How to Write a News Script
By Ethan Pendleton, eHow Contributor
Whether you're reporting the news on radio or on television, you need a script to make sure the
information you distribute is both accurate and communicated effectively. Even though it may
seem that the best newscasters are reporting off the cuff, they are actually working from a script
they read either from paper or from a teleprompter. Like with any kind of writing, producing
news scripts requires adherence to specific rules and conventions. Best of all, once you get the
format and diction down, it's easy to produce scripts with great speed.
1. Assemble all of the facts. This is probably the most important step in writing your script.
In addition to talking with officials, witnesses and other people important to the story,
you also should consult legal documents related to the story. Police reports, for example,
may contain information that an official forgot to tell you.
2. Understand the grammar most commonly used in news stories. According to Newscript,
the beginning paragraph on most news stories (also known as the lead), is composed of
simple sentences that contain only one subject and one verb. For example: "Lima Town
Councilor Gary Carew proposed additions to the town sewer system." In subsequent
sentences, avoid words such as "however" and "furthermore," as the complicated
sentence may get lost in your listener's ear.
3. Organize the rest of your script by providing the background for the story, and then what
is happening to change the situation. For example: "For many years, Lima residents
complained about insufficient drainage. Councilor Carew promises that the overhaul will
eliminate the periodic flooding that has occurred in low-lying areas."
4. Transition between each of your stories in a graceful manner. The University of Southern
California provides examples of transitions in and out of commercials and in between
stories and anchors. This is an opportunity to "tease" the important stories that are
coming up to keep the viewer's attention. A sample transition might sound like the
following: "When we return on Action 5 News, we'll tell you about a local high school's
effort to raise funds for a student dealing with chronic illness."
5. Consider how the story will sound to the ear before you go to air. As CyberCollege points
out, a listener or viewer cannot return to a sentence he didn't understand. A broadcast
news reporter must employ clear sentences that logically follow each other. Read the
script aloud to yourself as a final check, to catch problems in your script that your eyes
might have missed.
How to Write a Script for a Television Newscast
By Erica Green, eHow Contributor
Broadcast copy must be written for the ear, and viewers only get one chance to hear
the story. Television news journalists have less than two minutes to tell a story. They
must choose only the most important information to convey to the audience and
immediately grab the reader’s attention.
1. Keep it conversational. Viewers do not have copies of the script and cannot
go back to reread something they missed. Use simple words expressed in a
2. Grab the viewer’s attention. Television news stories must capture the
viewer’s attention or face the possibility of losing the audience. Leads act
more like a newspaper headline, demanding the viewer’s attention.
3. Use strong nouns and verbs to write a script. Match the writing to the video
to accurately portray the story. Let the pictures convey feelings and
emotions. Employ action verbs to tell the story.
4. Make it short. Anchors can read only so many words without gasping, and
viewers can only absorb so much information at one time. Convey one idea
per sentence. Most television news stories are under two minutes. Choose
the most important information that the public needs to know.
5. Enhance the story. Reporters add a standup, a segment during which a
reporter speaks on camera conveying important information. Other reporters
use sound on tape to communicate quotes and interviews.