ENGLISH FOR BROADCAST
Juwarti Hafsah, SS, M.Si
BASIC CREATIVE WRITING TECHNIQUES (CONTINUED)
DESCRIPTION: By reading the news text, news reader can transfer their information to everyone. The information can be right or wrong, it depends on the technical mastering that had by the personality of the news reader (presenter). On this modul, the topic decide to explain about the technical knowledge that will be shared to the student that in case will be the one of news reader or presenter hopefully.
GOAL : By learning and understanding modul 10, wish the students can:
1. Have the good spelling and writing techniques
2. Understanding the differences of spelling a word that have same sound.
3. Can read the news text of English perfectly.
1. Broadcast Journalism, written by Andrew Boyd (Focal Press)
2. Tata Bahasa Bahasa Inggris, written by Erhans Anggawirya and friends (Indah)
3. An Indonesian-English Dictionary, written by John M. Echols and Hasan Shadily (Gramedia)
4. An English-Indonesian Dictionary, written by John M. Echols and Hasan Shadily (Gramedia)
Singular or plural
Should it be the Government says or the Government say? Opinions differ and many newsrooms settle the issue by writing whatever sounds right to the ear. The trouble starts when inconsistencies creep into the copy:
‘The Conservative party say their policies will defend Britain’s position in Europe. The party wants and end to what it describes as “European meddling” in Britain’s affairs.
‘The Consevative party says’ and ‘The party wants’ may both sound right individually, but they do not sound right together. Journalists must make up their own mind.
Using pronouns in broadcasting requires a special discipline to get round the problem of muddling the listener who can’t go back over what has been said:
‘Film star Richard Cruise was involved in an ugly scene with fellow actor Tom Gere outside a Hollywood restaurant today. Cruise called Gere a has-been, and Gere responded by casting doubt on Cruise’s parentage. He said he would sue.’
Is Gere suing Cruise or is Cruise suing Gere? The way around this is to swap the pronoun for a name:
‘Cruise said he would sue.’
Writing for broadcast is writing to be aloud. Sentenaces should be broken into groups of meaning and these should be seperated by a visible pause. Semi-colons and colons do not work well because they are visually too similar to the full stop (period) or comma.
Pauses that are intended to be longer then a comma can be indicated by the dash - - hyphen - ellipsis ….. or slash /. The ellipsis or dash (double hyphen) are perhaps the most effective indicators of pause because they create more physical space between words then other forms of punctuation. Each new idea should be separated by a longer pause, and the best way to indicate this is to begin a new paragraph.
Capital letters can be used for names or to create emphasis, but if the story is written entirely in capitals, as is often the case (sic), the emphasis and visual signal at the start of the sentence is lost.
The name of people represent an enormous threat, particularly if they re foregn name that you suddenly see for the first time.
ANNA FORD, UK NEWSREADER AND PRESENTER
If you get a difficult name to pronounce and you’ re fairly uncertain im your own mind about it, there’s one golden rule - look the viewer straight in the eye through the camera lens, and say the first thing that comes into your head.
ANDREW GARDNER BRITISH NEW SREADER
Some people say spelling is irrelevant in broadcasting, but that is not strictly true. The listener may not know if the wurds are speld gud, but misspelled words can act like banana skins beneath unwary newsreaders and cause them to stumble or trip.
Foreign or unfamiliar names can also be a problem. The solution is to spell them fon-et-il-lee (phonetically) - as they sound. It is also a good idea to warn newsreaders of a pronounciation trap by marking the top of the page. They can then rehearse the troublesome word.
Abbrevations generally make sense to the eye, but not to the ear. All but the most common, such as Mr and Mrs and USA, should be avoided.
Names of organizations should be spelled out unless they are commonly known by their initials, such as the BBC. Never use abbrevations that the newsreader would have to translate, such as C-in-C for Commander in Chief. The newsreader may be thrown for a second or get them wrong.
Some stations require abbrevations to be hyphenated, for example P-T-A, A-N-C unless they from recognizable words (acronyms), when they should be left intact, for example NATO.
Nothing clutters copy quicker or confuses the car more than a collection of figures. Even a short figure on a piece of paper can take a surprisingly long time to read aloud.
A single story should contain as few figures as possible, and within the bounds of accuracy numbers should always by rounded up or down to make them easier to take in: for 246 326, write ‘almost 250.000’ or, even better, ‘nearly a quarter of a million’.
Broadcast stations very in their approach to figures, but whatever the house syle, clarity is the aim, for the sake of the newsreader as well as the listener. Resist the temptation to use ‘a million’ instead of ‘one million’, as listeners could easily confuse it for eight million. ‘Billion’ should also be avoided at this means different things in different countries. Refer to so many thousands of million instead.
Copy should always be read out loud, to check for the sense and make sure no traps lie in wait for the unwary newsreader. Never leave it to the reader to check the copy through. A sudden rush before the bulletin could leave no time to prepare. The acid test of good copy is whether someone else could read it out loud, having never before clapped eyes on it, and get through without tripping over his tongue.
Below are some examples of hastily written copy which were actually submitted to be read on air:
HEALTH OFFICERS THROUGHOUT THE COUNTRY ARE BEING PUT ON THE ALERT FOR TYPOID CASES ... AFTER SIX PEOPLE RETURNING FROM A GREEK HOLIDAY WERE FOUND TO HAVE THE DISEASE TAKES TWENTY ONE DAYS TO INCUBATE AND IT’S THOUGHT MORE CASES COULD DEVELOP IN THE NEXT FEW DAYS. *******
ENGLAND BEAT THE REPUBLIC OF IRELAND TWO NIL LAST NIGHT AT WEMBLEY. IT WAS AN EASY WIN, AND ENGLAND WERE ON TOP UNTIL THE CLOSING MINUTES WHEN BRADY SCORED FOR IRELAND. ********
Apart from the spelling mistakes, these stories may look feasible at first glance. Only when they are read through do the problems become obvious.
Even the most innocent words and phrases can sometimes conspire to trap you. Find another way of saying it before you go on air.;
‘Avon’s ambulamencement ... Avon’s ambulaments ... Avon’s ambulen ... Avon’s ambewlamence ... (Pause. Deep breath) The ambulancemen of Avon ...’ - British TV
Ambiguity offers the audience a rich source of humour at the newsreader’s expense. Howlers can range from the simple snigger:
‘Orchestra musicians at the Royal Opera House are threatening to strike next week, if the management turn down a 10 per cent no-strings pay rise.’
To the cringingly embarassing:
‘,,, the batsman’s holding ... the bowler’s Willey...’
Here are some other examples which might have caught in time if the writer had troubled to read them through:
‘Teams of traditional dancers from various parts of Kenya exposed themselves to world scouts delegates in a grand performance’.
‘About 50 students broke into the college, smashing glass and chanting, “No cuts, no cuts”. A porter had his hand injured ...’
‘During evidence PC John Wilkinson said that John Depledge had given him a violent blow to the testicles. They both fell to the ground ...’
The Rule of Threes
The idea behind the Rule of Threes is the people remember ideas more easily if they’re presented in groupsof three. Examples abound in everyday conversation: “reading, wrinting and ‘rithmatic,” “earth, wind and fire,” “Tom, Dick and Harry,” “ wind, sea and rain,” “morning, noon and night,” “blood, sweat and tears,” to name a few.
The Rule of Threes is especially effective when used in conjunction with parallel writing. This involves using a group of three words or phrases to draw a comparison or contrast to second group of three words or phrases. The danger is that this technique, like alliteration, is more difficult to bring off properly and more likely to second contrived. When it works right, however, it can be effective. For exemple:
Donald Smith swears he began his day like any other. He claims he woke up………shaved….. and headed off to work. But the F-B-I tells it differently. It claims he woke up……. Put on a fake beard….. and headed off to rob a Bank.
(Rule of trees: waking, shaving and heading off)
Instead of spending their day in school learning reading …… writing…. And ‘rithmatic…… Police say these gang members spent it in a car reading …… racing …….. and robbing.
(Combines alliteration ana parallels three expected activities with three unexpected ones)
This is the technique of using a physical situation, thing or activity to symbolically describe something else. For example:
The Attorney General says empire mining was indeed digging for gold … But in the wromg place: The pocketbooks of its investors.
(Metaphore: “digging a gold”)
The company never finished the pool. And the newsmakers weren’t the only family to get soaked. The A-G says not one of the firm’s dozen or so contracts held water.
(Metaphore: double use for actions associated with the word “water”)
This is known in literary circles as “hyperbole”. A bit of well-placed exaggeration serves to paint your subject in vivid and therefore more memorable terms. This is another one that’s easy to overdo; be judicious. It works best with kickers. For example:
- “Roach the size of a Rolls Royce”
- “Killer Rabbit”
- “Kamikaze pelican”
Stories dealing with a great number of facts and figures often get lost on the average listener or viewer simply because he or she can’t relate to them. It’s your challenge to translate those figures into terms people can understans. This might take a little quick arithmetic on your part, but the results are well worth it. For instance, suppose you’re doing a story about oil exports and find that the gasoline usage has gone down by one million gallons a year.
The average person can’t comprehend the concept of one million gallons of gasoline. So ask yourself this: What does one gallon of gasoline mean to you personally? How much gasoline do you burn each week? Roughly 20 gallons If you use 20 gallons of gasoline a week, it would take you 50.000 weeks to burn a million gallons - that’s 962 years! Now you get the picture - and you can put it in just those terms for the viewer.
If you burn about 20 gallons of gasoline a week … a million gallons would last you 962 years.
1. Compare two radio bulletins on different stations that vary in style. Which do you prefer and why? Jot down the cliches and journalese that appear in each. See if you can come up with less hackneyed ways of saying same thing.
2. Scan the pages of a popular newspaper for examples of journalese. How many of these phrases do you occasionally hear in radio or TV news broadcasts? Again, see if you can come up with the alternatives.
3. The following story needs rewriting to clarify it, tidy up the attribution, simplify the figures and generally knock it into shape. Have a go.
Flagham Council leader and Housing Chairman, Councillor Fred Bunter MA, has dismissed opposition plans to cut council rents as ‘absurd’. Rent cuts of up to 19 per cent had been suggested to help out the 6883 tenants who had fallen badly into arrears. Councillor Bunter said the rent cuts would penalise the council’s other 63 722 tenants who had managed to keep up with their rent. The cut price rent scheme was proposed by oppositition spokesman on Housing, Councillor Bob Taylor, who said, ‘Many of these tenants have no way of paying their rent. They are in severe difficulties, often through no fault of their own, and must be helped.’
4. Rewrite the following headlines into a more immediate, direct and active broadcast style:
In connection with Security Holdings armed robbery in Parkerville last month, four men appeared briefly in court today. An adjournment was granted for a week.
The search for twelve fishermen from a Danish trawler in the North Sea ended when they were found safe and well drifting on the sea in a small boat.
Three schoolchildren died after their school bus was hit by a car on the M1. Other vehicles were not involved.
5. The following story is a complete message. Whoever wrote it should fear for his / her job. The angle needs pointing up, it has unnecessary repetition, redundanciesconvolution, singular/ plural problems, hopeless punctuation and too many adjectives. Hammer it into shape and rewrite it to broadcast style.
The Police Departement is urgently calling for eye-witnesses following a tragic and fatal fire at hospital in Brunton. The fire brockeout in the third floor laundry room at the modern 300-bed General Hospital in Brunton and quickly spread to casualty ward. Frightened patientsin the casualty ward hastily raised the alarm and worried doctors and nurses had to evacuate them from the ward along with all the other patients in the rest of the hospital who later heard the distressing news that an ancillary worker in the loundry room where the fire began was overcome by fumes and sadly died in the horrific fire which is still burning fiercely as fireman continue bravely to fight the flames which are still lighting up the night sky. The policesy that they think the fire may have been started on purpose. The flames have badly damagedabout half of the hospital. No other patient of mamber of staff was injuredin the fire.