How to Write a Script for a News Broadcast

Written by nicholas salvatore
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You may be an excellent writer, but writing for a news broadcast requires the use of a specialised format. You need to write short, clever copy AND tie your words into accompanying video.

Skill level:
Moderately Challenging

Things you need

  • An AP style book
  • Understanding of newscast formatting
  • Understanding of "writing to video"
  • Understanding of video editing

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    Hook your audience

  1. 1

    Every story has a beginning, and in this case yours starts with the anchor reading a "lead-in." A good lead-in "teases" the viewer without giving away the story. Lead-ins should be short and clever. Personalise the story, using the word "you" so the audience feels included. Example: "Will you find a high paying job next year? Chances are better if the new proposed car plant is approved."

  2. 2

    Highlight the details, in order of importance. Using our example, tell the audience the key factors of the car plant. "Acme would bring two thousand jobs to our area if the city council agrees to provide tax incentives. If all goes well, the company could begin production next June."

  3. 3

    Provide sources for your story, making sure you have at least two points of view. "Acme President Joe Carmaker says the plant will pump millions into the local economy. But City Council President Bob Politician is concerned about the environmental effects on the area."

  4. 4

    Wrap it up, and tease an upcoming story if possible. "Manufacturing jobs at Acme would pay you a minimum of thirty dollars an hour. The city council votes on the project this evening, and we'll bring you the result at eleven."

  5. 5

    Read your copy aloud. If you run out of breath, your sentence is too long. Shorten it or cut it in two.

Tips and warnings

  • Do the math. For example, if you're talking about a fifty million dollar property tax increase, break it down so the audience can understand the personal impact. "This would cost the average homeowner two hundred dollars per year."
  • Check your facts. Don't use items from another news organisation without checking them yourself.

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