Write a TV News Script

Edited by Jan Margery Castillo, Anonymous, Lynn, Eng and 23 others

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Writing a TV news script is not as easy as it might seem at first. You might think that all you need to do is cover the simple five W's and one H (who, what, where, when, why and how), but it's actually more complex than that.

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Writing a news script is structural and strict in a sense that you need to cover all the facts. However, it is also predictable because there's a certain pattern that needs to be followed.

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Parts of a News Script

Writing for a TV newscast is a challenge and it could be difficult at first. Knowing the main parts of the script will help.

  1. 1
    Introduction, or "The Readers".
    This is the first 30 seconds, an introduction read by the news anchor in the studio. It is commonly called RDR or "The Readers". There are no videos included in the script yet, only a photo of the headline and the anchorperson is seen on the TV screen.
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    1. Lead. A lead (spelled lede by journalists) is a one-line thesis statement of the report. It consists of one sentence. It introduces the main topic of the script.
    2. Five W's and one H. These are the; who, what, where, when, why and how questions. Answers to these basic questions are briefly written for the RDR and are assessed one by one in the body of the report.
    3. Writing the RDR. Since the readers or RDR only lasts for 30 seconds, it has to be substantial. But you do not need to squeeze too much of the message into one paragraph. Here is a guide on how to write the RDR:  
      1. Use simple but compelling words. The lead is the first sentence that the anchor says, so it has to be inviting. The viewers, upon hearing the lead, should be hooked to watch the whole report or segment. Use words that appeal to the senses and interests of the viewers.
      2. One thought at a time. The viewers will only hear the RDR once. It's vital to keep sentences short but clear. Limit sentences to 15 words or less because it is easier to digest and reveal the idea of the story using simple and clear information.
      3. Do not say 'quote.' If the headline is about what the President said, never use phrases such as "...and I quote". Remember that you need to give a succinct message, or it could create confusion for the viewers.
      4. Cover only the main thought of the report. Analyze the story carefully and identify what particular W questions you should provide answers to in The Readers. It may only need three W's and one H to project the story summary in the introduction.
      5. Introduce the name of the reporter. Include in the script whoever is the reporter of the story. If he is reporting live in an area, recognize that so and so is reporting live, from such and such a place in the script, and if it's an exclusive report, specify this in the script too, because the reporter deserves a credit.
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  2. 2
    Body.
    This is the meat of the report. Writing a script for the body is a bit complicated, especially if it is your first time. The technique for writing this part of the script is to digest the information mentioned in the RDR.
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    1. Components of the Body:  
      1. Videos. These are the footage caught by the videographer and reporter during the day. It may also include file videos from past news reports or from online video sharing sites.
      2. Voice Over. This is the reporter's voice reading the script as the video plays.
      3. Natural Sound. This the background noise of the location of the event or report. It may be the quietness of a night, tidal surges of the flood, or the sounds of a New Year's fireworks. These are also called "natsots".
      4. Interviews. Every report has interviews. The reporter might have gotten plenty of interviews but the interviews should be limited. Include at least two interviews in the body of the report.
      5. Piece to Camera. This is the reporter directly talking to the camera. It may be live or recorded, and can also called a "stand-up".
      6. Pictures. Pictures are used when there are important events, statistics or any factors that should be included in the report. These include sketches, screen captures from public information sites, or old photos.
    2. The news report usually has a maximum of three minutes of story-telling time. Sometimes it is less, sometimes more. The script must explain the necessary details in that time frame.
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  3. 3
    Conclusion.
    This last part of the report includes a temporary resolution to the story. Never leave the audience hanging. Always include a statement that gives a follow-up information or assurance to the viewers.
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Organization of a News Story

A story should have a smooth flow and development. There are several styles to writing a news script, but the basic organization is as follows:

  1. 1
    Introduction.
    This is a brief summary of the story and the mention of the thesis statement or lead.
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  2. 2
    Establish the Scene.
    Write the basic details that answer the questions to the five W's and one H. What is the story all about? Who are the people involved? When did it happen? What date or what time? Where is the setting? Is it a local or international issue?
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  3. 3
    Recognize the Issue.
    This is the part where you elaborate on the issue or the event. Why did it happen? What is the issue or the event about? What are the factors that made the issue arise? And how did it happen?
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  4. 4
    Addressing the Issue.
    This includes the action items that can be done. A story should present possible solutions to the problem. The script must reveal that the story is well-researched and, provide substantial information.
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  5. 5
    Follow-up.
    The story should be moving forward. There will certainly be another follow-up for the following day's event. Include in the script that the news team will continue to cover the issue.
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Proper Format in Writing a News Script

The news script is divided into two parts - the audio and the video part.

Audio

This is usually on the right side of the page. It includes everything that is heard on the report, such as the voice over, natural sound and sound bites. Here are some guidelines on how to make and choose the right audio:

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  1. 1
    The natural sound or natsots should be clear and a bit louder.
    It catches the attention of the viewer because natural sounds bridge familiarity.
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  2. 2
    Voice Over.
    The voice of the reporter must match the tone or mood of the story. If it is a tragic news report, the tone should be serious and authoritative. Good news will require a cheerful voice with lively intonations. A good voice over is clear, precise, authoritative, alive and sensitive. The voice practically describes the video. It should match what is being shown at a particular time frame.
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  3. 3
    Place sound bites on transitions.
    This serves to communicate that a new angle of the story is about to be told.
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Video

This is located on the middle part of the page and it complements the audio. What is being described in the audio must be included in the script.

Here are the steps on how to write the video part of the script:

  1. 1
    Gather the materials you need.
    Get the tapes used in shooting, prepare a pen and paper and a video camera to view the shots.
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  2. 2
    Preview the file footage and determine the important videos and dialogue of the person being interviewed.
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  3. 3
    Select the video clips you will use and jot down the time at which that specific clip appears.
    This will help the editor in cutting the video clips you need.
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  4. 4
    Describe what can be seen in the videos.
    Include it in the script to serve as a guide when finishing the story
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  5. 5
    List the basic shots in the videos.
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Timing

This is on the left side of the script and it basically includes the timing of the videos and audio. Below is an example of a news script.

Here is a sample news script:

Newsscript.jpg

Live News Reporting Script

Reporters who are reporting live from a location do not have much time to compose a detailed and well-structured script, especially when they are covering a historical event. The anchors in the studio, and the reporters on the field are exchanging details, questions and information live on television.

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It's not that easy to come up with a good script while reporting live on camera. There are times when a reporter forgets their points of discussion. The secret is focus. Remember that you are reporting for the viewers and that their concern should be your utmost priority. Ask questions as if you are the viewer. A live reporter, even under pressure, knows what the audience would want to know or ask from a report. Here are tips on how to make a good live report:

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  1. 1
    Have your own notes.
    If you are a reporter that has been sent to a location to cover a specific event or story, there won't be a researcher beside you. You need to do your own research and compose your own report. It's so much easier if you have ample time to write the report, but if not, then you will have to report the news you've gathered live on TV. Reporters often learn the hard way that their training is basically being sent to far-away areas just prove their worth. That is why it's important to take notes, and also to always see the other side of the story, and attempt to report without a specific slant.
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  2. 2
    Talk to People in Authority.
    There are subjects that are difficult or very technical to explain for a reporter, which is why a good resource person is necessary. You should familiarize yourself with people from the government, doctors, specialists, experts and other resource persons who are specialists in their fields. For more credible information, invite these specialists to be interviewed live on camera. But make sure you brief them before hand, and that you have already discussed the questions you'll ask prior to the live airing. This will help him/her be prepared.
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  3. 3
    When reporting with a co-host, listen attentively to his ideas and opinions, and react accordingly.
    You are given a partner for a good reason. A good newscast reporter also knows how to converse well with a fellow news reporter live on camera. The interaction must feel natural. Humor and wit is also important, especially when discussing light issues.
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  4. 4
    Do not lead the interviewee on.
    Your purpose is to ask questions for clarity. Let the subject lead the story buy providing the correct information. Ask follow up question according to what he/she said, but never assume. The last thing you want is to be humiliated on national TV.
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  5. 5
    Keep a balanced opinion.
    News reporters are messengers. They report based on facts and they do not necessarily interpret it according to their own biases, however, there are times that reporters add their personal views topics. This is fine, provided the views are not prejudiced.
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Questions and Answers

I am doing a news report for a class?

I've been assigned to do a news report about any recent news that I'm interested in but without a script

All you need to remember are the following:

  • Greetings.
  • The main idea of the news (example: Car Accident at Maine St.).
  • Who is involved. (example: 2 Caucasian females 23 and 25 years old)
  • The story behind it or back story. (The 23 year old just came from a party and was reportedly drunk when she was driving)
  • The final story. (they are both nun the ICU)
  • Closing statement.

See more questions like this: What topic should I write for my news report script

I need to write a news script for a project?

I've got an 11 part project due soon, and one of the parts requires my partner and I to write and record a news bit on The Tragedy of Sohrab and Rostam. We're aiming to be witty and funny if at all possible. It doesn't have a required length but we need to include details of the fight between Sohrab and Rostam.

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VisiHow QnA. This section is not written yet. Want to join in? Click EDIT to write this answer.

See more questions like this: How do I start off a script for a news broadcast

I want to write a TV script and I don't know how to start?

I am supposed to write a TV script on the discovery of an outbreak of Newcastle disease that killed thousands of poultry birds in a village, and the eradication of this disease outbreak by the use of some drugs. And then a workshop help for the farmers in that village to further educate them on this drug and how to effectively use them to prevent further outbreaks

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Please follow the guidelines in this article on how to write your TV script on the Newcastle Outbreak.

See more questions like this: Can you give us a sample script for TV broadcasting?

I need to know good techniques of preparing news scripts for television?

Am an up coming journalist I would like to get help with formatting and writing news scripts, starting from lead, to other parts of the script

You want to be as concise as possible. As you write the script, say it out loud. Edit sentences that have you running out of breath and use key words that hook the listener in. For instance instead of saying illness, use outbreak for the lead in. Have a beginning, middle and end. State the facts and keep the viewer interested all the way to the very end by not dwelling on just one fact for most of the story.

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See more questions like this: Is there a program I can download that has the template already built in for news scripts?

How can I start my news as anchor?

Our topic is all about Jose Rizal's world time so how can I start my introduction?

Jose Rizal has many famous quotes used today in general conversation. Choose one of his quotes for the lead and work the story around how that quote translates today.

See more questions like this: Can you give me a short greeting before we start the news reporting?

Basically my topic is about the standard of sport in Malaysia is declining?

So I have been given a task to be a host program to talk about my topic in five minutes. I need to record it, but the problem is I don't know how to get started with the program show. Can you please do me a favor by giving some intro?

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  • With all the needs of Malaysia facing us each day, why are we spending so much on under performing sports programs when these programs are compared to world standards?
  • Expand upon some facts about the teams or the Commonwealth Games of 2014
  • End with some of your solutions to improve the sport standards.
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Keep your talking points to no more than 650 words so that you will be able to fit the script in the five minutes allotted.

How do I start writing the introduction?

Well I am trying to write the introduction but cannot seem to get it right. How should I write it?

As stated in the great VisiHow article above, the introduction must introduce the topic of the report. It must first state what will be covered in the report, and answer the five W's and one H to give the readers, viewers, or listeners a sense of what the report will be about. Without a properly written introduction that sets up the topic and briefly explains what the report will be about, your in-depth report will be wasted on a crowd that is either confused or that has tuned your report out.

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See more questions like this: How can I introduce the cameraman?

I would like to know how to make a professional style type of script for news anchors?

I am doing a study in a debate class and an option for the debate is news anchor or news team and me and my friends are very interested in doing news. I have tried: Just googling news scripts and templates

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You can follow the templates and steps in this VisiHow article. Build the script around the debate topics, and because it is a debate, make sure to write down several scenarios and answers so you can quickly refer to your notes for an answer.

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See more questions like this: How to make an anchor script for news casting

How to write a script for a reporter role in a play?

When you write any script for any role in any play, you want to make sure that the actor behaves and speaks like the real deal. Keeping that in mind, you should follow the guidelines in the great VisiHow how-to article above to write through a script for the reporter in your play. You should also watch newscasts from the time period in which your play is set. From these time-specific newscasts, you can learn what reporters said, how they said it, so you can write the most accurate dialogue possible.

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WHAT ARE THE GUIDE QUESTIONS AS AN ANCHOR?

I AM confused, how to act as an anchor in the news ...would you help me?

The anchor is almost like a moderator for the news program. The anchor does not just read from the prompter but sets the tone of the story with their voice inflections. Anchors also may ask a question or two if the reporter of a story is live presenting.

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I am a teacher, how can I teach the students to write a script for television broadcasting effectively?

I want to find the best activities for my students to know and fully understand the guidelines in writing a script.

Give them a newspaper and have them write a news script using the guidelines in this VisiHow article. Using the template above for Timing, have your students fit their story into an entire show collaborating with the other students.

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See more questions like this: Is there any sample of a broadcast script?

Hi, I'm Victor. I am supposed to write a script for a newscast for my English II class, I am a sophomore in HS. My question is how do I format it? Is there a certain indentations or "etiquette" that I have to use?

If you need clarification, feel free to ask.

You would write it just like you would a newspaper article but make the sentences more concise. Follow paragraph rules and you will be fine. Consider it like a short term paper where you state your findings and how you got there - by backing up facts.

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See more questions like this: Can you write me a script newscast for school. Our two transitions are West sports and West happenings?

Hi! I was wondering how it would be best to write an anchor intro for a human interest story?

I'm writing my editing script for a story I'm doing on small business's in Philadelphia, but I'm having trouble writing an anchor intro for my story.

Mom and Pop businesses are becoming extinct but Jim has a story tonight to prove that Philadelphia is leading a Mom and Pop revolution.

See more questions like this: Can you help me create a newscaster intro?

Can you give me a great introduction for news casting?

Station ID ..just like anchor:you are listening to ........... co anchor:time check its already ......... in the morning .......... anchor:my name Is........ co anchor:and my name is ......

...just like this

Good morning! This is Live in the D and we are excited to introduce you to "Guest". Anchor and Co Anchor : Quick rundown of what will be featured on the program with key highlights in almost a casual conversation among the anchors.

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See more questions like this: 6 example journalism or news casting?

Hi, I want the best way to tell my short TV stories, that will draw viewer attention to my channel daily?

I am using African youth's opinion through Interview to achieve the aforementioned goals. TV interviews are boring in nature, but because of funding and the zeal to implement what I was taught at school I have no other choice than going to a cheaper production to pull myself out of financial torture.

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You want to begin with a catchy title for your news program. Financial Torture is actually a great one. Make sure your segments are under 5 minutes and human-interest stories are always interesting, so include at least one per show.

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I just want you to help me write a proper introduction of a crime news segment involving drug arrest, and also the body and conclusion of the news. I am working on a one-minute breaking news announcement, and have just drawn the storyboard. I would appreciate if you can help me achieve something outstanding. Here is the scenario of the news: A 27-year old student was arrested for drug trafficking in Mauritius. And there will be someone live at the scene to interview the officer in charge of the arrest?

I just want you to help me write a proper introduction of a crime news segment involving a drug arrest, and also the body and conclusion of the news. I am working on a one-minute breaking news announcement, and have just drawn the storyboard. I would appreciate if you can help me achieve something outstanding. Here is the scenario of the news: A 27 year old student was arrested for drug trafficking in Mauritius. And there will be someone live at the scene to interview the officer in charge of the arrest

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Jim will be live with the Mauritius Police Officer who arrested a 27 year old student on the charges of drug trafficking.

See more questions like this: How can I write a news script for television broadcast?

See more questions like this: Can you give me a breaking news script

See more questions like this: Help SOS Please I NEED HELP!

How to make a lead in an article?

I'm having trouble in my lead. Ideas and sequences are confusing. I already know the 5w and 1h but I can't totally figure my lead perfectly. I have tried: Yes, but I'm confused with the format. I don't really know the format and sequence. I just want my lead to be simple but punchy. I think it was caused by: My professors have different styles and as a student I can't figure whose writing is correct and appropriate

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You want to take your story and then make the lead a one-sentence description. Arrange the 5 whys and the 1 how into a short description for the lead.

Israeli and Palestinian conflict?

Everything about Israel Palestine conflict

Well that would be a very long story so you need to determine which issue of the Israeli/ Palestinian Conflict you want to cover, and then, by using this VisiHow article, you can create your news script. Consider questions like what is still causing the conflict and focus on just one issue.

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Can I have a sample on the RDR?

I can't make an entertaining RDR

Since it only lasts 30 seconds, you would use compelling words to express the theme of the story.

What is the perfect way of paraphrasing?

Hi Jan, I am an Editor but I find it difficult when my reporters express the same content in the interview, as in the story, hence repeating themselves. Please advise on how can I guide them on this matter.

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They need to learn to save one bit of fact from the interview to introduce later. This way they are not repeating themselves but introducing a new idea.

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