Broadcast News and Writing Stylebook: 7th Edition (Paperback) book cover

Broadcast News and Writing Stylebook

7th Edition

By Robert A. Papper

Routledge

296 pages | 3 B/W Illus.

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Description

Broadcast News and Writing Stylebook is the go-to resource for writing broadcast news, offering readers the know-how to write excellent stories for television, radio, podcasts, and online media. Through clear and concise chapters, this text provides the fundamental rules of broadcast news writing, teaching readers how to craft stories on government, crime, weather, education, health, sports, and more. It covers the necessary mechanics news writers needs to know, including the nuances of reporting, grammar, style, and usage. This new seventh edition is updated with the latest on how stations incorporate online and social media strategies, as well as insights into the directions local news is headed. Author Robert Papper has over a quarter century of broadcast news and industry research experience and once again updates this vital text with the information necessary for being a successful news writer today. Also available for this edition is an Instructor’s Guide, found on the book’s webpage. Whether you’re a student seeking to learn the mechanics of successful broadcast news writing or a working professional looking for a definitive reference for your desk, Broadcast News and Writing Stylebook offers a comprehensive guide to writing for television, audio, and beyond.

Reviews

PRAISE FOR PREVIOUS EDITIONS

This book will teach you how to tell a visual story well, using all the tools. The new edition of Bob Papper's classic shines a light for the digital age and will show you the way.  

Bob Dotson, former NBC News National Correspondent and New York Times best selling author 

Papper’s text has long earned accolades as a comprehensive and engaging guide to broadcast reporting, covering everything from interviewing to ethics, from writing for the ear to writing for the eye, from effective narrative techniques to the basics of proper usage and grammar.  For those of us teaching Broadcast Journalism during these rapidly changing times in news, this new edition is a terrific addition to our teaching toolkit.

- Judy Muller, Professor, USC Annenberg School, USA

This edition has excellent tips for writing sound broadcast news copy and has now been updated with information from Papper’s outstanding surveys of the news industry, advice from professional journalists, as well as ideas on the best practices for using new technology such as drones.

-G. Stuart Smith, Professor, Hofstra University, USA

This latest edition of Papper's well-respected style manual for broadcast news comes only two years after the previous release. Papper restructured the manual to forefront fundamentals of broadcast journalism, beginning with a chapter on ethics. Modest revisions follow….The manual is strongest when it remains focused on the details of style and usage elaborated by real-world examples….While the title suggests an audience limited to students of broadcast news, the style and usage sections of the manual have value for writers of any discipline composing podcasts or other new media work.

--G. Wilsbacher, University of South Carolina

Table of Contents

1 Ethics, Legality & the RTDNA & SPJ Codes of Ethics

Ethics

Fake News and the Question of Whether Facts are Facts

Trust in the Media

Ethical Decision-Making Starts at the Top

Issues in Media Law

The Radio-Television Digital News Association (RTDNA) Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct

The SPJ Code of Ethics

Summary

Exercises

2 The Business of News

The Big Picture

Newspapers * Radio * Online * TV

The Scope of Media Use

Media Use Is More Complex Than It Used to Be

It’s Hard to Measure Media Use

Ratings

Where the Programs Come From

Where the Money Comes From

The Predicted Demise of TV

A New Model for News?

The New TV Newsroom

So Where Are We Going?

Summary

Key Words & Phrases

Exercises

3 News

What Is News?

Balancing News Values

Types of Stories

Breaking News * Planned Event Reporting * Enterprise Reporting * Investigative Reporting * Special Segment Reporting * Features

Where Story Ideas Come From

The Assignment Desk

Morning and Afternoon Meetings

Innovation in TV News

Following the News

Summary

Key Words & Phrases

Exercises

4 Digital First

Why Social Media?

Measuring Engagement and Driving Traffic

What It Means on the Ground

Think Mobile

Apps

OTT (Over the Top)

A Final Note

Summary

Key Words & Phrases

Exercises

5 Research, Collecting Information & Bites

Some Basic Terms and Concerns

Research and the Web

Interviewing

Conducting Successful Interviews

Understanding what makes good bites Plan * Listen * Technical Concerns * Make the Interviewee Comfortable * Ask Questions That Deliver What You’re After * Use Silence * Maintain Strong Eye Contact * Learn to Respond Inaudibly * Follow up and Clarify * Maintain Control * Ask for More … Twice * Make Notes Afterward * Examples of Questions that Work … to Produce Bites

Beyond the Interview

Being Human * A Closing Thought

Summary

Key Words & Phrases

Exercises

6 Readability

Broadcast News Writing

Writing for the Ear vs. Writing for the Eye

Rules of Readability

Newsroom Computer System * The Slug * The Printed Word * Hyphenation Abbreviation * Symbols * Initials and Acronyms * Names * Numbers * Ages * Emphasis n Pronouncers * Spelling

Summary

Key Words & Phrases

Exercises

7 Words

Keep It Simple

Keep It Conversational

Informal Words * Contractions * Formal Terminology People … Not Persons

Keep It Clear

Common Usage * Technical Terms * Definite and Indefinite Articles

Keep It Tight

Make It Powerful

Use Strong Nouns and Verbs * Avoid Weak Qualifiers

Get It Right

Grammar Says * Saying Too Much * Think

Common Problems

Summary

Key Words & Phrases

Exercises

8 Phrases & Phrasing

How to Say It

Voice * Tense * Clarity * Conciseness * Clauses and Phrases * Positive Phrasing * Pronouns * That * Time and Space Problems

What to Say

Title and Identifiers * Attribution * Quotations * Numbers * Race

What You Didn’t Mean to Say

Dates * Unintended Meanings * Editorials n Clichés * Sexism * Personalization

Last Note

Summary

Key Words & Phrases

Exercises

9 Sentences

Keep It Short

One Important Idea * Put People First * Keep It Simple: Subject-Verb-Object * Use Some Variety for Interest * Split Up Complex Sentences

Make It Clean, Clear and Concise

Make Every Sentence Count * Avoid Repetition n Stay Positive * Make Sense * End Strong

Last Note

Summary

Key Words & Phrases

Exercises

10 Leads & Endings

Types of Leads

Hard Main Point Lead * Soft Main Point Lead * Throwaway Lead * Umbrella Lead * Delayed or Suspense Lead * Question Lead

Figuring out the Lead

What’s the Story About? * Say Something Meaningful  n Keep It Simple * Start with New News * Focus on People * Focus on Local * Put Location in the Lead  n Be Direct and to the Point * Save the Name for Later  n Save the Day and Date for Later * Update Leads  n Responsibility  n Above All … Get It Right

Types of Endings

Future Ramification Close * Summary Point Close  n Information Close * Opposition Point of View Close  n Punch Line

Summary

Key Words & Phrases

Exercises

11 Stories

Stories Are Like Music

Plan and Focus

Why Run the Story? * Do You Understand? * What’s the Story About?2 * What’s the Lead? * In What Order Do You Tell the Story?

Story Logic

Handling the Basics * Will It Stand on Its Own?  n Answer the Logical Questions

Story Structure

Make the Writing Structure Interesting

Transitions

Within Stories * Between Stories

Before You’re Done

Does the Story Support the Lead? * Will the Audience Understand? * Use Humor Sparingly * Read the Story Aloud

Summary

Key Words & Phrases

Exercises

12 Working with Bites, Actualities & Natural Sound

The Feel of Natural Sound

Natural Sound as Pacing and Punctuation

Working with Bites, Actualities and Natural Sound

Don’t Stop the Story * Don’t Repeat * Watch out for Partial Lead-Ins * Making the Story Flow * Finding the Lead-In * Television Lead-Ins * Writing out of Bites An Alternative to Traditional Bites

Packages

Writing into Packages * Introducing a Package That Starts with a Bite * Understand Where the Story Begins * Package Tags

Summary

Key Words & Phrases

Exercises

13 TV: Story Forms

Story Forms

Readers * Voiceovers * VO/SOT * Packages * Live

Putting Packages Together

Pacing * Don’t Outdate Packages

MMJ … VJ … One-Man-Band

Live Reporting

Planning * Crosstalk * Live Look

Golden Rules

Summary

Key Words & Phrases

Exercises

14 TV: Working with Pictures

The Power of the Visual Image

Working with Strong Pictures * Working without Strong Pictures

The TV Balancing Act

Use Pictures and Words for What They Do Best * Use Natural Sound and SOT * Write TV Loosely * Coordinate Words and Pictures * Visualizing the Story

Picture Cautions

Use Meaningful Pictures * Today’s Pictures * Watch Your Supers

Drones

Strong Stories Have Central Characters and a Plot

Prove Your Story

The Element of Surprise

Connecting with Truths

Care About the Story

Summary

Key Words & Phrases

Exercises

15 Producing News on TV

Overview

Audience

Audience Flow

Newscast Structure

News, Weather and Sports * Special Segments, Franchises and Features Story Repetition

Building a Local Newscast

Teases & Promos

Promotion

Tease … Don’t Tell

Make Them Care

Going Too Far

Summary

Key Words & Phrases

Exercises

16 Radio … Audio … Podcasts: Story Forms & Working with Sound

Radio Story Forms

Drawing Radio Pictures

The Words * Using Nat Sound * Listen to the Sound Quality * Putting It All Together

Podcasts

Summary

Key Words & Phrases

Exercises

17 Social Media & News

Social Media, Branding & the Reporter Workday

Do Everything

Be Everywhere … But Not Indiscriminately

Amy Wood

Use Each Social Medium for What It Does Best

Facebook

Facebook Live

Twitter

Instagram

Beyond Facebook, Twitter & Instagram

Crowdsourcing

Blogging

MMJ, Backpack Journalists and One-Man-Bands

20 Survival and Growth Tips

Taking Better Pictures

The Bottom Line

Summary

Key Words & Phrases

Exercises

The Radio-Television Digital News Association (RTDNA) Social Media and Blogging Guidelines

18 Online News

The Information Website

Content Management System (CMS)

Colleen Seitz

Constructing Web News

News on the Web * Web Design * Online Headlines * Online Stories * Online Writing Style  

Beyond Text and Pictures

Data Visualization * Charts & Graphs * Maps * Pictures * Audio * Other * Tips  

Multimedia

Mobile

Video

Podcasts

Hyperlocal News

SEO & Keywords

Other Issues

Summary

Key Words & Phrases

Exercises

19 News, Weather & Sports

Why News, Weather & Sports?

Reporting Weather

Severe Weather * Careers in Weather

Defining Weather Terms

Reporting Sports

Reporting Sports Stories * Reporting Scores * Play by Play   n Local Sports n Common Mistakes

Sports and Teams

Auto Racing * Baseball--Major Leagues * Basketball--National Basketball Association * Basketball--Women’s National Basketball Association * Boxing * Football--National Football League * Football--Canadian Football League * Golf * Hockey--National Hockey League * Soccer-- Major League Soccer Ultimate Fighting Championship--UFC

20 Reporting: Seasonal Coverage & the Calendar

Seasonal Reporting

Solar and Lunar and the World’s Major Religions

Calendar Holidays

Buddhist Holidays * Hindu Holidays * Muslim Holidays

State Holidays

21 Reporting: The GA & Specialized Coverage

The General Assignment Reporter

Business, Economy and Taxes

Top Money Terms

Crime and Legal

Attribution * Alleged * Misplaced Attribution * Cautions * Get the Terms Right * Top Crime and Legal Terms

Education

Top Education Terms

The Environment

Top Environment Terms

Geography

Major U.S. Geographic Terms * Voice of America Pronunciation Guide * Major World Geographic Terms

Government

Top Government Terms

Heath and Medicine

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care act and the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010 * HIPAA * Hospital Conditions * Top Health and Medical Terms

22 TV Script Form and Supers … Glossary

Abbreviations

Script Form

Standard Anchor Read * Standard 2-Shot * Standard Anchor Read with Gfx * Anchor with Voiceover * Anchor with VO/SOT * Anchor VO/SOT with Package Intro

Supers

Names * Location, Date and Miscellaneous

Glossary of Broadcast & Online Terms

About the Author

Robert A. Papper is Emeritus Distinguished Professor of Journalism at Hofstra University. A graduate of Columbia College and the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism, he has worked as a producer, writer and manager at television stations in Minneapolis, Washington, DC, San Francisco, and Columbus, Ohio and radio stations in Maine and Indiana. He has won both the top award in broadcast journalism (DuPontColumbia) and the top award in broadcast journalism education (Ed Bliss Award).

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
LAN004000
LANGUAGE ARTS & DISCIPLINES / Communication Studies
LAN008000
LANGUAGE ARTS & DISCIPLINES / Journalism