Course Module: 
Convergent Journalism 2
MA Practical Multimedia Journalism

 

 

 

 

 

WRITING FOR RADIO

 

 

Radio listeners only get one chance to understand the story - and they may be hearing it against a background of distractions. Your challenge is to grab their attention and sell your story to them. Here are some guidelines:

 

 

DECIDE: What is the story? If you don’t understand it, the listener

               surely won’t. Try turning away from the press release  or notes

               and telling the  story to somebody in your own words.

 

SELL:    Your top line must be short, punchy and ear-catching. It must

               contain the key point of the story. Think of the tip of a

               pyramid.

 

GUIDE:   Now keep the listener with you - follow the story through

               logically – as the pyramid widens. Use clear language and short

               sentences.

 

 

REMEMBER the key journalistic principles: Who, what, when, where, why and how?

 

AND the KISS principles - Keep It Short and Simple….

 

·    Don’t use a long word when a short one will do

·    Keep to one thought per sentence

·    Avoid too much detail in one line - sprinkle essentials through the copy

·    Use plain English - and avoid adjectives

·    Avoid sub-clauses and inverted sentences

·    ACCURACY is vital

 

Tell them the story...........

 

·    Be conversational - use contractions: it’s, they’ll, won’t

·    Keep to the present tense where possible - news is now…

·    Use active not passive constructions: “says” not “has said”

·    Are Governments and councils singular or plural? Decide

     which then stick to it

·    Avoid direct quotes - they’re hard to put across

·    Avoid repetition of words - find alternatives

 

 

 

 

BEWARE..........BEWARE.........BEWARE

 

·    Dating - the word “yesterday” should never appear in the top

     line

·    Figures - round them up, use simple fractions and percentages.

    Try to use analogies: “twice as much”.

·    Titles - try to paraphrase them. And always use the definite

     article: “The London Mayor Boris Johnson” not “London Mayor Boris Johnson….”

·    Cliches, jargon and officialese - leave them out

·    BIAS - always attribute and never use a viewpoint as a

     statement

·    Ensure your story doesn’t sound like a press release. “The Council says its new scheme should ensure tenants get a better deal…….” Rather than “The Council’s new scheme will ensure tenants get a better deal……..” They would say that wouldn’t they?

 

 

PRACTISE para-phrasing. Don’t accept the long-winded press release or agency copy provided for you. When you’re not under frantic time-pressure, simplify, streamline, cut back the wordage. Once you’re in the habit, it will come more easily when you ARE under time pressure. 

 

 

AND FINALLY.......QUALITY CONTROL

 

When you’ve finished always check your work by reading it through - out loud. This helps you avoid repetition and ensures your work makes sense. It also helps check spelling, grammar and typing.

 

 

 

 

 

HAPPY WRITING!

 

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

Student Access: 
Year 1
Year 2
Year 3
Postgraduate
Convergent block: 
Radio

RADIO 2 Writing for Radio session by Sarah Fuller module notes. Powerpoint attached.