Writing a package begins long before you get back to the newsroom. While you're out in the field gathering your story, you should be thinking of how your package will be put together. Identify good sound bites as soon as you hear them. Devise your stand-up so that it fits perfectly in your package. Get good natural sound. By thinking ahead, your package will truly tell a story. Read on to learn how to write a TV news package script.
- Skill level:
- Moderately Easy
Other People Are Reading
Log the sound bites you gathered in the field. If your station's editing system is non-linear, wait for your photographer to ingest the video into the system. If it's tape to tape, log as soon as you get in the building. Write the SOTs out verbatim with the time codes.
Watch your stand-ups and write down the in and out time of the best one. Look for one that looks and sounds good.
Open your package script on your computer. The producer should have entered a slot in the rundown for your story. Whether you're on ENPS, AP NewsCenter or another system, open the script.
Write your anchor introduction. This will be the set-up to your package. If you have any statistics you'd like the anchor to read, create a graphic to go along with them.
Create your package by weaving the sound bites with your voice track. Use the most emotional bites you gathered. Your voice tracks shouldn't stick out. They should feel like a natural part of the story. Stick to the time your producer gave you.
Include natural sound breaks. Sound isn't just your voice and your interviewee. Nat sound makes the story complete. If your editor isn't too creative or you have specific Nat breaks you want, script them. If not, give the editor free reign to use his creativity.
Have the producer proofread the package. Once it's been approved, go into the audio booth and voice it. Say "3...2...1" before each voice track. If you mess up, say "Take 2" and denote the extra take on your script for your editor.
Tips and warnings
- If you have computers in your edit bays, type your sound bites while you log, instead of hand writing them, to save time.
- Always think of ways to break out information from your package into a sidebar story or for an anchor tag.
- Try to center your story around a personal story. Those are the stories the viewers remember.
- Look for little tidbits of information none of the other stations bothered to ask.
- Re-read the story aloud. We talk differently then we write. You are weaving a story for the viewers, so it has to sound natural.
- Type in your immediate thoughts. This could be a catchy phrase you thought of in the field or a way to describe something.
- Don't log every sound bite you got or it'll take you forever. Write down the strong ones.