Whitaker, Ramsey & Smith (2012, p.229) says “Writing copy for radio and television news and for organisational broadcast media used in public relations is both more difficult than it seems and easier than it looks”.
Broadcast copy is written for the ear not the eye. Which means the listener or viewer must absorb the information as it is presented, or they will miss the story.
What are the key differences between writing for broadcast and print- based media?
- Radio and TV stories are designed to be spoken over the air, opposed to print media is to be read. The listener does not have the opportunity to return to something that was missed.
- Tight writing is a must. Learn to write to length. The writing is presented in a tight time frame opposed to print copy able to be read at leisure.
- “Write as you speak”, write conversationally and explain complex events in understandable language.
- Complex or obscure words are written with pronouncers in brackets, so the reader can pronounce the words properly.
- Rule of 20. Each syllable in a sentence may run and still be easily understood. However not every sentence should be the same length.
Whitaker, W, Ramsey, J & Smith, R 2012, Media writing: Print, broadcast, and public relations, 4th edn, Routledge, New York, NY.