Three ways to instantly improve your newswriting
Writing for broadcast news, writing for radio, writing to pictures: they’re all an art unto themselves, and personally for me, one of the great pleasures of my job.
But on a busy newsdesk you often come across bland, unimaginative cues, written by the ‘churnalists’ at IRN or Sky, or BBC’s GNS (General News Service)
You shouldn’t be in the business of putting to air/online rubbish copy, but with the top of the hour looming it’s not always that easy. So…
3 ways to instantly spice up your copy
01. Put it in the now
I often end up changing copy with phrases like “Captain America saved the day today”; Problem: it’s in the past tense. News is about the now. So the topline MUST be in the present tense: “Captain America’s saving the day” or “Captain America’s been saving the day” if it’s nearing the end. A simple grammatical change makes a big difference.
02. Make it personal
Broadcast news scripts are written to be spoken – so make sure it sounds like you’d say it. And that can just involve changing some words: “to improve the nation’s health” –> “to make us all feel better”. Adding ‘you’ or ‘us’ adds a quick personal touch.
03. Ban bad words
The following words should be removed immediately: councillors, council, local authority, multi-agency partnership, initiative, funding, finance…the list goes on (add your own below)
There you go – if you need a tight fresh script, but are short on time, these three steps should cut out the crap.