Lab: Converting a TV Script to a Web Story

From Briggs, Journalism 2.0:

Writing for the Web should be a cross between broadcast and print — tighter and punchier than print but more literate and detailed than broadcast writing. Write actively, not passively.

Good broadcast writing uses primarily tight, simple declarative sentences and sticks to one idea per sentence. It avoids the long clauses and passive writing of print. Every expressed idea flows logically into the next. Using these concepts in online writing makes the writing easier to understand and better holds readers’ attention.

Strong verbs are extremely important – no passive verbs!

Your assignment, worth 10 points, is to convert a broadcast script into an AP style news story for the Web. Apply the concepts listed in this conversion guide by Cory Bergman of LostRemote.com.

First, we’ll watch the story twice (it starts at the 7:45 mark), reading along with the script the second time:

The Daily Update: Monday, April 25 from SMU-TV on Vimeo.

Before you start writing, read through the script again to determine what holes (if any) you’ll need to fill for the written story. After that, you may need to follow up to ask about who said what, and what role/title these people have. Feel free also to insert details that you observed while watching the broadcast package that are not apparent in the broadcast script.

In your story, you do not have to follow the same order that the script does — although you can if you want. You also will need a new lead that quickly gets to the point of the story and skips the anchor intro.

Remember, accuracy is just as important for the Web as it is for the print product. The same standards of fairness, attribution, accuracy, relevance and newness still apply. And follow AP style! Here is a list of Top 10 AP Style Tips from cubreporters.org.

Happy writing!!

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