ENGLISH FOR BROADCAST
Juwarti Hafsah, SS, M.Si
SELECTING STORIES AND STARTING TO WRITE (continued)
DESCRIPTION: This modul explain about how to write the news text based on the students Choice (surely connected with the hottest news)
GOAL : By learning and understanding modul 4, wish the students can:
1. Decide to choose the most likely news to be written.
2. Understand how to choose the topic.
3. Can make the short news text in 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 Hasal Shadily (Gramedia)
In Indonesian language means “kepentingan manusia”. In the beginning, human interest may be defined as an extraordinary thing that has happened to an ordinary person. Soft news is lightweight material which people like to gossip about, such as who’s won the pools or discovered a Ming vase in their shed. It is the unusual, ironic, or offbeat; the sort of story that people like to swap in pubs and bars.
But now, the meaning of human interest has the meaning abbrasion. It becomes the thing that can make people giving their attention. The sample of human interest in the field of broadcast is the ‘infotainment’. At the past, politic or another theme was interesting for people, but now infotainment became the most interesting programs that take more people’s attention. It is proven by the amount of frequencies of infotainment presentation on television. It almost 800 times in a week. Gee Whiz!!!
Please try to make a news text with the free themes. Don’t forget to choose the hottest topic that familiar enough to you!!
In Indonesia language means “ketidakrumitan/kesederhanaan”. So it means that the news must contains the simplicity because in every television program has a time duration and also time schedule, including news presentation. And every program director must be aware of it.
WRITING FOR BROADCAST
‘Writing, when properly managed … is but another name fo conversation.’ (LAURENCE STERNE)
‘For years, editors told reporters: “Don’t tell me about it, write it.” Turn that around and you have a good rule for the broadcast journalist: “Don’t just write it, TELL ME ABOUT IT”. (BROADCAST NEWS OF CANADA, STYLE BOOK)
A. CONVERSATIONAL WRITING
Anyone with ambition towards writing will probably appreciate a lively piece of prose. We all have our journalistic giants and literary heroes. But what may be clear and sparkling to the eye may be confused and baffling to the ear. It may also prove impossible to read out alout. The following is from Hemingway’s For Whom the Bell Tolls. A Spanish gypsy, Rafael, is describing a machine gun attack on a Fascist train. Read it out loud and see how you get on.
Writing for broadcast can mean tossing away literary conventions, including the rules of grammar, if the words are to make sense to the ear, rather than the eye. In print, shades of meaning are conveyed with choice adjectives and skilful prose, but the spoken word makes use of a medium, which is altogether more subtle and powerful - the human voice.
1. Telling the story
If you find it difficult to put your thoughts down on paper clearly and simply, use the trick of telling someone outloud what you want to say. Your brain will throw out most of the padding automatically. People talk more clearly than they write, so make your writing more like your talking and your viewers will understand you better.
An accomplished reader can breathe life into the flat black marks on a page, investing them with shades of light and dark, irony, pleasure or disaste with nothing more than a minor variation in the pitch or tone of his or her voice.
For print journalists making the crossover into broadcasting and graduates embarking on a career in radio or TV, the hardest adjustment can be break out of the library mould imposed on us since our schooldays. All the emphasis then was on the written word, but everything in broadcasting is written to be spoken.
2. Writing for a mass audience
At all times remember you are communicating with ONE person ONE TO ONE means YOU and just ONE listener (COUNTY SOUND RADIO STYLEBOOK)
For the professional broadcaster there must be no such thing as ‘the masses out there’. Images of a sea of upturned faces somewhere beyond the studio lead only to megaphone newsreading and a style of writing, which turns every story into a proclamation.
The secret of communicating with an audience, however large, is to write and speak as though you were talking to only one person, and it helps if that person is someone you know and like, rather than your worst enemy or boss.
Visualizing a single well-disposed listener warms up the approach, makes it more personal, and avoids the trap of sounding patronizing. Aim to talk to the audience and not at them.
The most important technique in communication is to meet people where they are - at their level. Nothing enrages an audience more than being talked down to, and few things bore them faster than hearing talk which is above their heads. Broadcasting means just that: reaching out to a broad cross-section of the community, and the skill lies in pitching it so what you say satisfies roadsweepers and university dons alike - no mean task.
When reporters learn to tell the story rather than write it they are halfway there. The next stage is to realize that the broadcast audience has different needs from the newspaper reader, and that those needs differ again between radio and television.
3. No second chance
Newspaper readers have one big advantage: they can read and re-read the same item until they can make sense of it. But broadcasters have only one chance to score with their audience. The information is fleeting. As soon as it has passed, it has vanished into ether and is lost until the broadcast is repeated the following hour - if it is repeated at all.
The onus on making sense of the news lies always with the newswriter and newsreader, never with the audience. This means the broadcast story has to be crystal clear the first time of hearing. Clutter has to go and convoluted writing has to be ironed out; clauses and sub-clauses dismantled and reconstructed as new sentences if necessary.
The writer has to wield a ruthless logic in the way the story is explained, moving the information unsweringly forward from point to point. Mark Twain described the way a good writer constructs a sentence.
4. Confusing clauses
An item that makes sense on paper where the punctuation is visible can have an altogether different meaning when read aloud.
For broadcast, the copy style has to be unambiguous. Assuming the secon version of this hypothetical story is the correct one.
5. Inverted sentence
Because listeners have to hold in their memory what has been said, inverted sentences such as the one you are reading are to be avoided.
An inversionoften demands that listeners retain information that is without meaning until it is put into context. By the time that context comes listeners may have forgotten what they were supposed to remember or be terminally confussed. This is how not to do it.
6. Plain English
Journalism - a profession whose business is to explain to others what it personally doesn’t understand (LORD NORTHCLIFFE)
Plain English should not be confused with dull language; the English tongue is too rich and varied for it ever to need to be boring. Plain English does away with woolliness, wordiness, officialese and circumlocution and replaces it with words and descriptions that are concrete and direct.
Plain English is about rat-catchers and road sweepers, never rodent operators or highway sanitation operatives. It is about straightforward writing using commonly understood words, rather than high-faluting phrases intended to impress. As journalist Harold Evans put it, plain English is about calling a spade and not a factor of production.
7. Familiar Words
Speaking the layperson’s language also means using familiar words. Prefer:
· Cut out to exercise
· Destroy to obliterate
· Against to antagonistic to
· Talkactive to loquacious
· Truthful to veracious
· Cancel to abrogate
· Poverty to penury
· Highest point to zenith
8. Easy Listening
American broadcaster Irving E. Fang has researched into what makes broadcast copy easy or difficult to understand. He devised the Easy Listening Formula, which is based on the length of words in a sentence. The idea is to add up all syllables in a sentence, then substract from that the number of words. If the final score is higher than 20, the sentence contains to many long and abstract words that would make it hard to understand, and it should be subbed down.
9. Accurate English
Taking shades of grey and turning them into black and white for the sake simplifying an issue is often the mark of an inexperienced journalist. Some precision might have to be sacrificed for the sake of simplicity, but the final story should still give the facts accurately.
10. Keep it concrete
The fleeting nature of broadcasting means that information tends to be impressionistic, and radio in particular finds it difficult to convey technical details or abstract ideas. Precise instructions, complex abstractions, ideas or statistics - anything, in fact, which is hard to picture in the mind - do not come across well. Television has powerful advantage of being able to use graphic illustrations to bring home a point, but even than it is easy to overload the medium with too much information. What it boils down to it is that broadcasting is a preety poor medium for analysis, compared with hard copy, written at length, in print where it can be pored over and digested. As somebody once said: ‘Half of what you say is forgotten; the rest gets twisted.’
The way to use the medium successfully is to keep statements simple, direct, concrete, and to the point, and to express them in a way that everyone will readily understand.
Colloquialisms are acceptable for bringing home the meaning of a story, but in-words and slang that have grown stale through overuse will irritate listeners and should be avoided.
Methapors and examples also help in putting over an idea. Radio paints a picture in someone’s mind, but you cannot paint a picture of an idea, a concept or an abstraction. You have to relate that to things people are already familiar with, and that means using illustrations.
11. Make it interesting
The journalist has something the audience wants - information. They want it because it is new, important and relevant. But however much they need this information, they will receive it only if it is presented in a way that is both interesting and entertaining.
One of the most obvious differences between written and spoken English is the use of contractions. Words like can’t, couldn’t, wouldn’t, shouldn’t we’ll, she’ll, they’ll, wasn’t, didn’t; and even shouldn’t and can’t’ve might look peculiar on paper, but are the substance of spoken English. In your next conversation, try to avoid contractions and see how difficult you find it and how stilted it sounds. Broadcasting is about conversation, so contractions are a must.
A little contraction can be a dangerous thing. The shortened form can confuse the ear and be misleading to the listener. ‘He couldn’t agree to the proposal’, sounds very much like ‘He could agree to the proposal’ and ‘She didn’t know who commited the murder’, could, to someone listening with half an ear, sound like ‘She did know who committed the murder.’
There are times when NOT is too important a word to risk skipping over it with a contraction. Put it in CAPITALS.
Spoken English has a rhythm of its own that differs from the written word. The simple reason is that, with the exception of Hemingway’s gypsy quoted above, people have to come up for breath every now and again.
Sometimes sentences which look finr in print sound unfinished when read aloud because they stray from the conventional rhythms of speech. Usually with spoken English sentences is a question, when the voice will rise at the end.
The only rule, which supersedes most rules of grammar, is, if it sounds right, it probably is right. In the end the copy has to communicate, and if means driving a coach and horses through the flowerbeds of the Queen’s English, then so be it.
A little alliteration may occasionally be acceptable, but sometimes several similar sounds spoken aloud sound stupid, while a superfluity of hissing s and c sounds sound sibilant.
a. Take two daily newspapers, one popular, the other serious, and read some stories out loud. Which newspaper style sounds more like conversational English - the popular style or the serious style? What makes the difference?
b. Find a better way to write this story and to bring the point home
c. Discuss the difference (the serious style words and the popular style words)
d. How would you cover the story to make it sound interesting to a typical audience?
e. Translate the following goobledegook into plain English
GETTING THE STORY
I always wanted to be a reporter. There was never anything else, nothing as exciting. The great joy of reporting is going out and coming back with complete chaos. You’ve got some ideas a few notes in the notebook a few rushes in the can - all kinds of different things - and you’ve got to put it all together to make a story. It’s a great feeling of satisfaction.
STEPHEN COLE, BBC WORLD NEWS
Before we try to write strory, we should to choose or to select a story that we thought so interesting enough to be presented in front of the television watcher. These following informations are some steps that must be done by the reporter or the news writer before trying to get the news, such as:
- doing the ‘newsroom conference’
- do the copytasting
- think anout ‘balance of news’
- consider about the visuals and actuality
- having bravery / the brief
- having the angle
- chasing the contact
- staged the news conference
- beating the clock
- work to sequence
- don’t panic
News editors are to broadcast journalism what generals are to warfare. They set the objectives, weigh the resources and draw up the plan of campaign. Under their command are the officers and troops on the ground.
Some news editors prefer to be in the thick of battle, directing the action from the front line, while others favour a loftier perspective, set back from the heat of the action. These will oversee strategy, but delegate a number two to be responsible for tactics. In larger newsrooms, this may be the deputy news editor, senior producer, or bulletin producer. Working to the news editor’s plan of campaign he or she will keep in touch with the news as it develops and arrange coverage.
Please write news with choosing one of these following theme kinds:
1. Local and national government
3. Conflict and controversy
4. Pressure group