NEWS REPORTING (PRINT & BROADCAST), EDITING AND FEATURE WRITING (106
NEWS REPORTING (Print) TOPIC SESSION 1. SOURCES OF NEWS 2. CULTIVATING SOURCES-OFFICIAL AND UNOFFICIAL SOURCES 3. REPORTING FROM RELEASES AND HANDOUTS, PRESS CONFRENCES, PUBLIC MEETINGS 4. CATEGORIES OF REPORTERS- FOREIGN CORRESPONDENTS 5. DEVELOPING A NEWS STORY 6. COVERING CRIME, COURT, CIVIC ISSUES, POLITICS, BUSSINESS AND COMMERCE, SPORTS- SPOT COVERAGE, FOLLOW- UPS AND DEVELOPING STORIES, WEATHER ETC. I & III
IV & V
NEWS REPORTING I (BROADCAST) TOPIC SESSION 1. PRINT, BROADCAST, CYBER JOURNALISM- SWOT, COMPARISON 2. ENG- ALL ASPECTS 3. ENP- ALL ASPECTS 4. SCRIPT WRITING, TYPES OF TELEVISION NEWS STORIES 5. PTC- ALL ASPECTS I II III IV V EDITING I TOPIC SESSION 1. DIFFRENCE BETWEEN WRITING AND EDITING 2. EXPRESSION AND COMMUNICATION 3. CONNECTION BETWEEN WRITING AND READING 4. RESPECTING FOR THE READER 5. LISTENING 6. QUALITIES, ATTITUDE AND SKILLS OF AN EDITOR
7. ORGANISATIONAL STRUCTURE OF THE EDITORIAL DESK 8. ROLES OF MEMBERS OF THE EDIT TEAM AND THEIR RELATIONSHIP TO THE REPOTING, DESIGN, LAYOUT, ART AND PRINTING TEAM 9. ADVERTISING AND CIRCULATION 10. ELEMENTS OF EDITING TYPES OF COPY (REPORTS AND FEATURE) 11. GRAMMER AND PUNCTUATIONS 12. USAGE AND MEANING 13. TASTING AND SLOTTING 14. AGENCY COPY 15. NEWS SLECTION 16. GATE KEEPING I & II
III & IV
V FEATURE WRITING I TOPIC SESSION 1. ELEMENTS OF NEWS WRITING AND FEATURE WRITING- HARD AND SOFT
NEWS 2. VARIETY OF FEATURES 3. RICH OPTIONS IN CHOOSING “LEADS”. 4. TOOLS OF GOOD FEATURES: FOCUS, DESCRIPTION, ANECDOTES AND DIRECT QOUTES 5. SELECTING THEMES FOR FEATURE-WRITING, THE APPLAUSE FORMULE 6. WHY HUMAN INTEREST STORIES CLAIM GREATER ATTENTION THAN NEWS REPOTS. 7. LIFESTYLE THEMES, SEASONAL AND FESTIVAL THEMES 8. TRAVALOGUE, TOURISM AND ADVENTURE FEATURE. 9. ROLE OF PUBLIC INSTITUTIONS AND NON-GOVERNMENTAL ORGANISATIONS (NGOs) IN OUR SOCIETY 10. WRITING ABOUT THE ACTIVITIES OF SUCH INSTITUTIONS I & II
III & IV
V New Reporting I (Print) Sources of news
All reporters collect, confirm, record and interpret information. Good news must have: 1. Access to special information 2. Must recognize the makings of a news story an act immediately. Specifically following are the sources of news for any reporter: 1. Personal participation: Although it is an adage in journalism that the reporter is never part of the news, sometimes it can’t be avoided. The normal role is of a disinterested observer, politically and ideologically neutral. A reporter becomes a name in the news when he or she is gassed, or wounded or taken prisoner. It seldom happens but when it does the reporter is entitled to write a first person account 2. Direct Observation: In the language of an editor, a newspaper ‘staffs’ an event when one or more reporters are sent to cover it in person. Staffing is an expensive, time consuming way to cover the news and the decision is seldom taken lightly. The eyes and ears of a reporter can put the reader there. Reporters must ask questions in order to confirm what they have seen or heard. The reporter who staffs an event should recognize his or her own limitations and always seek other viewpoints and information. 3. Asking Questions: The interview is a highly flexible method of getting information. It may be conducted face-to-face or by telephone, television, or mail. It may be highly structured with the reporter preparing a list of carefully phrased questions, or it may be a little more than an informal conversation. In the press conference several reporters interview one source; in the panel discussion one or more reporters interview a group. A reporter must be an interrogator and empathic listener. Persistence may also be necessary to keep the interview in control. On the basis of careful perception the reporter sometimes can suggest significant attitudes and reactions by reporting objective behavior. 4. Reference Material: print is as important a source of news as people. Specialized reporters read trade magazines, scientific journals. The police reporter scans officers’ accident reports, the dispatcher’s log and a variety of records. Reporters begin each day by reading the most recent edition of their own newspaper and many of their stories are based on developments in continuing situations. Often a story results from last year’s files to see what’s likely to be happening in the present. The reporter reads many things mainly in order to get ideas for stories. 5. Scientific Research Methods: Reporters often use the findings of social scientists
as the basis of stories. Many newspapers publish syndicated opinion polls regularly. On occasion a journalist may also use some of the scientist’s methods. A growing practice is to use scientific methods to investigate special problems. The basic requirement of a scientific poll is that everyone in the population to be surveyed has an equal chance of being interviewed(by taking a random sample.) Questions must be prepared so as to eliminate persons who are uninformed. And this method should not be confused with “the man on the street” interviews. 6. Unofficial Sources: these sources include people closest to us-relatives, friends, people we have known for years and people we meet everyday. • Own experiences and acquaintances • People we work with; like, printers, advertising salesmen, circulation workers and other newsmen. For instance, a casual chat with a fellow reporter may yield a scrap of information that completes a puzzle that has baffled us for weeks. • People who hear a lot; salespeople, barbers, waitresses, hotel porters, receptionists. The rumors provided by these sources must be checked though you cannot afford not to listen.
CULTIVATING SOURCES-OFFICIAL AND UNOFFICIAL SOURCES The next thing to do is to develop sources. Official spokesmen are not usually sources. It’s generally not the job of a source to begin with: not the mayor, but the mayor’s assistants; not a company president, but the vice-president in charge of operations. The big names make pronouncements, but the mid-level sources often originate policy changes, and can help a reporter to understand them. In addition, they can describe their bosses’ motives, fears, regrets and follow-up moves. Some reporters meet sources by simply inviting them to lunch. They say: “I’m covering the municipality and believe that you can help me understand what goes on here. Your insights would make my reporting more fair. Let’s lunch today at Laguna if convenient.” Some reporters simply walk into the office of a potential source and introduce themselves. And some reporters make a point of going up to the dais after a press
conference and introducing themselves to the newsmaker there. In every case, the idea is to get acquainted, get familiar with each other, so the reporter doesn’t have to call out of the blue on the day of the really big story. Sources usually have pet products or projects and many reporters will sometimes admit to having filed newsworthy stories on these primarily to cultivate the sources. Another way to get acquainted is to do a series of portraits of people behind the scenes. Never pass up the opportunity to meet a source. Confidentiality of source: Sources won’t always want to be quoted, but sometimes reporters can get off-the-record information placed on the record by asking another official to confirm it. This is not a good idea if the second official is likely to know who the primary source was. The confidentiality of source must be protected when they ask for it. What motivates sources? Often it’s sincere desire to enlighten the public. Sometimes sources may want to get air time for their point of view when a policy decision is pending. Sometimes they may want to sabotage an opponent. And sometimes the object is to lull a reporter into complacency, to lure a reporter into family, or worse, to sandbag a reporter by giving false information at a critical moment. There are hazards everywhere, even among your colleagues I the press corps. If you are covering a beat, you’re likely to be in their company for long periods of time, and it’s easy to start writing for them rather than your real audience. They (not you) can end up deciding for what is or isn’t news. REPORTING FROM RELEASES AND HAND-OUTS When a press release is given to the reporter, it is his job to find out and tell the readers what it really means and not to just release for the second time. Announcement stories that companies or individuals send out often plague the newspaper office. As one editor put it, these announcements or press releases arrive as a giant snowstorm each day. Obviously a newspaper can use very little information that comes into the office this way—even if is high quality because of space limitations. But most releases that come by mail are worthless, especially for the
bigger paper which cannot publish information on every activity of a company and its personnel. While most releases are self-serving, telling the general public what the person or company wants the public to know; nevertheless, sometimes releases can provide sources and ideas for news. The professional release has the name and address of the PR officer and the company which can be used as contacts. Most newspapers rewrite any releases they decide to use, for several reasons. First, an editor can never be sure of the veracity of all releases. Certainly many releases are incomplete and the newspaper person must make a call to flesh out or verify information. Most standard releases have a release date, or “embargo” line, which tells the paper when to release or print. The first and the most important step is to seek access to the sources of the newspersons, places, records-within the bounds of law and sound journalistic practice. The media must carefully assess the timeliness and newsworthiness of this information. It could just be publicity material in the garb of news. A reporter should check the authenticity of the material and in turn may find matter which could give the lead story or another angle to the story. With press releases coming over regular news circuits and with these releases getting a more “official” look, editors must learn to be more on guard than in the past. Better packaging and smoother transmission don’t justify publication of that information with any questions asked.
Embargo- Sometimes instructions are given to the news organizations regarding the time frame before which the report should not be published. This is done to ensure the following: • To present a more comprehensive and wholesome news report • To ensure that the event is followed by the report. Eg: In case of product launches, the company would ideally want the report to be published just after the launch.
PRESS CONFERENCES As far as press conferences are concerned, the reporters usually keep a list of questions ready when they interview a panel or a person individually. The list is very liberating, because it allows the reporter to explore tangents or new directions without worrying that he’ll forget to ask an important question. Before an interview, many reporters think about when to ask a controversial question because they are likely to anger the interviewee and so they hold these questions until all the non- controversial answers have been got and then looking for an unrehearsed reaction, they ask the provocative questions. PUBLIC MEETINGS They are extremely important because of the following reasons: • The issue or the opinions expressed can be of common knowledge but they are being said by a new person i.e. the speaker is not necessarily known or is representing his group or party for the first time. • It can be the same person giving the same statement but at two different places and in a different context. • Meetings can also lead to the formulation of new opinions. Also, meetings are analyzed in greater depth and therefore lead to detailed reports. 1. Speeches as news Newspapers, newsmagazines, trade publications, and radio stations could keep their entire staffs busy covering speeches and meetings from 9: 30 in the morning to midnight every day of the week. They cannot do so and so they do it all very selectively. Only speeches which have • Wide public interest • Important persons • Intrinsic value, will find space. Speech coverage of the correct type can begin a few weeks before the talk or the meeting is delivered. Reporters who do this work steadily like to have copies, r abstracts of the addresses in advance. Some of them even request the speaker to mail such documents prior to their address. This helps them in being familiar or evaluating the speech ahead of hearing it.
When the session begins, the reporter can hear the speech and simultaneously take notes. He can sense audience reaction and observe speaker’s manner and inflections. Then he can write his story, or revise an advance attempt and give a fair presentation of the major ideas. Following this outline of careful coverage helps the reporter in minimizing the weaknesses natural to journalism and inescapable under pressure and high speed. The danger point is in selection of what is to be reported because a reporter can hear incorrectly or have his own prejudices or he simply might not know what is not important and hence report it. 2. Note taking is an Art In speech coverage, the reporter is faced with recording many words because he does not copy from documents, rewrites a publicity release or a story clipped from another publication. A real life performance is going on before him and he must record much of it. Moreover, the speaker might use 3000 words and take an hour to present those days, whereas the reporter has been told by the city editor to compress the information 300 words. Here, the shorthand system can be of some help to the reporter. But experienced reporters frequently rely on their own short writing system. Principles of good note taking include more than speed writing because some times even full sentences in the form of quotations need to be recorded. Some of the steps can be mentioned in brief as follows: • Notes cannot be taken Ad verbatim. • It is important to paraphrase. • Third person style of reporting should be used. • Substantiating with direct quotes is also necessary wherever required. 3. Mechanical Aids to Speech coverage There have been a lot of mechanical and technological developments which assist the reporters greatly. It started with the: Wireless recorders: These were machines the size of a table recorder but heavier and more delicate which could record the speech on a wire and this could then be replayed by the reporter. Tape recorders: As is well known, the most used device till date is the tape recorder which is much lighter and easy to use. Now with the advancements, the best tool available is the Mobile phone which can be used not only to record voices but also moving pictures. The only handicap is that the
amount of time for which they can be used generally does not exceed an hour. Also they are more expensive than the other devices like a tape recorder.
CATEGORY OF REPORTERS Generally, in any newspaper office the following hierarchy is followed: Reporting Desk
Chief of Bureau News Editor
Special Correspondent Deputy News Editor
Principal Correspondent Chief Sub- Editor
Senior Reporters Senior Sub- Editor
Reporters Sub- Editor
KINDS OF REPORTERS Following are the different kinds of reporters:
• Staff Correspondents: They are on the pay rolls of the organization and are given different beats or topics to cover. • Correspondents: They are also on the pay rolls of the organization but are posted away from the place of publication of the newspaper. • International/ Foreign Correspondents: As the name suggests, they are the reporters on the pay rolls of the organization but employed to cover a specific beat i.e. international news, features and other stories. • Business Reporters: Again they are employed and paid to cover a specific beat i.e. Business and finance stories. • Sports Reporters: They are employed for covering sports stories. Similarly, news organizations can employ reporters to cover different beats. • Moffusil Correspondents: They are on the pay rolls of the organization but are employed for district or semi urban coverage. • Stringers: They are appointed by the news organization on retainer ship basis and are given limited work. They basic work is to get and file their stories. On the basis of news value and worthiness it is seen if the story needs to be published. • Freelancers and Feature writers: Features are different from news stories because they differ in the style in which they are written. They usually follow the Upward Pyramid structure, though this is not sacrosanct. Such writers are paid according to the no. of published articles. Besides, this there are other kinds of articles like: • Syndicated Articles: These are written by one person but sold to different newspapers. • Advertorials • Media Net DEVELOPING A NEWS STORY The process of developing a news story starts with assessing the news value of the information. Assessment of the information should be done from the point of view of the readers. Readers are interested in news that affects not only them and their families but also other people. Many readily identify with people in trouble; they are intrigued by those involved in controversy, with people at the centre of great events. This is followed by news gathering. The heart of the news gathering operation is the news room. Then come in the contacts and getting information from them even if it
involves making countless number of calls to them. Information can also be obtained from tip-offs and reading all the available documents related to the issue. After gathering all the information, the reporter has to start writing the story. The story can either give away all the important information in the first paragraph itself or it can be less mechanical and written on a more personal and human level. But in both the cases the report should state facts in the simplest and the most precise way possible. The story should be written in such a way that it holds the reader’s interest. The sentences used must be simple and this usually means that they should be short. However the sentences should not be made so short that they are staccato and disjoint. Use of simple and direct words will help to avoid vague phrases. Ordinary speech is a good guide for the correctness of news-paper English. As a newspaper journalist, try to use words which are in common use and which your readers will readily understand. The reporters should try and avoid the use of technical terms unless it is essential to the subject. The news story hence developed by the reporter should be followed up closely. Any further advancement in the story can provide material for a new report and it will also be easier for the readers to relate to it since it is something that they’ve already read about.
COVERING CRIME, COURT, CIVIC ISSUES, POLITICS, BUSSINESS AND COMMERCE, SPORTS- SPOT COVERAGE, FOLLOW- UPS AND DEVELOPING STORIES, WEATHER ETC. CRIME REPORTING Crime is a separate and a very important beat that is covered by all big and medium level daily news papers. There is tremendous public interest in crime stories and no news paper can afford to ignore them. Crime is a part of life. And it is the duty of a newspaper to write about what crimes are talking place in the country, state, city and to inform the readers about them. However crime reporting should be done not to satisfy the morbid curiosity of the readers or sensational mongering.
Things to be kept in mind about while reporting about crime • All though crime beat is assigned to a junior or a trainee reporter, the beat is a highly specialised and has a lot of responsibility. • The reporter should have good contacts and relations with the police department and other administrative departments. • He should have good knowledge about the penal code and laws on libel and others relevant matters. • He should avoid sensationalism and cheap gimmicks to gain the public’s attention. • He should not suppress news of public interest. • Should be able to tell what news is true and what is false • And the most important thing – He should not invade the privacy of a citizen The allegations of bad crime reporting are not entirely baseless. There have been cases were reporters have been found using unethical standards and causing pain and sorrow to the families to the victim and the accused. For example – a case in Bombay were 2 nuns were murdered brutally, a baseless allegations that given by irresponsible police officers that the nuns used to receive males visitors, was published. More recently it is the AARUSHI murder case that brings this fact into the lime light. Types of Crimes Fire, homicide, accidents are the common types of crimes. When you cover fire you have keep these things in mind• Number of people killed. • Extend of damage to property • Loss to valuables • Did the fire bridge respond in time or not. • Where there any eye witness and what did the have to say about the fire. Homicide • In case of a major accidents- rush to the scene as soon as possible • You should not depend on police information, most of the time the search for truth get hampered. • In case of dowry deaths refrain from levelling uncomfortable statements from one party or the other. • In case of rape and murder do not publish the name of the victim. Accidents • Before you go out you should find out and go prepared • When you cover a major accident information may not be reliable, so be sure to
check out your facts.
COURT REPORTING Many newspapers have staff whose job is to cover specialised areas like courts and council reporting. The best people to befriend in a court are the court ushers and the probation officer. For court reporting you need to be appropriately dressed and should have a pen and a notepad, as cameras and tape recorders are not allowed. Do not use court jargons....simplify them for the convenience of the readers or define the jargons. When a journalist reports the working of a court he or she does not have any greater privileges or rights than any other citizen. He should keep in mind that what he writes is • Fair and balanced • Accurate • You should correctly record any changes that are put to the defendant. • Any pleas that are entered • During the hearing record as many factual details as possible • Listen out for good quotes • It is quite difficult to write down every thing as the prosecutors tend to speak very fast, so ask them about any point you want clarification on AFTER the hearing is over. • When you write about court stories stick closely to the inverted pyramid writing structure • Start with the most important and interesting part of the story • Use descriptive details and colour, lively quotes and dramatic dialogues. • State background story If the story demands the reporter can be protected from any accusation of defamation. When you report a sexual offence you must not identify the victim nor can you publish the picture of the person unless the court permits you to do so. CIVIC ISSUES
Civic issues are all those issues which disrupt the normal pace of life of general public. These issues may range from potholes on the road to water-clogged streets, drinking problems etc. These problems are referred to the municipal corporation or more specifically the mayor of the city. While writing a report on civic issues it is very important to quote the source which is usually an official from the Municipal Corporation or any NGO dealing with the particular issue. Some examples of reports on civic issues are given on the next page. COVERING POLITICS Opportunities for political stories arise at all levels, from local ward organizations i.e. panchayats to the Lok Sabha or Rajya Sabha. It is unlikely that one reporter will have to cover all stages but it is extremely likely that he/she will cover individual stories from each level at various times. Local circumstances will inevitably affect the amount of news which can be wrung from them. In some areas a party committee will have nothing to do with the press while in other areas the equivalent committee sends in reports of its meetings and its officers feed stories to the local reporter. As in other fields of reporting, confidence in the reporter induces confidences from the contacts. Given this good relationship at each level, the field of politics- ward, municipal, constituency, regional and parliamentary- can yield a continuous flow of stories. At the top level of politics on a provincial newspaper is the local MP, who may even be a minister. His comings or goings, and speeches in the constituency, are normal material for straight news reporting. An MP’s home life is also a matter of interest to many readers whether they voted for or against. If the MP makes a speech in the house, the, local newspapers always have some facilities for reporting it, perhaps a correspondent in the House; MP’s themselves also send the reports of the speech. A local MP may also make a speech outside the newspaper’s area, but this might be newsworthy and the office will have to arrange coverage. To sum up: the pronouncements and attitudes of a local MP are of interest to both the supporters and opponents and must never be overlooked. One of the most useful local contacts, common to all parties, is the local Party Agent whose salary is paid by the local party association. He or she is always authorized to deal with the press and is in touch with day to day matters. If the reporter has any
queries then the agent is the 1st contact although the party might refer to an officer of the local party; such officers are always unpaid volunteers. A distinction the reporter must be careful to make is that a ‘prospective candidate’ must always be referred to as such; never a ‘candidate’ until he/she has been formally adopted after the election writ or a proclamation has been issued by the party. All the parties hold Annual Conferences. Agenda setting out resolutions and indicating their proposals are often issued to the press a week or two before the conferences. Some of these resolutions can make news stories in themselves. The news organization can cover a conference in two ways: • Either directly, • Or via an Agency or Correspondent. Direct coverage has an advantage that the reporter can mingle with the delegates and may be able to obtain background information which affects the debate. During an important election, with daily press conferences, various issues will crop up from day to day, and the candidates’ reaction to these will also provide more exciting copy than normal party- line attitudes. Candidates hit out at one another, commenting on remarks their opponents have made and thus inviting rejoinders. These three factors• Deviation, • Immediate Comments and • Personal attack- enlivened by verbatim quotes are the jam which many newspapers prefer to the rather monotonous bread and butter of the repetitive speech about party attitudes. Accuracy is of paramount importance in reporting politics in general and elections in specific. Misreporting can lead to grave consequences because a candidate can attribute inaccurate reporting of his/her remarks to the political prejudice of the newspaper- a charge which is difficult to answer if the inaccuracy is proved. Well aimed Questions can also sometimes tempt unexpected hot news answers from the person in spotlight. Newspapers and newspaper groups also organize polls, either about contentious issues or on the result of the election nationally, locally, or both. Some of these forecasts of results can be surprisingly accurate. BUSSINESS AND COMMERCE
Business and industrial news can range from a little story about a company employing 30 people making an obscure product to a front page lead about a major closure in a coal- mining area which can throw thousands out of work. Readers’ interest in an industrial story however limited in extent is good for circulation but it leaves the reporter no room for error. Many of the interested readers will have a personal, first hand knowledge of what the story is about. Even a minor fact going wrong can shake the reader’s faith in the story. Industrial news is concerned with either the • Product itself, • Its Distribution, • Development and Sales, or with • The various Influences, • Negotiations, • Disputes and decisions that are involved in production. Technical people employed in the organization are usually helpful in explaining things. However, in many stories technical knowledge is not required at all. Reporting on business presents good news opportunities because even local weeklies or dailies give business its own page. The only disadvantage being that a lot of space devoted to business in local newspapers is wasted on free advertising copy and other dull pieces. Some of the important sources helpful in obtaining business news are: • The firm itself: When reporting about the current or past financial situation about an industry, it is always useful to know as much as possible about all the firms constituting that industry. • Trade Councils: They always a play a part in local labor matters though their scope is not clearly defined. But probably the greatest virtue of the trade councils to a reporter is that covering its meetings can provide all essential details about the names of the various firms and union branches which were not known to have existed. In addition, the reporter also gets to know about the individual delegates holding important positions in the organization. • Disputes: They can be of various kinds but are extremely useful because of the amount of information that a reporter can lay his hands on. 1. Official strikes 2. Sit- Down strikes 3. Walk-Outs
4. Lockouts 5. Pickets 6. Inter- organizational disputes.- It can also involve the top brass of the company. • Employers: In industrial reporting, the reporter needs to remember that there are two sides to everything, since industry is collaboration between Capital and Labour. The reporter’s contacts cannot be among the labour side alone. The management side is usually is more accessible to the reporters inquiries. It is important that the information contacts should have confidence in the reporter because then the managements even tell off the record like, when a large contract is in the offing, to be confirmed when it is signed, Union branches may invite the reporter to hear an important speaker or sit through the private business meetings before hand. • Company Publications 1. In- House magazines 2. Annual Reports 3. Other statements of profit and loss analysis. • Employee and industry services: Job centers and unemployment benefit offices come under Employment services, an agency of the Department of Education and Employment. REPORTING SPORTS It is easy enough to report sport adequately; it requires inspiration and great care to report it really well. The reason being that in any section the sport section is the most predictable. Sports Reporting therefore, needs to be • Simple, • Fair and • Accurate It needs the imagination to grasp the way people feel about their team, the pride they take in a victory of the team. It also requires the most careful attention to the match. When a goal is scored the reporter needs to know who scored it, how the move began, and who passed the ball to whom. At Cricket it needs to be known whether it was a catching chance that the wicket- keeper dropped, or how the batsman who was scoring so well came to be bowled: did the ball spin into his wicket? Etc... Therefore, paying attention is the most important tool a sports reporter can use.
--Further, a reporter needs to have a fair idea of the game being played; because in most cases the copy has to be filed at immediate deadlines. --In a report some questions need to inevitably answer like: • Who played? • Who scored? • How did the score come about? • Who played especially well? • Was there a big crowd? • What was the weather like? • Did the weather affect the game in some way? • Was the ground slippery, hard, snow- covered or firm? • Was the ball slippery (rugby) or heavy (soccer)? Writing the Report Good sports writing, unlike news writing, is a mixture of fact and interpretation spiced with comment. It thus shares some of the elements of both news and features. This is because the reader wants more than just a deadpan recital of the game played. In writing up a match i.e. any sport two aims need to be kept in mind: 1. To capture, any vivid and memorable moments in the play. 2. To establish, in a blend of comment and fact, whether and why the match was won or loss or good to watch etc. The reporter should not forget that any sport is finally a drama. It has moments of inspired life: at Cricket for instance, the sudden capture of wickets, a batsman’s brilliant century, a thrilling partnership; at Soccer, a rush of goals; at Rugby, an exciting ending as the side well behind strives to get equal. Theses are the things that become the headline and intro to a story; the rest of the game can come in later in the report. Statistics play an inevitable part in the intro for the fans or the reader. A reference to Weather can also help in pushing a match report along. Imagery can also help the writer but the clichéd images should be avoided like: ‘hammer’, ‘punch’ or ‘battle of the giants’ etc... Words and openings • In any event, the reporter should be wary of not using the worn phrases of sport as mentioned earlier. • He/she should not get tempted by another trick of saying the same thing in 2
different styles. • Good sports reports obey the same rules as news reports in their structure. They need to start well with the most interesting and important facts. They need to answer the most obvious questions as mentioned earlier. • They like news reports need an unbroken line of thought from start to finish, and they need to end well. One can always start with the end of the match if this was the most interesting. • One should avoid openings which are negative in feeling. • In the body of the report, the writing and choice of words should reflect the pace and fortunes of the game. • Finally, one should not forget that sports are also news. Colour and Variety As well as having accuracy, a sports report can be given color and variety by a discerning writer by keeping an eye and ear for the unusual. Vocabulary One thing the sportswriter needs to master is the terminology of the game that is being covered. Here, it is assumed that the readers, whether the report has to do with cricket, soccer, rugby, horse- racing, ice- hockey will be familiar with the vocabulary and the basic rules of what they are reading. Therefore, the reporter need not explain an ‘off side’ or a ‘penalty kick’ but he himself needs to be aware of these terms, when filing the copy. SPOT COVERAGE Spot coverage involves covering news from the place of the story. For efficient and timely spot coverage the reporters should regularly make routine calls to the police officers, railway officials etc. Spot coverage plays a very crucial role where natural disasters have to be covered. It can also be used in case of • Human interest stories • Development stories (any story which makes a difference to the quality of life of
people. It is an off-shoot of human interest.) • Sports • Parliamentary proceedings • Courts
The reporter has the freedom to write what he/she has seen on the spot and hence direct observation in spot coverage is very important. THE FOLLOW -UP STORY On his way back to the office the news reporter will begin fairing his lead and start organizing his story, within the length set for it, if any has been set. If none has been, he will begin to evaluate it himself. A lead, if he is a competent news writer with imagination and an understanding of reader’s interest, will begin to suggest itself. Sometimes a particular story persists for a longer duration in a headline in a changing form as an event that is obviously more important than all those events that never made it to the newspaper in the first place. A follow up story is a continuing story likely to continue for more than just a week or two; the resources of the press are mobilized to cover it. Speeches sometimes have a main idea clearly emphasized. If so, the scribe’s job is easy. If the speech has several major ideas, then he must select the one of widest interest to the greatest number of readers. But sometimes a speech is old stuff or has no ideas or is trivial and platitudinous. Then he has a puzzle to solve. The problem becomes worse when the city editor does not sympathize with the reporter’s evaluation of the speech and orders him to cover it, anyway, for one reason or another of policy or obstinacy. All the reporter then can do is to repeat what he knows to be the old hokum, trying to make it as readable a story as possible. And if the speaker said absolutely nothing but what a wonderful little boy his new grandson is or how, when he was a college boy, he
did thus and so the writer can do nothing but report what he heard. Assuming that he has something to report, however, just how does he arrange his materials? Timeliness is one standard. Local interest is another. But whatever angle is stressed, a news writer has the ever-present task of making decisions. He must decide whether to start with a direct or an indirect quotation. Study of speech stories in the best edited publication reveals that the debate over this is coming to a settlement: in favor of the indirect quote. Therefore, in writing speech follow-up story, the reporter will start, usually, with an indirect quote giving either the main point of the speech or one of the main points if it has several. A compromise on this is a mixture of direct and indirect quotes, but it is a practice that some papers object to because it confuses the reader about who said what. After giving the lead a chance to present the feature of the story and the necessary setting (used more or less whether it is a local or a wire service story, or as in radio, going on a local broadcast or a network hookup), the news reporter is ready to write his second paragraph. This should give whatever is missing from the first about the occasion, attendance, and other important background. From there on, the story is mere quotation from the speech, but part of it is indirect. Direct quotes are the actual words of the speaker; indirect are the speaker’s words, quotes or his ideas in the reporter’s words. These two types of quotations are alternated because solid direct quotes are dull reading. So are solid indirect quotes. Use of quotation marks gives reality to the coverage and the absence of them around the indirect quotes reminds the reader that the reporter is summarizing. He knows, then, that he is not getting all of the speech but mostly its highlights. The writer should use “he said” or some such credit with each paragraph. If the authority is omitted in any one paragraph and the desk cuts an adjoining paragraph that carries the credit, the paragraph may be suspended meaninglessly within the story. WEATHER In case of weather stories the following topics can be covered:
• Destruction • Inconvenience • Forecast • How the citizens are being affected, number of people drowning etc. • How it is affecting the rickshaw pullers, hawkers etc • The report can be presented from a different angle. E.g.: In case of incessant rainfall, the report can talk about the effects of rain on the sale of umbrellas. We also had an in-class assignment on weather stories where we tried to incorporate the above mentioned points in our reports. Some examples of weather stories are given on the next page. Keeping in mind the objective of the module as listed in the syllabus, the following topics are also significant and should be elaborated upon… TWO STYLES OF WRITING The two most commonly quoted formulas in the traditional approach to news writing are: 1. The five Ws and one H These six questions are a useful checklist for news stories, and it is certainly possible to write an introduction that includes all these questions. In general, the six questions should be answered somewhere in the story. Once a news story has been written, one should check whether one has answered all the questions. Leaving out any one of the questions can weaken the reporter’s story. The questions included are: • What? • Where? • When? • Why? • Who? • How?
2. The inverted pyramid This is a formula for analyzing, teaching and practicing news writing. The purpose of the pyramid is to show that the points in the news story are made in descending order of importance. The first paragraph has the most important part of the news and this is followed by matter of less importance. News is written so that readers can stop reading when they have satisfied their curiosity without worrying that something important is being held back. Also, it helps in editing. The sub editors can cut stories from bottom up without losing something important. SPECIAL SKILLS REQUIRED TO REPORT NEWS What are the special skills required to report news? There are probably as many answers to that question as there are reporters, for few agree completely on what makes a good reporter. Given reasonable intelligence, most of the attributes of a successful reporter are acquired, not inherited. Perhaps the best qualifications for a reporter-aside from desire and ability to write for print-are insatiable curiosity, a flexible and social personality, a nature that relishes a variety of experiences, a temperament to work under the pressure of deadlines and a tolerance permitting objective observations of people and events. A successful reporter also needs ambition, drive, determination and most certainly self discipline. Journalism is not a logical career choice for anyone who does not enjoy writing. Anyone seeking a career in journalism should be aware that although much of a reporter’s work is routine, it is essential never to fall into the trap of treating a story routinely. Each story, whether it is about a local rose festival or an interview with the president, should be the best possible story the reporter can write at that time. There really are no dull stories, only unimaginative, lazy reporters. Most of the routine a reporter faces is part of a daily kaleidoscope of events. Assignments may change rapidly from the commonplace to the exciting. A reporter must be alert and fast-thinking to move smoothly from one assignment to another when stories vary greatly in news value. Reporters work under a great deal of pressure much of the time. They constantly race against the clock to meet deadlines, so another important attribute is the ability to
work calmly under pressure. Perhaps the most difficult challenge facing every reporter is the ability to separate personal beliefs and biases from what is being written. A good reporter simply must take a position as an unbiased witness in reporting the news and accurately interpreting facts. News Reporting I (Broadcast) Print, Broadcast, Cyber Journalism- SWOT, Comparison Print Broadcast Cyber Visual Impact None. Hence it lacks on immediate impact It is all about visuals. In fact the script is written so as to compliment the visuals It does utilize visual effects. However emphasis lies on text. Presentation Techniques Print medium has minimum presentation techniques to its disposal, which include photographs and font sizes Text, video inputs, audio inputs, graphics, animation. Broadcast has numerous mediums to make the bulletin involving. It has all the tools of the Broadcast medium. The only advantage it has over broadcast is that it gives it audience a chance to decide what they wish to see. Hence it provides everything in brief on one page and different links leading to the detailed report. Documentation Copies of newspapers can be preserved and used for research purposes. Bulletins once broadcasted cannot be retrieved again. The web-pages are available in the archives of the web portal and information can easily be extracted from it. Analysis and backgrounders They usually have the advantage of time over other mediums also since electronic had already exploited the basic facts to the optimum print to stay up in competition has to come up with news stories that go beyond the apparent. It gives in facts and figures in great detail explaining the incident, the situations leading to the event, expert analysis of the event and consequences. Electronic has to provide news immediately. This is one of the drawbacks of the medium that one has to work in very tight timeframe. A news channel is expected to report the event within half n hour of its occurrence or the competition will. Thus, after an event news bulletins carries facts and figures and analysis, panel discussions etc. follow. Sense of immediacy is at its apex in cyber medium as it is the fastest means of transferring information. Thus, it is expected to deliver the news fastest. Interactivity No interactivity. Feedback through letters to the editor long after story
is printed Interactivity is almost nil. Though in some case such as phone-ins and sms are used to bring in the opinion of the audience. High level of interactivity. A webpage visitor can read an article and immediately comment on it.
ENG- All Aspects Impact and Challenge: Electronic News Gathering (ENG) is the basic method of gathering and editing pictures and words. ENG technology is relatively standardized and has three important technical features: Helical Scanning: The small and lightweight ENG cameras record the picture and sound signals to a small tape where they are put at a slant rather than at a horizontal position like before. Portability: The trend is towards smaller tape sizes advancing portability. For eg: Camcorders, Cameras weighing 10 to 15 pounds and charged coupled device (CCD) camera. Ease in editing: Editing is fundamental to TV news. There are two editing techniques, namely, linear and non linear editing. In non linear editing a digital compression technology is used. The basic benefits that ENG provides as a technology, concept and a philosophy to television news are deceptively simple. These are speed, editing flexibility and mobility, a direct result of its advanced technical features. ENG has a broad impact on local television news. New skill sets have evolved that mix technology and journalism in the editorial process. The recording has moved from the confines of the studio to the field which needs team spirit as station personnel (such as sales and promotion people) are also involved in it. ENG also has an impact on the way people who hold the key news jobs do their work. The priorities for a station are “Get it first, but first get it right.” Television News Reporters work with three channels of information: words, pictures and sounds. The reporter monologue of standing at the scene and telling what has happened is called a standup. Sound bites are when an interview taken at the scene of action is edited to add some more information to it. Compiling and editing all these elements provides us with a package, a self-contained story on a videotape or disk with its own beginning, middle and end.
Live reporting involves the most difficulties for reporters. Reporters must be able to think and talk and sometimes even move all at the same time. With electronic field equipment, microwave vans, and mobile satellite uplinks, the videographer is a member of a powerful team and the key figure in visual news gathering. Videographers need three qualifications, photo skills, news appreciation and some electronic training. Inside the news room the assignment desk manager is supposed to process the raw material provided by the reporters. The raw report is sent back by microwave and is in the form of a live shot, which is further subdivided into two categories: live-tape coverage and live-live coverage. ENG co-ordinators have the job to work with reporters, editors and technicians in liaison. Producers are key newsroom decision makers, executive producers being the most senior in authority. In looking at the impact of ENG on television news it can be said that technology is something to be learned and mastered but it is no more important than learning any other skill or craft. Journalists should look at technology as a means towards a goal, which is to create messages that are clearer, easier to understand and more useful to the audience. ENG Technology: A Non Technical Guide- No matter what part of the news gathering process they work in, broadcast journalists today are dealing with cameras, recorders, microphones, lights and other electronic equipment to get the pictures and sounds from the scene of an event to the television station’s news and control rooms. The different parts of technology to be handled are camera, lighting, sound, newsroom computers etc. Story telling: The structure of TV News- Structure is central to all communication, whether nonverbal or verbal. Structure is involved in the way individual television news stories are produced, shot, edited and aired within the larger framework of the newscast, itself a structured unit. For the television journalist, structure is an even more important concept because of the way the communication with the viewer takes place. The task of journalism is also to explain and interpret the importance and significance of news events. Editing is fundamental to journalism. News reports are stylized versions of events. Five distinct aspects are involved in structure of news: Showing and Telling: Technology makes it possible to bring pictures of a news event to people as it is happening. This makes it more likely that they really did “see” at
least some part of the event. Television news, however, is more than just pictorial coverage. It “tells” the news with pictures in motion including news sounds, and with words spoken by anchor-persons, reporters, and news makers. The link between pictures and words is crucial. The Relationship shared by Anchors and Viewers: Another ingredient is that the audience is watching the anchorpersons and reporters tell the news. The personal dimension is an integral part of the television news communication process. The audience and anchorpersons are involved in an emphatic relationship. The audience respects the anchors. The audience may be forgiving about personal frailties but they are not forgiving about professional failures. The audience likes to get news from an anchor it likes and develops a strong loyalty because of a likeable anchor. Storytelling: How the authors tell and show a story is also extremely important. The authors believe what takes place is a dialogue between the anchors and the audience. Viewers participate in the process by posing questions to the television set. So the story must be structured so as to answer all the important points. Linear News: Broadcast news is linear. Writing is simpler, short sentences, conversational words. It is not only easier to read out aloud but also easier for the audience to understand. Viewers get the news in a flow of information that is constantly moving forward. Even within a story the structure is linear which includes: the beginning or the Lead, the middle or the development of facts and details and the end or the conclusion. In the same way, television news is arranged in a logical arrangement, a logical progression and forward movement where stories are shown in an ascending order of importance to maintain the viewer’s attention. Visual Structure: Visual continuity in television news is everybody’s responsibility. There has to be a flawless visual-word matching process. Editing: Editing is essential. It is perhaps more essential to clear communication of thoughts, ideas, and information than the news gathering function. All editors must be able to focus, clarify, condense, synthesize and analyze. Editors are also packagers. They have to stick closely to the two concepts of structure and linearity. Through this randomness in stories are edited. Also, focus is given to the significant and interesting elements of the news. Pace, mood and tone is set to the news story and a logical progression through the stories, segments and entire programs is also ensured. Writing: The Leavening Agent- The idea is to combine words and pictures into a
story in which the words and pictures are purposely created and edited to synchronize with and complement each other. This kind of writing is challenging. The basics of broadcast news writing are based on simplicity in a conversational style which include: Writing short, direct, simple, declarative sentences Using Active Voice Reading the news aloud Avoiding abbreviations and Symbols Using Contractions Being extra careful with names Using phonetics Being vary of numbers Using standard punctuations Spelling correctly Reporting: Reporters go out and gather the facts and process them into news stories. They usually do the initial writing, editing, and narrating of those stories. Without reporters, there would be no news. Reporters have several ways of gathering facts and information. Online search abilities as well as the capability to research through records and documents are a must for reporters. There are two basic avenues to a reporting session: First Hand Reporting: This includes witnessing events. Also the beat system is a traditional journalistic structure which promotes the idea of a specialist having special knowledge or training about a field. Interviewing: The most basic information gathering of a reporter includes interviewing. The main steps involved in taking an interview include planning the goal of the interview in a proper manner, researching the person and the topic the interview is all about, thinking up a lot of relevant questions on the topic, organizing the interview to perfection, scheduling the interview in a businesslike manner and then executing it properly. There has to be clarity of expression the way the interview is being conducted so as to make both the audience and the interviewee feel comfortable. Producing the News: Television news involves a group of people in a group effort. A television station’s staff is a complex structure. Producers are the key people in television news. They are commanders, directors, managers, organizers, and above
all, journalists. They have a lot to say about the stories to be covered in the channel. They are also often at the centre of live reports. The thing that count most is the producer’s ability to keep a firm control at a time when being flexible leads to either success or disaster. ENP- All Aspects Electronic News Production involves the systematic collection… Electronic News Production takes place using - ENPS (Electronic News Production System), which is a software application, developed by the Associated Press's Broadcast Technology division for producing, editing, timing, organizing and running news broadcasts. The system is scalable and flexible enough to handle anything from the local news at a small-market station to large organizations spanning remote bureaus in multiple countries. The basic organization of each news broadcast is called a "rundown" (US) or "running order" (UK). The run-down is a grid listing scripts, video, audio, character generator data, teleprompter control, director notations, camera operator cues, and timing estimates for each section of the broadcast. ENPS integrates scripts, wire feeds, device control, and production information in a server/client environment. On the server side, ENPS runs an identical mirror server (called a "buddy") at all times as a fail-safe. If the primary server fails, all users are redirected to the buddy server until such time as the primary comes back on-line. All document changes are queued on the buddy and copied back to the primary automatically when it returns to production. Device control can be managed either through a serial interface, or the MOS (Media Object Server) protocol. MOS functionality is included in the base ENPS license, but may be an extra add-on for the device that needs to interface with ENPS. MOS items such as video or audio clips can be added directly to scripts, and then used by third party software and devices during the broadcast. The ENPS client is primarily driven by ActiveX controls pushed from the Internet Information Services (IIS) on the server side. The client, therefore, will only run in the Microsoft Windows operating system.
Electronic News Production involves the following crew: • News Editor
• Script-writer • Script-editor • Voiceover Professional • Sound Recordist • Producer • Production Assistant • Production Manager News Editor Editing is the process of preparing language, images, or sound through correction, condensation, organization, and other modifications in various media. A person who edits is called an editor. In a sense, the editing process originates with the idea for the work itself and continues in the relationship between the author and the editor. Editing is, therefore, also a practice that includes creative skills, human relations, and a precise set of methods. Television News Editor This person is the key to the whole thing. He or she is will most likely take control of a number of bulletins on an entire day, deciding what goes in and what comes out and the order in which it does so for each bulletin. The news editor will be under the overall control of the news department, who will be responsible over all for decisions in style, news values and will be called in regularly to discuss emergencies and sensitive issues. The news editor will have to be very much on top of the news of the day constantly checking the wires, reading the newspapers, listening to the radio and constantly checking on what the opposition is reporting and how they are reporting. Much of this will be done by the assistant editor who directly reports to the news editor. The news editor has the final say of the content of the programs assigned to him or her. News editors work closely with sub editors who will check and vet reports handed in by reporters, journalists and researchers. Script Writer A Scriptwriter writes scripts for a teleserial, a documentary, or adapts a novel or a story for television. The job profile requires him/her to be a wordsmith using short, crisp sentences and pithy language that add meaning to the plot but do not duplicate the visual.
Script Editor A Script Editor/Supervisor conducts the service as an intermediary between the Scriptwriter and the Producer, and even commissions new work. Script Editor often supervises the shooting script on the floor/location and may make changes in the script if required. A literary background and experience in theatre are ideal for the post. Voiceover Professional Voicing/dubbing is a field that offers extreme flexibility, a great deal of choice and independence. A voice over artist lends his or her voice to the bulletin. Sound Recrodist Sound Recordist/Engineer performs complicated work in sound recording studio with complex electronic gadgetry and simply picks up everything from the response of an interviewee to the muffled snatches of chats as people whisper among themselves or the pitter-patter of raindrops. Producer Since a Producer has overall control of a project and conceptualises or contributes to the idea on which a program is based, nothing can be incorporated in a programme without his/her consent. The Producer manages the programme budget, schedules various rehearsals, recording and shooting. The producer is also responsible for casting and selection of the news anchors. Production assistant This is an entry-level job. Production Assistants provide support to a programme from commencement to conclusion. They attend all programme-planning meetings, keep minutes of the decisions and follow them up. They ensure that the film or video looks like one seamless whole as though shot without a break. This calls for keen observation. Production manager/Project coordinator The responsibility of a Production Manager is immense. He/she organises the technical and other equipment, fixes editing schedules in consultation with the Producer-Director, signs up with studios, and usually arranges for every logistical
detail. Camera Person The Cameraperson's contribution is immense in the success of a TV news bulletin. He or she must have the ability to see the uncommon in commonplace situations and the extraordinary in the ordinary. TYPES OF TELEVISION NEWS STORIES
Anchor-read/ dry: This is a news story with no pictures. It is read by the presenter and is usually no more than three or four sentences or 20 seconds long. They are visually less interesting than other types of report. However, they may lead a news programme if there is an important breaking story or which no pictures are yet available. VOSOT: VOSOT stands for Voice-over on sound tape. When a voice-over is used to lead into a sound bite, it is called a VOSOT. VOSOT stories are usually used when a reporter was not assigned to do a package or the producer decided the material was not strong enough, or of enough interest to the audience, to warrant the time necessary for a package. Top-field package: This type of news story is usually a longer-report and includes a reporter’s script interspersed with clips, graphics, actuality (wild track/ real sound recorded on location) and sometimes music. Live in-studio: This type of story is shot live in a news studio. It happens usually in case of breaking news stories for which the visuals are not available with the network. In such a case, the anchor speaks about the news story as and when it is happening. It could also a discussion by a panel of speakers on an important issue or could be the interview of a famous personality. Live: on the field This is also done in the case of a breaking news story where the reporter reports live
from the place where the story is happening, In this case, the reporter is able to show visuals of the place where the story is unfolding. Graphics only: This news story will include any still photographs, maps, charts, courtroom sketches, written statements, etc. These can make a short report for a bulletin or form part of a package. Interview: The next type of story is the interview. The aim of such a story is to find out as much information as possible from the person who is being interviewed. In case of television, the person being interviewed is called a ‘talking head’ or simply ‘head’. Reporters should always research the subject ad find out as much information they can about the person they are about to interview. A good place to start this is by going through the od newspaper clippings or video or audio files and informationproviding services on the net such as Google, Yahoo, etc. The purpose of the interview could vary depending upon the story that is, it could be a human interest story or could simply be an attempt to find out more about the newsmaker. Therefore, the reporter must decide beforehand what kind of information he or she is looking for. An interview can be shot live or could be a recorded before the telecast of the news. It could be done in the studio by the anchor or on the field by the reporter. It could also be a telephonic interview in which case the picture of the person being interviewed is flashed on the screen for viewer convenience. Hard vs soft news: News can basically be categorised into two: hard news and soft news. Hard news includes stories of a timely nature about events or conflicts that have just happened or are about to happen, such as crimes, fires, meetings, protest rallies, speeches and testimony in court cases. The hard approach is basically an account of what happened, why it happened, and how viewers will be affected. These stories have immediacy. Soft news is defined as news that entertains or informs, with an emphasis on human interest and novelty and less immediacy than hard news. For example, a profile about a man who designs model aeroplanes or a story about the effectiveness of a diet would be considered soft news.
Features: Features are those stories that focus on people, places or issues that affect readers’ lives. A story about the growing number of babies suffering from AIDS could be considered a feature news story. Its isn’t less important than hard news. But it isn’t news that has happened overnight. However, a feature story can be based on a news event. Instead of just being a factual account of the event, it features or focuses on a particular angle, such as human interest reactions. Breaking news story: flash If the action or event occurred the same day, then the event or action is called a breaking news story. These stories have to be filed as they are happening. Breaking news story: developing In this case, the news story has already been conveyed to the viewers. All that the reporter or anchor is doing at this point is filling in the viewers with details of what has further happened in the story and how it is developing. It happens on the same day as the breaking news story only a few hours later. Follow-ups: This is also a part of the breaking news story. Only, in this case it does not happen on the same day as the event. In this case, the reporter talks about the events that have followed the main story, that is, what kind of impact has been created by the main story. These stories are, therefore, called follow-ups to the main story. PTC- ALL ASPECTS INTRODUCTION: Most reporters like to enhance their reports – and their reputations – by appearing on camera from time to time. These shots, known as pieces to camera (also known as stand-ups or stand-uppers) usually feature the reporter standing in front of the scene in question, or hopefully something relevant to the story. If this is a carnival with lots of color and movement, there is no excuse for the kind of stand-upper which has a blank wall in the background. This has been described as ‘execution photography’ where the reporter is put up against a wall and shot! The action should be used as the backdrop. It adds variety and shows audiences that the TV station goes where the news is – to the war zone, fire or factory opening – and that its reporters are out and
about. The PTC can be used at the beginning of the item to set the scene, in the middle to act as bridge linking two threads of the story or at the end as the reporter’s way of signing off: TV’s equivalent of radio’s signing-off cue. PTC’s and stand-uppers are usually short – their static nature can slow down the action and the reporter’s memory may not be very good. For court cases, where quotations need to be accurate, or stories involving statistics or numbers, then a notebook is not only accepted but may well enhance the PTC. After all, if you are quoting the judge and you look at the notebook, then the viewer is more likely to believe you. Another useful trick for the retentively challenged is to write the entire commentary and speak it into a portable recorder. You can listen back through a concealed earpiece and take your prompt from that – but never try this live; that’s too risky because if it goes wrong you could stumble badly. If none of these solutions is available and there is too much to remember in one take, the commentary can be split over two takes and joined by cutting from a long shot to a close up. At times the reporter might have to voice the entire script on location. This can happen when the deadline is close and pictures have to be sent back quickly. Where voice-overs (VO) are to go over natural sound on film or tape, the VO should be made in a quiet location such as a hotel room or inside a car. If they are to go over a portion of silent footage, then the background sound in the VO should closely match the sounds behind the stand-upper or other items to prevent a stop-start effect in the background. This may mean recording the VO in the same location. The PTC or stand-up gives a reporter a physical presence in the story. In fact, in most cases, the use of a stand-up has more to do with “branding” the story for a particular reporter and news service than anything else. One exception to this is court stories, which, even with the services of a good court artist, often suffer from a shortage of pictures, making a piece-to camera an essential part of the narrative. PRESENTATION OF THE PTC: In news items, PTC is usually about two sentences long. It is delivered by the reporter looking into the camera lens and talking directly to the viewer. Like so much else in broadcast news and current affairs, the tone will be conversational but that doesn’t mean reporters ad lib their pieces to camera. In most cases, they work out the sentences and memorize them. Some prefer to record their script and cue themselves
from an earpiece concealed under their clothes. The PTC is usually in the middle or at the end of the story. Students learning to report often ask how it is possible to PTC at a news scene when they haven’t written the rest of the narration. The answer is that reporters usually develop a mental template for the story either before they leave the office or – in the case of an emergency rounds item – when they’re on the scene. This allows them to script and deliver a stand-up confident that it will fit into the completed story. But one reason this works is that the PTC generally contains quite basic material that is bound to form part of the narrative. PTC allows viewers to forge an image of the people who report the news and it’s assumed they enhance viewer loyalty to a particular service. They also give reporters a public identity which can be useful when they are chasing stories. Sources are more likely to ring back if they have seen you on TV. The framing of stand-ups is a matter of fashion and varies over time. It’s currently quite common to see the reporter standing still and framed in mid-shot or close-up, positioned to one side of the frame with their body turned very slightly away from the camera but looking straight into the lens. A PTC is not there so that you can get your face known by thousands. This may be the spin-off but it’s not the purpose. It must be an integral part of the story. PTC’s are an important part of today’s television style. It’s felt that if the public recognizes the presenter\ reporter, they will trust them and tune in with more dedication. Clearly, if celebrities are reporting, the public will want to see them, rather than just hear the voiceover. In news operations, PTC’s are encouraged, especially at the end of a report, because it justifies a series of as many as a dozen station indents in the space of only half an hour. How else could you get the phrase BBC News repeated over and over? Sadly, due to sloppy reporting, many of these pieces add nothing to what has gone before. The art is to find something relevant to sign-off with whilst not setting up a whole new line of enquiry. WHY DO A PIECE TO CAMERA? PTC’s are particularly useful in the following situations:
To explain complicated facts or statistics. Sometimes a graphic would be boring whereas a picture of you standing in the appropriate location and explaining things can make the message more palatable. To demonstrate. A PTC describing a piece of machinery, a garden layout or how to drive a vehicle means you can point to the relevant parts and even experience the object at first hand. A PTC on a sailboard, for instance, really demands that you demonstrate the complexity of the sport by falling in! It gives the camera operator the chance to get big close-ups of the thig in question which otherwise be static and very boring to see without you being involved. To add drama. In investigations, a PTC can be a handy tool when you need to brandish a leaked report or make accusations. To turn corners. Frequently an item will start off with information about how an event began and what happened. However, the end of the story maybe about how the issue is to be solved. There is, then, the corner in the middle of the movie that needs to be turned – a PTC is ideal. To comply with stylistic demands. Frequently programmes require as part of their branding that presenters speak to the camera rather than the voiceover shots. It may be because the presenter is a celebrity. It maybe because it adds warmth and a direct familiarity with the audience. To overcome lack of shots. This is a very practical consideration. Sometimes you won’t have time to get the necessary shots. A PTC in these circumstances will save the day. If you haven’t got the pictures of the poor conditions in the hospital because the local trust won’t let you in, then the obvious alternative is to talk about the situation in a PTC outside. It may be a “last resort” but it often adds drama: “It is within the walls of this hospital that the allegations have become the most alarming. It is claimed that patients entering by the door behind me, into the casualty department, might get no further into the building than that corridor for up to fourteen hours, no matter how ill they are. To overcome lack of editing time. Any filmed item takes time to edit. In the space of five minutes it is easily possible to have to cut more than 50 shots. How much quicker it is to pop in one good PTC lasting 30 seconds? To leave audience with a thought WHERE TO DO A PTC? Choose a place that is as relevant to the story line as possible in the time and within the budget. News reporters inevitably dash to the front doors of government
buildings where the plaque outside clearly states “Department of Health,” for example. This does not mean it is actually the best place. Given half a chance, they might have preferred to do a PTC in a helicopter hovering over a hospital where they could demonstrate dramatically how swift and vital an air ambulance can be. Choose a place where the background sound is not going to obliterate your words or external elements make you look awful. The helicopter is a good example. Such a PTC would have to be carefully rehearsed to ensure that the chopper blades and the draught weren’t going to drown your voice and distract from the information you are trying to get over. However apt the location is, it maybe technically impossible to achieve a PTC so be prepared to make compromises – but don’t give up too quickly. For example, you may wish to stand outside an estate agent’s shop on the High Street to talk about the difficulties of getting a mortgage but when the cameraman looks through the lens he can see himself reflected in the glass behind you. Perhaps the only way to get rid of that reflection is for him to move to a different angle which means that it is not now obvious that it is an estate agent’s shop. Editing I DIFFRENCE BETWEEN WRITING AND EDITING Writing and editing are both parts of the writing process. Writing is a series of activities that begins with thinking clearly about the document before it is written and concludes with putting it down on paper, whereas to edit a document is to revise it, usually for publication in printed or online form or for oral presentation. Editing involves making changes designed to help the writer communicate effectively by making the document more appropriate for the audience, more accurate and correct. To be effective editors must understand the difference between writing and editing. On one level, the difference between writing and editing is simple: writing produces the words in a document, and editing changes them. Many teachers and communication professionals distinguish between the writing activities that produce a first draft of a document – invention (coming up with what to say) and composing (figuring out how to say it and getting the words down) - the editing activities are revising, rewriting and proof reading. However, these activities often overlap. For example the writer and the editor must consider the audiences familiarity with the
material and the interest in it The relationship between writers and editors often links their activities. For example, editors are sometimes asked to help writers develop their abilities, especially in companies and government agencies where the writers are engineers, scientists, technicians, and other business specialists rather than communicators by profession. Editors often provide other professionals with guidelines for better writing. Writing well requires a writer to think clearly, to be thorough, and to say what he or she has to say in simple, straightforward way. Good writing is impossible without good thinking without focusing on a topic, defining it and developing it logically and fully whereas editors should distinguish the activities that take place after the writer has put the words on the paper-rewriting, revising, editing and proofreading- from the actual writing. Editing is distinguishing these actions by limiting the term writing to a writers thinking, planning and writing down his or her ideas. Editing is also making the writers work more precise.
EXPRESSION AND COMMUNICATION
What is communication? Communication is a process of exchanging ideas and information. It is an active process; it involves encoding, transmitting, and decoding intended messages. There are many means of communicating and many different language systems. Speech and language is only a portion of communication. Other aspects of communication may enhance or even eclipse the linguistic code. These aspects are paralinguistic and nonlinguistic. Paralinguistic mechanisms signal attitude or emotion and include intonation, stress, rate of delivery, and pause or hesitation. Nonlinguistic clues include gestures, body posture, facial expression, eye contact, head and body movement, and physical distance or proxemics. In short communication can be defined as: The activity of communicating; the activity of conveying information Something that is communicated by or to or between people or groups Communication is the process of exchanging information usually via a common system of symbols.
"The interchange of ideas or objects between two people or terminals. The four facets of communication: 1. Sender 2. Receiver 3. Information and 4. Behavior Sender is the person who communicates the message Receiver is the person to whom the message is directed Any message is sent to convey information and This information is sent to change the behavior of the receiver. What is expression? • The expression on a person's face; "a sad expression"; "a look of triumph"; "an angry face" • Expression without words; "tears are an expression of grief"; "the pulse is a reflection of the heart's condition" • The communication (in speech or writing) of your beliefs or opinions; "expressions of good will"; "he helped me find expression for my ideas" • Saying: a word or phrase that particular people use in particular situations; "pardon the expression" Expressions play an important role in communication. What needs to be communicated can be done with the help of expressions. For example a gloomy expression conveys the message that the person is sad or in pensive mood, a smile expresses happiness, content, satisfaction etc. CONNECTION BETWEEN WRITING AND READING What is reading? Reading is the process of retrieving and comprehending some form of stored information or ideas. These ideas are usually some sort of representation of language, as symbols to be examined by sight, or by touch (for example Braille). Other types of reading may not be language-based, such as music notation or pictograms What is writing? Writing skills are essential for succeeding in high school, college, and at a job. If essays and papers stress you out, keep in mind, writing is not just an end result, but also a process that helps you develop your ideas and think logically.
Writing is defined as the process of inscribing characters on a medium, with the intention of forming words and other larger language constructs. The instrument or instruments used for recording, and the medium on which the recording is done can be almost infinite, and can be done by any instrument capable of making marks on any surface that will accept them. Writing can be done even on a grain of rice, and has been done as well with individual atoms. Most forms of writing are very durable, potentially lasting. What you read influences how you write and can become your teacher without you being aware of it. For example, if you read Great Expectations before writing a paper your writing will probably start to sound similar to Charles Dickens'. Of course the same goes if you read "Teen People." Note sure what to read? If you liked a book you read in class, ask your teachers to recommend others like it, or read more by the same author. Reading is also a great way to conquer writers' block. Reading helps exercise your mind and get your ideas moving again. Of course, a great way to prevent writers' block is to write more. Write More You've heard it before, but this advice never gets old: practice makes perfect. The more writing you do, the better you'll get. And as your skills improve, so will your enjoyment. Here are a few ways some students write outside the classroom that you might want to consider: Keep a journal of your thoughts and the events of the day Start a zine with your friends on topics important to you Write letters to the editor of the magazines and newspapers you read When you're in the habit of writing -- no matter what kind of writing it is -- papers and essays won't seem as difficult. RESPECT FOR THE READER A good reporter must respect his readers. It basically involves two criteria: 1. He should keep in mind not to hurt the reader’s sentiments. 2. He should never undermine the reader’s right to information. All the other finer points that a reporter needs to keep in mind is either related to one
or the other of the above main points. Added to this, every news-house has a particular policy to which the reporter needs to adhere. These are to give guidelines to the reporters how to cover a story so as not to hurt public sentiments and still get the crux of the matter. Journalistic ethics form a big part of an organization’s policy. Some examples to elucidate issues which involve respecting the reader are given below: 1. Issues of multicultural sensitivity. 2. Issues of women (molestation and rape etc.) 3. While addressing issues related to the minority groups. 4. While addressing news related to ‘special people’. 5. Sensitive issues like AIDS should be intelligently addressed so as to respect the readers’ feelings. 6. Issues related to gender, race, geographical and ethnic background influence interpretation, so special care should be taken . 7. Language and cultural differences should be kept in mind. Also the readers’ intelligence should not be under-estimated. “Dumbing down” the contents is an insult to the reader. It means to reveal less information than actually acquired by the news-house thinking its readers not fit enough to absorb it. But care should be taken not to make the content unnecessarily complicated and common terms should be used for easy understanding. Nothing less than the complete information should be made available to the reader, except in cases of ‘censored information’ which may cause tension and unrest if released in public. This brings us to the point of ‘censorship’ which means ‘control by legally designated authority (usually governmental or religious, sometimes even in-house policy) of what is said or written’. A good reporter needs to keep all the above points in mind. LISTENING
For a journalist, listening and listening ‘well’ is a must skill, specifically for two main reasons: 1. Listening becomes vital so that he does not miss any important detail which would be useful in covering the news. 2. Listening also opens up news avenues to collect interesting and worthwhile information which can help to build stories later. Paying attention to details always helps because we never know when and what can make news for tomorrow. So a journalist should always be on his guard. While taking an interview or asking questions from witnesses he should not be so concerned with himself that he does not fully hear their replies.
When the source is talking, encouraging him by ‘active listening’, nods and murmurs helps the journalist to get more details relevant to the issue being covered It may also help to just catch onto some word, non-verbal gestures or unwanted silence and research it, which may build a new story! If not listening properly, unanswered points can slide by the journalist. Listening also helps a good reporter to catch suspicious answers and honest errors. QUALITIES, ATTITUDE AND SKILLS OF AN EDITOR The editor is a person through whom passes all the news, articles and features meant for the daily news paper and his job is to choose, select and fashion out of this enormous raw materials, finished products which will be of a quality and standard desired by the readers of his newspaper. The sub-editor has to rewrite defective passages, to reduce lengthy reports and supply introductions where necessary. But his main job is the supervision, revision and recasting the material supplied by the reporters and correspondents of the newspaper. “He can exalt, he can transform, he can slay.” An editor should be: 1. Responsible 2. Proficient
3. Speedy 4. Intelligent 5. Well-informed 6. Resourceful 7. Confident 8. Intuitive 9. Particular about detail and reputation 10. Good in the language he edits 11. Firm in the basic principles and language of typography 12. Clear in understanding when rewriting is necessary and when it is not.
Editing also demands many intangibles: 1. Judgment 2. Scholarliness 3. Memory 4. Aggressiveness 5. Motivation 6. Curiosity 7. Imagination 8. Discretion 9. Cynicism 10. Skepticism Not only should he know his job, he must love every story. He should be motivated by a fierce professional pride in the high quality of editing. The most desirable quality in an editor is the ability to turn out clear, accurate and interesting copies without hesitation and inhibition. Flexibility and adaptability are the other essential qualities. He should have an accurate sense of news judgment. The ideal editor has an orderly mind, a sense of proportion, the power of quick and accurate work, a store of general knowledge and ability to use it promptly, the faculty of rapid decision, the habit of carrying on in a situation of haste and excitement without getting disturbed or harassed, a gift of concentration and a team spirit. He should avoid procrastination and recheck a story after he completes his work on it.
Six Qualities to make a Good Editor: 1. He should enjoy reading and writing, otherwise will soon find editing boring. 2. He must be ready to change the copy, whoever be the author and have abundant self confidence. 3. He should have maturity to handle all sorts of copies. 4. He should have a suspicious streak and willingness to express skepticism. 5. He should have breadth of interest and knowledge, must have wisdom as well as knowledge. 6. He must have the stamina and equilibrium to go through the pressures of a deadline. But in-spite of all these innumerous qualities and skills of a good editor, the fact remains that no one can tell an editor how to edit. It is an inborn quality.
THE EDITORIAL DESK (ORGANIZATIONAL STRUCTURE)
Wire Service Tele-printers
Paper’s own correspondents Flow of Copy in Newspaper Office Specialist writers such as legal or agricultural correspondents
District reporters, part timers
HANDELING OF SUCH VOLUMINOUS FLOW IS ORGANZEDBY DIFFERENT DESKS
Commerce desk Organizational Management Mofussil Desk
EXPLANATION OF THE DESKS The general desk It is the nerve center of the newsroom operation. It has the responsibility for deciding the day’s allocation of space and for planning the paper as a whole. It must be in constant conference with the news editor, with reporters, other desks and press staff. The newspaper’s news judgment, layout, tastefulness all depend on the men operating in the general desk. Sports, Commerce and film desk These desks are usually manned by specialist reporters, analysts and sub- editors who virtually run their own empires, the editor and news editor exercising their supervisory authority only on special occasions. The same is true for the Sunday magazine department. Mofussil or District Desk
One desk that deserves a special attention but is usually neglected is the district desk. The popularity of a newspaper outside the metropolitan cities is determined by the sustained coverage of the far-flung areas in the districts. Since the district correspondents are not trained journalists, special care has to be taken in managing the mofussil desk. It may even be worth considering whether district correspondents should be encouraged to send their reports in their mother tongue, which could be later rewritten by the sub-editors on the desk The district editor may write to a contributor asking for a particular. A staff correspondent in another state capital may propose a story idea to the news editor in a letter. The editor may respond to an outside contributor’s proposal for a special article. There might be correspondence coming in or going out about payments, coverage arrangements, working facilities, legal notices. It is important that all news is routinely informed of these so that they would have a clear idea of what is going around them. Being informed is being prepared. The larger the organization, the more crucial becomes the need for the coordination. For coordination a circulating file is to be made. Copies of all letters and memos will be kept in this file. DESIGN AND LAYOUT There are literally hundreds of elements that make up a newspapers design, but the design itself has only three main components: • Organization • Pattern • Structure. The design reflects the organization of the content of the newspaper – which sections go where, what features are anchored in which pages and so on. The design is the pattern of visual presentation – the rhythm or consistency of how the pages look day in and day out. The design is structure – what kind of type is used for body copy, which type for headlines. How many columns of type on one page, and so on.
Choosing a newspaper design forces everyone involved to focus on what newspapers should be doing best – communicating ideas and information to their readers. The newspaper’s design should encompass the complete and total awareness of every element that is published. A design team that merely designs a page, without understanding the elements of the paper’s organization, pattern and structure, has failed as designers. Even at the same paper, no two editors will work the same way in selecting and laying out elements for a page. However, there are some suggestions applicable universally for doing a page layout. Remember, many of these steps happen simultaneously. Layout begins with a close look at the space available on the page; usually a page dummy (a mini-version of the page) will show if there are ads on the page and where such ads should run. The editor briefly visualizes the actual size of the page and amount of space available. Because the amount of space available is fixed, depending on whether it is an open page or a page with advertising, the editor counts the number of stories planned for the page. He decides how many inches there are for words and which stories will lead the page. The visual elements are placed on the page first. The photos are cropped and sized for optimum effectiveness. Many pictures can be used slightly larger, or slightly smaller; these flexible pieces can help make the page work more easily. If informational graphics are planned for the page, we must realize that graphics have far less flexibility than photographs have. Next, the number of inches the visuals will need is totaled. Having established the space requirements for all the stories, photographs and graphics, the editor subtracts any ‘furniture’ needed for the page, such as a nameplate, or page header or common logo. Although there is no set formula, editors try to maintain a ratio between words and visuals; the ratio is of 40 percent to 60 percent.
TEAMS The newspaper appears the way it does due to the harmonious symbiotic functioning of the newspaper’s many parts. There are several teams in a newspaper agency, each with its own responsibility. These teams work independently and mutually and try to produce a worthy newspaper. Two such teams are:-
• The Art Team: - Responsible for all graphics and art.
• The Printing Team: 1. Looks into the relevance and the positioning of news pieces, graphics, pictures, etc. 2. Would try and explain the feasibility of printing certain graphics or pictures.
They together decide on the possible direction, size and nature of the graphic. The art team should ask questions if any points are unclear. If the graphics editor or the printing team can’t answer those questions, the reporter should be brought into the discussion. Sometimes on more complex graphics, the artist and the reporter will work as a team, discussing and tailoring the graphic until both are satisfied. The printing team would be a part of this process as well; making sure the graphic meets standards set by the newspaper and also satisfies the needs of the reader. The graphics editor works as the mediator here. When the graphic is being drawn, the graphics editor should be aware of its progress and be able to answer any questions from the art team. Such questions could range from a concern about the placement of information to confusion over data for the graphic. The graphics editor must answer these questions quickly, and he does so by working jointly with both the art and the printing teams. When the art team is finished with the graphic, the printing team needs to check it for accuracy. They examine the graphics overall visual approach, and consulting with the graphics editor, they double-check. In these ways the art and printing teams work closely in producing newspapers. ADVERTISING AND CIRCULATION Newspaper advertising is a popular avenue for consumer approach. It is influential in economical living, business growth and community progress. There is convincing evidence that such advertising can bring about lower prices, greater profits, reduced selling costs, and increased turnover. There are several types of advertising, general,
local display, legal and classified to name a few. One of the primary goals of newspaper publishing is to carry a large volume of advertising, the newspaper’s chief source of revenue. Another is to keep the advertiser satisfied with results. There are two avenues therefore that an editor and the advertising department of a paper should work on. They must strive to improve the advertising service and to develop advertising volume. This can be done by maintaining a good organization; knowing advertising needs and values; inducing merchants to plan; selling contracts and campaigns; producing dependable and attractive copy; giving point-of-sale aid; obtaining dealer cooperation; handling orders, proofs and records efficiently; and making a fair charge for advertising. Circulation – the number of newspaper copies sold and paid for – is the foundation of a newspaper’s success; it is the basis of all revenue. It is true that newspaper sales account for less revenue that advertising, but circulation is the force that makes advertising pay. Without it there would be no advertising. Circulation is also a measure of the paper’s service; the greater the circulation, the stronger the evidence that the newspaper is fulfilling its obligations to the community. The chief responsibilities of an editor and his circulation department are selling the newspaper, delivering it and collecting for it. Although these functions are distinct and separate, they are closely related. In most newspaper organizations, the carrier performs all three duties, but often there are persons who do nothing other than sell, deliver or collect. Experienced sales personnel and collectors are often used by the editor to supplement the carrier’s work in these areas. There is no established standard for circulation building. Most papers want all the readers they can get, but in certain condition that would be unprofitable. Today there is a tendency toward concentrated circulation in a close-in territory. Advertising and circulation are just two more aspect in the panorama that is the newspaper agency.
Elements of editing types of copy – reports and features
A copy flows to the editor’s desk from a number of directions. Some if it comes in publishable form. Some of it needs a touch here and there. Some if it needs extensive, revision. To cope with this never-ending task of editing, revising and rewriting copy a staff of specialists is developed. Editors make decisions about how copy is to be handled and do some editing themselves. They are responsible for pages and departments – city editors, metro editors, news editors, state editors, lifestyle editors, business editors and sports editors. The copy editors and copy desk work mostly with copy after it has been written, revised and rewritten. Much of the time and effort spent on editing, revising and improving news copy would not be necessary if the news writer had done a better job in the first place. News writers should be aware of the standards for publishable copy in their newsrooms and should do their best to deliver well-written copy to their editors. Several categories of copy account for most of the work of revision: • Stories published in earlier editions that need improvement or updating • Stories originating with the wire services, supplementary news services, bureaus, regional correspondents and stringers. • Stories originating with public relations or public information people who work for businesses, industries, state and local government, the federal government, universities, the armed forces and service agencies like the red cross or the community chest.
Common weaknesses in News Copy: No two news stories are alike, and it is impossible to draw up a hard and fast list of writing problems that weaken news copy. But there are some common weaknesses: • Badly written copy: Much news copy submitted by news writers is so badly written that it must be revised or rewritten to tighten it up, improve the lead, eliminate clutter, and make the story clear. • Wordy copy: Some copy is too long because it is padded with unnecessary details, uninteresting quotation and superfluous words. • Wrong leads: Many news stories have the wrong lead. Sometimes the writer uses the wrong angle and the story has to be turned around to bring a more interesting or more important fact into the lead. Wire service copy and press releases are often rewritten to bring local angles into the lead.
• Unprofessional copy: Much news copy, especially written by stringers, club publicity chairmen and other outsiders, must be revised to conform to news style, to eliminate padding and details that are too commercial, and to improve organisation and structure.
• Out-of-date copy: News copy is often rewritten to update it. A continuing story, a trial, a criminal investigation or a major disaster may require a new lead for every edition of the newspaper over several days. Yesterday’s stories are frequently revised and updated to bring new information to readers. • Missing facts: News stories often have to be revised to fills gaps in information. People in the story may be inadequately identified, technical terms may not be fully explained, background that would make the story more understandable may be omitted. Editing a Report The final stage in the process of writing a report is editing and this stage is a significant one. Thorough editing helps to identify: • spelling mistakes; • awkward grammar; • breakdowns in the logic of the report's organisation or conclusion; • if you have really fulfilled the requirements of the report and answered all parts of the question. Ideally you will have ironed out any major problems in the redrafting stage of writing, and made sure that you have answered the question or the report task; however, thorough editing will allow you to make the minor adjustments or changes to expression that can greatly improve the flow of your report, or make your ideas clearer. Attention to content as well as surface errors in the editing stage is also an integral part of editing your work, just as editing is an integral part of the report writing process. A good editing plan of attack is to check your report thoroughly for a particular aspect, then check thoroughly for another aspect. An editing checklist can be a useful tool to help you learn to edit your report and check it is as complete as possible. Grammar and punctuation
Every language form has its own conventions and rules. The language used in news writing and reporting similarly has some conventions and rules that differ somewhat from the way things are done in other varieties or dialects of the language. Some of the common grammatical problems of news writing are : Word order: the words in English sentences are arranged in a consistent manner. In the most common sentence structure, we find nouns first, verbs second and another noun after the verb: the familiar arrangement of subject + verb + direct object, like this: Example- Subject- The President , Verb- addressed, Direct Object: The Congress Normal word order: this word order has distinct advantages in communicating, because it is normal, usual and familiar. Listeners or readers encountering a noun/subject are able, because they recognise familiar word order, to know what is coming. Because sentences are put together in this way are straightforward, simple and understandable, they are commonly used in news writing. If we study the front page of almost any newspaper, we will find that probably four out of five news stories begin with sentences that consist of a subject + verb + direct object order. Beginners too should follow this pattern and strive for clarity and conciseness. Special effects: occasionally, for effects, we change things around and arrange words in a way that is a little out of the ordinary. We change emphasis and with it some elements of meaning. For example, take this sentence from a story in The New York Times: Rare is the Vietnamese in Saigon who buys Tin Song. The small pro-government afternoon newspaper. Putting the adjective at the beginning instead of at the end of the sentence has the effect of emphasizing the key word, rare. Note the difference when the sentence is restructured and its elements put in normal word order: The Vietnamese in Saigon who buy Tin Song, the small pro-government newspaper, is rare. Therefore, special effects are used to call attention to some word or phrase in a sentence and also have the power of waking up readers and making them pay closer attention to what we are writing. Obviously the opportunity to use this kind of sentence, and make sense, doesn’t come along every day. But there are occasions when a shift in normal word order can be useful. List of names: newspapers frequently have to publish lists of names in news stories:
names of dead and injured in accidents, names of people elected to office, names of people competing in various events, names of people charged with crimes. A useful journalistic device is a reversal of normal word order. You start the sentence with the verb. For example: Charged with murder and armed robbery were Michael Clark, 21, of 7624 S. Normal AVE.; Nathaniel Burse, 23, of 50 W. 71st St. ... and so on. Few readers would wade through that list of names if it preceded the verb-as it should in normal word order. In presenting lists of names, a non-normal order works best. Many newspapers, including some of the most carefully edited, accept these inverted constructions. Other newspapers prefer normal word order and introduce lists of names like this: Those charged with murder today are..... The dead are... Sequence of Tenses: Ordinarily the principal verb in a sentence determines the tense of the verb that follow it. For example: He tried to do a good job whenever he was asked. He does whatever he likes. This is a normal and expected usage. But sometimes strict adherence to normal usage can cause confusion in meaning. For example: The Governor said that his state was rapidly becoming an urban state. The sentence is correct if we follow the normal use but with a little reconstruction the sentence would sound more grammatically correct and logicalThe governor said that his state is rapidly becoming an urban state. The Passive Voice: the active voice has its place but the passive voice is also highly useful. In the example that follows, the first sentence is in the passive voice, the second in the active voice. Which in this instance, is the more usual ? Smith was struck by a pitched ball. A pitched ball struck Smith. Clearly, for the subject matter, the first sentence is the more usual it is in the passive voice, a construction that gives the injured player the emphasis. Because the elements closest to the beginning of the sentence get the most attention, the writer had to decide which element to emphasise and then select the grammatical construction that will do the trick. Placement of modifiers: although modifiers can be placed either before or after the words they modify, their placement is guided by meaning, not whim. A modifier in the right place means one things. In another it may mean something entirely
different. Right and wrong words: the selection of the right word is very important in news writing. The right word communicates- the wrong word fails to communicate or communicates the wrong message. It may also mark the writer as careless or illiterate or both. Parallel construction: this device is used a great deal in news writing and is neither mysterious nor difficult to execute. Examples of parallel construction include itemized leads listing dead and injured, lists of itemized names of one kind or another in the body of a news story. For example: Promotions effective with the beginning of the fall semester: James Smith, instructor, to assistant professor. Elizabeth Deeds, assistant professor, to associate professor. Mary Laird, associate professor, to professor. This list may go on, but we can see the way parallel construction is done. Some common punctuation problems: Linking punctuation: The colon, the dash, the hyphen and the semicolon are used to link words and parts of sentences. The colon: It is used to link an introductory statement and a list that follows in a separate paragraph or paragraphs. It also links an introductory statement and a list or itemization of points. It is also used to link an attribution or speech tag to quoted material. The dash: A single dash is used to connect the main part of a sentence with a subordinate part. The hyphen: The hyphen is used to link two or more words together, to link numbers and words, to link letters and words and to link prefixes to words. The comma: The comma is commonly used to separate figures. It is also used to separate words in a series, but in news writing the final comma before and and or is omitted. The semi-colon: The semi-colon is used to separate the lists to separate items grouped together- for example, in lists that include names, ages, addresses, titles or other descriptive items. Parentheses: Paired commas or paired dashes can be used to set off parenthetical matter. Parentheses are most used for enclosing and setting off single words, initials or brief interpolations.
Is to regulate the flow of information History and Orientation Kurt Lewin was apparently the first one to use the term "gatekeeping," which he used to describe a wife or mother as the person who decides which foods end up on the family's dinner table. (Lewin, 1947). The gatekeeper is the person who decides what shall pass through each gate section, of which, in any process, there are several. Although he applied it originally to the food chain, he then added that the gating process can include a news item winding through communication channels in a group. This is the point from which most gatekeeper studies in communication are launched. White (1961) was the person who seized upon Lewin's comments and turned it solidly toward journalism in 1950. In the 1970s McCombs and Shaw took a different direction when they looked at the effects of gatekeepers' decisions. They found the audience learns how much importance to attach to a news item from the emphasis the media place on it. McCombs and Shaw pointed out that the gatekeeping concept is related to the newer concept, agenda-setting. (McCombs et al, 1976). The gatekeeper concept is now 50 years old and has slipped into the language of many disciplines, including gatekeeping in organizations. Core Assumptions and Statements The gatekeeper decides which information will go forward, and which will not. In other words a gatekeeper in a social system decides which of a certain commodity – materials, goods, and information – may enter the system. Important to realize is that gatekeepers are able to control the public’s knowledge of the actual events by letting some stories pass through the system but keeping others out. Gatekeepers can also be seen as institutions or organizations. In a political system there are gatekeepers, individuals or institutions which control access to positions of power and regulate the flow of information and political influence. Gatekeepers exist in many jobs, and their choices hold the potential to color mental pictures that are subsequently created in people’s understanding of what is happening in the world around them. Media gatekeeping showed that decision making is based on principles of news values, organizational routines, input structure and common sense.
Gatekeeping is vital in communication planning and almost al communication planning roles include some aspect of gatekeeping. The gatekeeper’s choices are a complex web of influences, preferences, motives and common values. Gatekeeping is inevitable and in some circumstances it can be useful. Gatekeeping can also be dangerous, since it can lead to an abuse of power by deciding what information to discard and what to let pass. Nevertheless, gatekeeping is often a routine, guided by some set of standard questions. Conceptual Model Source: White (1964)
Related to gatekeeping in media. For gatekeeping in organizations this model is not recommended. Favorite Methods Interviews, surveys, networkanalysis. Scope and Application This theory is related to the mass media and organizations. In the mass media the focus is on the organizational structure of newsrooms and events. Gatekeeping is also an important in organizations, since employees and management are using ways of influence. Example A wire service editor decides alone what news audiences will receive from another continent. The idea is that if the gatekeeper’s selections are biased, the readers’ understanding will therefore be a little biased.
Feature Writing I ELEMENTS OF NEWS WRITING AND FEATURE WRITING- HARD AND SOFT NEWS What is News? News is any new information or information on current events which is presented by print, broadcast, Internet, or word of mouth to a third party or mass audience. What is news writing? News writing attempts to answer all the basic questions about any particular event in the first two or three paragraphs: Who? What? When? Where? and Why? and occasionally How? (ie. "5 W's"). This form of structure is sometimes called the "inverted pyramid," to refer to decreased importance of information as it progresses. What is a feature? A feature story (also known as a feature article) is an article in a newspaper, a magazine, or a news website that is not meant to report breaking news, but to take an in-depth look at a subject. While there are no precise guidelines on the differentiation between features and news stories, features are often significantly longer than news articles, are more likely to be written from a personal perspective, and unlike news stories do not always deal with the events of the immediate past. What is feature writing? Features are generally written in a different fashion from news stories, sometimes taking several paragraphs to arrive at the main story while trying to engage the reader and keep them reading by employing narrative hooks. Feature stories often delve deeper into their subjects, expanding on the details rather than trying to concentrate on a few important key points. The writing style of the articles can be more colorful and employ a more complex narrative structure, sometimes resembling the style of a nonfiction book more than a news report. What is a photo feature? A photo feature is one where more emphasis and importance is given to the photos or pictures. For e.g. A feature on an art exhibition held will definitely require for the photographs of the art work to be shown. The main aim of a photo feature is to
basically create a visual impact on the minds of the readers. This makes the reader more involved in what the writer is trying to convey. What is a news feature? A news feature is basically to inform the reader about actual facts. This feature is not meant to entertain the reader but to inform and educate him. For e.g. A feature on the after effects of the Tsunami will not be meant to entertain the reader but to keep him informed about the problems caused due to the destruction by the Tsunami. ELEMENTS OF FEATURES The elements of features can be enumerated thus: 1) Timeliness: In feature writing, time is of the essence for a good impact. Like news, it helps when features are delivered fresh. No one wants to read features that are mis-timed, nor do we want news that is stale. Readers of newspapers and internet and television viewers respond to mint-fresh features. 2) Nearness or Proximity: It is a known fact the world over that features and news about nearby topics are preferred to those from remote locations. It is a natural inclination. Events in close proximity rouse more curiosity and interest in the reader. 3) Fame or Prominence: Activities and habits of the rich and the famous have always fascinate people. More people will avidly read a feature if it is related (directly or indirectly) to a reigning celebrity in films, television soaps, industry, sports, politics or science. 4) Conflict and Break-up: Peace, goodwill and mercy are all very fine, but human beings still find delight in other’s quarrels, fisticuffs, verbal exchanges and conflicts. Features on angry break-ups and conflict of any sort are widely read. 5) Love and Romance: Love makes the world go round. Love is also a perennial favourite when it comes to writing features. One can rarely fail with a love story. 6) Nostalgia: Special occasions, Jubilees, Centenaries, anniversaries, etc. are nostalgic occasions. It reminds the busy world of its own institutions, their key
figures, their long-forgotten achievements and the values they stood for. 7) Human Interest: Ordinary people always wonder how other ordinary folk and celebrities cope with life’s little problems; their personal idiosyncrasies, their rise over hurdles and object poverty. Also, their bravery under pressure, all make for a good read. “Human” includes women, children, pets, and even trees. 8) Impact on People: How people are affected by new technology and gadgets, new budget measures, or new security issues like cyber-crime, terrorism and global warming and other environment issues, can be covered in features 9) Oddity or Novelty: People love to read features on the city’s tallest man, or oldest church, child prodigies in chess, grannies of 84 who works on the computer, a man who picnics in space and why Indians have now more cell-phones than landline relics. Readers love newer, quicker ways of doing old things and the latest and cutest female and fashions. 10) Calamity or Disaster: ‘One touch of nature makes the whole world kin’ said the poet. The disaster in space in the Columbia shuttle, the silent plight of sea-birds in an oil-spill evoke instant sympathy. 11) Celebrity Lifestyle: It is the common man’s obsession these days to gather more of the ways of the world’s rich and famous live, their problems, food tastes, clothes, idiosyncrasies, clubs, private lives and unusual interests. Profiles in Sunday newspapers/magazines, page 3 write-ups and television chat shows depict their opulence, while centrespread pieces define their views on life. One needs to master the art of interviewing VIPs. 12) New movements: in the past 50 years, 3 international movements have caught out people’s attention – the Consumer Rights stir; the Feminist agitation and Environmental causes. Educated readers keenly want to know about their progress. Feature writers should have an early grounding in such movements. It will help them immensely both in their social standing and in writing numerous feature. INVERTED PYRAMID In writing news reports, it is the Inverted Pyramid pattern that we follow. Here was start with the climax (called the ‘lead’ or the ‘intro’), and as the story unfolds, we
receive less important details. Here the end may be “cut to fit”. In features and in films and television soaps, if one were to follow the inverted pyramid pattern, it would kill interest.
FEATURE FORMAT The format for writing features is opposite to the one used when writing hard-news articles. The inverted pyramid does not hold well when we write a feature. On the other hand, when we read a novel or a short story, see a film or a television soap opera, sit entranced viewing a stage play or write a feature, the story follows a similar pattern. This pattern is called the Upright Pyramid. As time goes on, we meet more characters in the story; there are linkages, inter-relationships, and a muddle in the middle. The story builds up to a Climax, or a satisfying conclusion.
More Characters And Muddle In Middle
All effective features share four characteristics (or tools) which attract readers, and whose absence turns off readers. These attractive tools are: • Focus • Description • Anecdotes, and • Direct quotations
An effective feature follows the format of the Upright Pyramid as well as incorporates the above mentioned tools.
VARIETY OF FORMATS/FEATURES When taking up feature writing one is faced with several options. There exist a multitude of themes on which a feature can be written. A few of these are discussed below. Human Interest The ‘human interest’ feature is easily the most popular article among newspaper and magazine articles. Because, unlike a professional, un-emotional, clinical and statistical news report, the human interest features focus on the human and humane aspects of our lives. The depiction tugs at our heart strings because of the
sympathetic rendering of the more emotional aspects of any event – be it a fire, floods, stampede, riots, earthquake, or an environmental disaster like Chernobyl or the Exxon oil-spill. Usual accurate and statistical newspaper and television reports (with their 5Ws and 1H strait-jacket) tend to pack in too many facts and figures, for their human and emotional aspects to survive. Human interest stories, “side-bars”, colour stories and features help to ‘humanise’ the happening in simpler terms and put readers at the trouble spot. Writers of human interest stories are those who like people, who relish the inconsistencies and frailties of men and women in their reactions to the problems around them. In writing human interest stories, the tendency is to go overboard, exaggerate, make tall claims and over-write. It is important to exercise restraint; avoid over-writing, and be accurate so that your credibility is never damaged.
Lifestyle Features these days include Lifestyle articles, which have a huge and growing readership. In some ways, it is a symptom of the frantic, stressful lives we lead, unrelieved by comforting tidings. These ‘soft’ and ‘feel-good’ features are often displayed, embellished by a cartoon or illustrations. Quite often, the lighter depiction forms the basis of a ‘humorous editorial’ in a day or two. If anything, this colour and display proclaims that not everything has to be about the seamier side of life, such as terror, death, destruction, murder and mayhem. The various topics possible covered by lifestyle features are:
Seasonal and Festival India’s cultural calendar is a cavalcade of joyous community festivals of different religious groups and linguistic groups. These festivals fall on specific days in the
respective religious calendars and link their celebrations with a magic, seasonal flavour. This variety of seasonal festivals spawns a variegated array of features throughout the calendar year. The list of topics on offer to the feature writer is:
TRAVALOGUE, TOURISM AND ADVENTURE FEATURE Travelogues and tourism Among the new entrants to the genre of feature writing are the ‘travelogues’, which deal with the mix of travel, tourism and the hospitality industry. Today we find a steadily growing number of domestic and international tourists keen to see our ancient heritage. Thus, feature writers need to provide information through sensitive writing, promotions and highlighting of the tourism venues. Feature writers are needed in large numbers to create a good ‘image’ a tourist destination. This is done by photo-features, collages, travelogues and reportages. Travel Literature Travel literature typically records the people, events, sights and feelings of an author who is touring a foreign place for the pleasure of travel. An individual work is sometimes called a travelogue or itinerary. To be called literature the work must have a coherent narrative, or insights and value, beyond a mere logging of dates and events, such as diary or ship’s log. Literature that recounts adventure and conquest is often grouped under travel literature, but it also has its own genre called outdoor literature. These genres will often overlap with no definite boundaries. This article focuses on literature that is
more akin to tourism.
Types of travelogues Travel literature may be cross-cultural or transnational in focus, or it may involve travel to different regions within the same country. Accounts of spaceflight may also be considered as travel literature. Fictional travelogues make up a large proportion of travel literature. Although it may be desirable in some contexts to distinguish fictional from non-fictional works, such distinctions have proved notoriously difficult to make in practice, as in the famous instance of the travel writings of Marco Polo or John Mandeville. Many "fictional" works of travel literature are based on factual journeys – Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness), presumably Homer's Odyssey (c. 8th cent. BCE) – while other works, though based on imaginary and even highly fantastic journeys – Dante's Divine Comedy (1321), Jonathan Swift's Gulliver's Travels (1726), or Voltaire's Candide (1759), Samuel Johnson's Rasselas (1759) – nevertheless contain factual elements. Travel journal A travel journal, also called road journal or travelogue, is a record made by a voyager. Generally in diary form, a travel journal contains descriptions of the traveler's experiences, is normally written during the course of the journey, and may or may not be intended for publishing
THE ‘APPLAUSE’ FORMULA A good feature should suggestively have APPLAUSE formula. Prof. C. Schoenfeld had discovered the acronym for a good feature. • A Appeal • P Plain facts • P Personalities • L Logic • A Action • U Universal/ Unique
• S Significance • E Energy/ Enthusiasm APPLAUSE provides another approach to elusive search for the perfect feature. ROLE OF PUBLIC INSTITUTIONS AND NON-GOVERNMENTAL ORGANISATIONS (NGOs) IN OUR SOCIETY The term, non-government organizations (NGOs), refers to all groups not formed and run by governments. To be sure, NGOs have already flourished in all layers and facets of society in response to unmistakable popular demand. And they represent the human desire for self-organization coming into fruition and having their presence in society keenly felt. NGOs are growing in numbers all over the world so fast that it is very hard to keep count. The rise of countless NGOs reflects the popular recognition of public causes and passion for collective participation. This is a phase every country must go through on its way to a citizen society. It is also a symbol of a society developing toward maturity. Obviously, the government plays the central role in building national security and upholding public causes, but no government alone has the ability and resources to take care of all public affairs on its own For instance, educating future citizens should be the responsibility of the government, parents and the society together. The government's role is to formulate standards and promote education, while parents are expected to be role models of their children in everyday life. But that is not all there is to it, as every member of the society is influencing the younger generation through their own behaviour. Such influence can be exercised through individual expressions as well as through citizens' organized actions designed to assist the government in spreading ethics and supporting the rule of law. The government is not the Jack of all trades, and the public can no doubt step in with its own resources to contribute to the building of a harmonious society whenever necessary. NGOs supplement the efforts made by government. Local NGOs reach the grass-root level and provide relief to the disaster- affected people. The primary role of an NGO in times of disaster is to provide: • selfless, voluntary, non-discriminating service. • joint action/programmes at the national level • public awareness through the mass media Raising funds for relief of victims and rushing emergency relief by providing food,
clothing and health checkups are standard responses of any NGO. They also help in rebuilding the community