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Cover

Air Words

Writing Broadcast News in the Internet Age

Fourth Edition

John Hewitt

Publication Date - September 2011

ISBN: 9780199760039

242 pages
Paperback
8-1/2 x 11 inches

In Stock

Retail Price to Students: $57.95

Integrating more student exercises than any other text, Air Words offers the best instruction available in broadcast writing basics

Description

Praised by both students and journalists for its no-nonsense instructional approach, accessible writing style, and extensive supply of practical exercises, Air Words is a comprehensive newswriting text that is designed to help students learn the fundamental sentence structure and grammar required to write for broadcast news. It is carefully designed to guide students through a progression of news situations, from a simple lead story to a complex remote video field report. The fourth edition brings the book up to date with numerous changes that have occurred in the last decade of broadcast journalism.

New to this Edition

  • Revised and expanded chapters that: - survey the integration of online, smart phone, e-tablet and social media for presentation - explore social media's important ethical and legal quandaries - introduce comprehensive producing strategies that consider broadcast, online, and mobile devices
  • A new focus on multimedia journalism and convergence skills (broadcast and new media)
  • 20 new and several reworked exercises that are ideal for class and group projects
  • A new chapter concentrating on visual sequences and their logic
  • A companion website (www.oup.com/us/hewitt) that features a new Instructor's Manual with solutions to the book's exercises and additional exercises for students
  • New graphics emphasizing workbook mastery learning and methodology

Features

  • Contains more student exercises than any other book in the market.
  • Has a strong focus on the basic mechanics of writing for broadcast news.

About the Author(s)

John Hewitt is Professor Emeritus in the Department of Broadcast and Electronic Communication Arts at San Francisco State University and the author of Documentary Filmmaking (OUP).

Previous Publication Date(s)

April 2000
January 1995
January 1988

Reviews

"This is a book that takes away the 'fear' of broadcast writing. It is delightful to read and easy to follow." - Andrew A. Moemeka, Central Connecticut State University

" I believe the best way to learn to write is by writing . . . this book gets them writing." - David M. Chanatry, Utica College

Table of Contents


    CHAPTER ONE: UNDERSTAND WHAT YOUR AUDIENCE NEEDS
    Who is watching, listening, logging on?
    What audience research tells us
    Traditional news values
    Spoken news strengths
    On-line strengths
    Different approaches to news
    Flow and rhythm of spoken news
    The Enterprise Journalist
    Research made easier
    On-line research

    CHAPTER TWO: MAKING MAJOR CHANGES
    Writing for ears versus writing for the eyes
    Start with short sentences
    Eliminate long introductory phrases
    Short intros
    Misplaced phrases
    Nested phrases
    Elliptical sentences
    Punctuation
    What to exclude
    Rounding off and writing out numbers
    Reading copy

    CHAPTER THREE: GRAMMAR AND WORD CHOICE
    Concise words and phrases
    Wordy verbs
    Negative verbs
    Adjectives
    Sensational language/loaded words
    Buzzwords and jargon
    Unnecessary words
    Repetition
    Phrases
    Attribution
    Active and passive voice
    Changing the voice
    Verb forms
    Reference problems

    CHAPTER FOUR: WRITING THE LEAD SENTENCE
    Importance of the lead sentence
    One night's leads
    Avoiding hype
    Categories of leads
    Impact
    New story/breaking news
    Reaction
    Folo, second-day, update
    Perspective
    Exception and irony
    Segue
    Feature
    Leads to Avoid
    Jammed
    Cliché
    Rhetorical questions
    Un-attributed quotes

    CHAPTER FIVE: COMPLETING THE STORY ESSENTIALS
    Essential items
    Scope
    Controversy and cause and effect
    The why or what
    Future
    Payoffs

    CHAPTER SIX: GATHERING USEFUL SOUNDBITES
    Actualities and soundbites
    Planning interviews to get results
    Selecting interviewees
    Testing interviewees
    Asking the right questions
    Pulling bites
    How short
    Trimming bites
    Ethical considerations

    CHAPTER SEVEN: USING SOUNDBITES

    Adding soundbites changes the design
    Placement within stories
    Writeups
    Rules for writeups
    Identification
    Short complete sentence
    No repetition
    Avoid throwaways
    Tags
    Writing the story with a soundbite

    CHAPTER EIGHT: BUILDING PACKAGES WITH SOUNDBITES AND TRACKS
    Composing packages
    Recognizing different approaches
    Lead-ins
    Classic models
    Altered chronology
    Particular-to-general model
    Writing tracks
    First track
    Middle tracks
    Last tracks

    CHAPTER NINE: WRITING TO STILL VISUALS
    Visuals as tools
    Rules for writing to visuals
    Partial screen graphics
    Over-the-shoulder topic boxes
    Full screen CGs
    Length of visual on screen
    Full screen graphics
    CGs to display facts
    Script notations
    The reveal

    CHAPTER TEN: THE VIDEO SEQUENCE
    Video sequences
    Important sequence considerations
    Establishing shots
    Continuity
    Alternate types of shots
    Vary shot length
    Use reaction shots
    Avoid lifeless shots
    Look for depth in shots
    Never use the same shot
    Sensationalism dangers

    CHAPTER ELEVEN: WRITING TEXT FOR THE VO
    The VO's various forms
    Steps to the VO story
    Twin streams concept
    Rules for writing the VO text
    Common problems with the VO story

    CHAPTER TWELVE: WRITING THE VO/SOUND STORY
    VO/SOUND is complex
    Production difficulties
    Writeups and visual cover
    A second VO or tag
    Steps to the VO/Sound story

    CHAPTER THIRTEEN: BREAKING NEWS PACKAGES AND FEATURES
    The news package
    Breaking news versus features
    Steps to building a package
    What to do at the location
    Standups
    Reviewing field video
    Tracks
    Rules for tracks
    Writing tracks with the lead-in in mind
    Laying out the story

    CHAPTER FOURTEEN: LIVE SHOTS AND REMOTES
    Live remotes are popular
    Pressure and live shots
    Production and ethical dilemmas
    Live shot production possibilities
    Rules for live shot design

    CHAPTER FIFTEEN: PRODUCERS DEVELOP STORIES
    Gatekeeping
    Producer's job
    News of the day
    Developing stories
    Checking feeds
    Assigning stories
    Reviewing scripts for fairness

    CHAPTER SIXTEEN: PRODUCING EFFECTIVE NEWSCASTS
    General considerations for newscasts
    Non-commercial versus commercial
    First third of newscast
    Middle of newscast
    Final third of newscast
    Clustering
    Headlining stories
    Wraps
    Segues
    Single versus multiple anchors
    Pacing
    Predictability
    Teases
    Tosses
    Junk pages
    Stacking the newscast
    Finding the news hole
    Update the story pool
    Choosing the lead stories
    Assigning times and checking totals
    Final rundown
    Reviewing scripts
    Accuracy
    Plausibility
    Backtiming
    On-air decisions

    CHAPTER SEVENTEEN: ON-AIR NEWS AND WEBSITE COORDINATION
    Internet's new delivery channels
    Convergence of options
    Shuttling stories to the website or podcast
    Features done for website only
    Internet tags for on-air stories
    Live feeds or raw field video
    Social media
    Extending the playing field
    Gathering feedback
    Soliciting user submissions


    CHAPTER EIGHTEEN: ETHICS AND LEGAL ACCOUNTABILITY
    Traditional ethical questions
    Ethics in the Internet age
    The consequences of a news story
    News agency policy books on ethics
    Ethics questions
    Reporting
    Writing
    Using video and interviews
    Using audio
    Exercise in ethical discussion
    Defamation
    Libel, slander and invasion of privacy
    Why study defamation law
    Conditions for libel
    Negligence or malice
    Private versus public persons
    Consent
    Privileged situations
    Statute of limitations
    Defenses