mein hui.
5. Avoid Inverted Sentences
Because of heavy rainfall, which came yesterday, the city life was jammed.
Radio Expression
Yesterday it rained heavily and it jammed the city life.
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Radio News, Reporting and Production ­ MCM515
VU
6. Avoid Parenthesis
A man, basically a taxi driver, overran a pedestrian.
Radio Expression
A taxi driver overran a pedestrian.
7. Avoid Jargons
Jargons, as has been explained, are specific terms and terminologies which only the experts or the related
people of a field can understand. Since radio addresses an ordinary person as well so chances are there that
an ordinary person may not get the meaning of the word. These kinds of terms must be communicated
through there colloquial equivalents.
For instance;
Spinal chord=back bone
Inflation=price hike
Jargons, if necessary, then must be simplified.
For instance;
Hydrophobia = extreme fear of water
Kleptomania = a mental illness in which somebody has a strong desire to steal things.
Schizophrenia= a mental illness in which a person becomes unable to link thought, emotion and behavior
that leads to withdrawal from reality and personal relationships.
8. Use familiar words
Heavy vocabulary is not encouraged even in written or literary styles. A good news writer, especially when
writing for radio, must avoid using difficult words and replace them with easy ones.
Some example difficult words with their respective substitutes are as under:
Difficult words
Substitutes
Remonstrate
Argue
To be in Jeopardy
To be in danger
Obliterate
Destroy
Plausible
Understandable
Antagonistic
Against
Loquacious
Talkative
Veracious
Truthful
Abrogate
Cancel
Penury
Poverty
9. Use of Contractions
Since while reading out news bulletin, the news caster gives an impression as if he/she is talking to the
listeners, and in conversational style, the contractions of the following expressions are used unless stress is
needed to be given, the news must be written by using the contractions.
Is not
Isn't
Are not
Aren't
Was not
Wasn't
Were not
Weren't
Will not
Won't
Would not
Wouldn't
Should not
Shouldn't
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Radio News, Reporting and Production ­ MCM515
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May not
Mayn't
Might not
Mightn't
Can not
Can't
Could not
Couldn't
Has not
Hasn't
Have not
Haven't
Had not
Hadn't
10. Abbreviations
·
Avoid abbreviations especially names of the states, countries, religious titles, months, military
designations, holy books etc. For instance, LHR (Lahore), PUN (Punjab), C-in-C (Commander in
Chief)
·
If necessary write with hyphens. F-B-I , Y-M-C-A, U-N, C-N-N, B-B-C
·
Don't use symbols. For example "#" for number, "&" for and, "@" for at, etc.
11. Capitalization
Capitalize generously especially all proper nouns, anything that is important.
12. Avoid Quotations
The exact statements of newsmakers can go in newspaper but should be avoided in radio news bulletin. The
reason behind is, since the news written for radio is to be read out by a newscaster, he can not readout
commas or columns. Commas and columns are used in written expressions and a reader after looking at a
sentence within commas instantly comes to know that what is given between the commas is an exact
statement of the person, the news is about. As far as radio is concerned, a news caster can not read out a
sentence in this way.
Written sentence
President said, "New dams are inevitable for the prosperity of Pakistan".
When spoken, becomes
President said commas begin new dams are inevitable for the prosperity of Pakistan commas close.
Prefer indirect speech
The above sentence, when written in indirect speech, will be like this:
The president said that the new dams are inevitable for the prosperity of Pakistan.
13. Avoid Punctuations
In written expressions comma denotes a pause and full stop denotes the end of the sentence, where as
when you are writing for radio you must avoid supplying the sentence with commas and full stops.
In radio scripts, where there a comma is needed, a slash (/) is supplied and where there a full stop is needed
two slashes (//) are inserted.
(/) one slash denotes a pause.
(//) two slashes denote full stop.
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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