TV NEWS PRODUCTION Page 1 of 7 Glossary of TV News Terms IN THE CONTROL ROOM CNN Air - The CNN viewed on television, including the commercials. Master Control - Where the commercials are inserted. Control Room - The heart of a TV studio, where the entire broadcast is put together. CNN Program - The CNN viewed on television, excluding the commercials. CNN Preset - The image that will air next. Monitors - Television sets. Graphics - Images/pictures, not moving video, usually computer generated (i.e. maps, logos) Fonts - Text/words (i.e. anchors name or location) Sometimes called Chyron the brand name of a popular video titling system. Audio - Any sound that is inserted into a broadcast (i.e. music, sound effects or speech from talent) Teleprompter - System from which the anchor reads the news stories. Blue Screen Effect or Chroma Key - Technology that is frequently used by meteorologists. The effect has the capability of replacing the color blue with an image. PRODUCTION ROLES Producer - Responsible for formatting a program, deciding which stories will go on the air and when, and how much time will be spent on each report. The producer also assigns a writer to each story. Sometimes called the News Director. Director - Responsible for the technical production of a newscast, segment or documentary. The Director prepares the technical crew before production as well as guides them through the actual shoot or newscast. The director follows scripts and orders from the Producer. Technical Director - Operates the video switcher and is responsible for all the changes TV NEWS PRODUCTION Page 2 of 7 in video during a newscast. The Technical Director acts as the Director's right hand by keeping track of the timing of packages and other video elements. Anchor - A person who reports and coordinates a newscast, typically from a studio. Correspondent/Reporter - A person who reports news from a distant place. Talent - Program anchors, reporters and correspondents who appear on camera. Photog – News photographer (or videographer), the person who operates the video camera in the field away from the studio. Editor - Person(s) responsible for assembling production elements for a news program. Edits the Track, SOT, B-roll, and NAT sound to create a cohesive story. PRODUCTION ELEMENTS Tease - Show short clips of an upcoming segment in a show. Script - Written version of a news report. Track - Recording of the reporter's voice, used to edit a package. Recorded audio portion of a package script that is not sound on tape. B-roll - The video viewers see while hearing the reporter’s track. NAT Sound - Natural sound. Sound that naturally occurs and is recorded by a microphone while a photographer is shooting. VO (Voice Over) - Anchor or reporters words heard underneath other pictures on tape. Audio not recorded in the field. SOT (Sound over tape) - A short taped comment from someone directly involved in news event. Selected portion of longer interview. Package - The fully independently standing report. "Packaged" to include video and sound and contains the whole story. Open - First segment of show, a brief summary of what packages will be in the show; essentially a group of teases. Set - A setting for video production or news cast. Lead - Script read by anchor(s) to set up and introduce a reporter's package. Tag - Script read by anchor(s) to conclude a package. Can be used to add timely information effecting a story. TV NEWS PRODUCTION Page 3 of 7 Writing a basic news story TYPES OF NEWS Hard News - An event or information that happened, is happening or is about to happen. The hard news headings of the day tell of the important happenings. Soft News - The “human interest” stories tell of how those happenings have impacted the people, places, etc. surrounding the story. FIVE QUALITIES OF NEWS Proximity – people are interested in things that are happening around them Timeliness – what is happening now Conflict – two or more sides to every story Human Interest – humans like to see other humans Unusual nature – viewers are always interested in the unusual ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS – THE 5 W’s + H Who – Who is involved? What – What Happened? When – When did it happen? Where – Where did it happen? Why – Why did it happen? How – What are the causes or conditions? TV NEWS PRODUCTION Page 4 of 7 BASIC STRUCTURE OF A NEWS STORY 1. The lead - Ask yourself what the story is about. Try stating the idea in one sentence of fewer than 25 words. 2. Statement of the problem or conflict: What caused the action in the lead? 3. Backup for the-lead: Provide lesser details about how and why. 4. Impact or significance: Was there any impact on the viewer? What is the significance of the story? 5. Background: What background was relevant to the current action? 6. Attribution: Make sure you tell or show the viewer where or from whom you got the information. 7. Ending: A good quote, the final action or the next step. WRITING THE SCRIPT A news story is much like a conversation. It begins with the most interesting piece of information or a summary of the highlights to gain attention and works its way down to the least interesting facts. The most important The Inverted pyramid details are first... You should be very familiar with the inverted pyramid style of writing. You'll likely use it every day. When you Then the details of lesser call a friend to tell them about something, you begin by importance... telling the most interesting and important things first. The least The least important information is saved for the end of important the conversation, and depending on how much time you details are have to talk, that information may not get into the last. conversation. The inverted pyramid style of writing is used in news writing. The lead summarizes the most important details of the news story, and includes some or all of the five Ws and H. TV NEWS PRODUCTION Page 5 of 7 Sample News Lead Bargainers from General Motors and UAW Local 160 will meet in Detroit this morning seeking to end a day-old strike over the transfer of jobs from unionized employees to less costly contract workers. Who names the subject(s) of the story. The who in the lead above are the bargainers from General Motors and the UAW. What is the action taking place. Reporters should always use active voice and action verbs for the what because action is more interesting to viewers than passive states of being. What are the bargainers doing? When will the bargainers resume talks? Where is the place the action is happening? Why and How did this come about? The lead sets the structure for the rest of the story. Many reporters spend a great deal of their writing time on the lead alone. If the lead is good, the rest of the story comes together easily. The rest of the story should lead the viewer from the most important details to least important details simply and clearly. Sometimes soft news can benefit from an attention getter in the lead such as: Quote – Uses a compelling quote to gain attention. "I have the worst job in the Army," grumbled PFC Collins as he removed his gear. Description – Sets a scene or scenario that compels viewers to want to know more. Penciled sketches of an air strike, complete with renderings of F14s and Patriot missiles. And on the ground, tiny people run for cover. That's how 8-year-old Jimmy Zayas pictures war in the Middle East... TV NEWS PRODUCTION Page 6 of 7 A Bad Lead A reminder to those who enjoy good music. The library has 22 new CDs which it is willing to loan out! The students are invited to come and look them over! The opening line isn't a sentence. There are times when sentence fragments are acceptable in TV news, if you use them effectively, in a tease for example. Who is this about? It seems to be people who enjoy “good” music. This is very subjective. Is it news that the library is willing to "loan out" materials? That's what libraries are for. The important details are not clearly stated. Bad Lead Rewritten Today, the librarian announced that twenty-two new music CDs are available for check out from the school library. Filling in the Details with Direct Quotes After the lead you should begin to fill in the details starting with the most important. One very effective way to fill in details is to use direct quotes. Direct quotes can provide a first person account of the story from the people involved. Direct quotes are sometimes called “sound bites” as well as SOT. You should use direct quotes (SOT): If a source's language is particularly colorful or picturesque When it is important -- especially official information -- to come from an obviously authoritative voice To answer the questions "why, how, who, or what?" Use a direct quote after a summary statement that needs amplification, - verification or example. TV NEWS PRODUCTION Page 7 of 7 TV JOURNALIST JARGON Hard copies - A sheet of paper with the script typed out, used in case the Teleprompter malfunctions. Affiliates - TV Stations, usually smaller local stations, where we gather information for news stories. Wire Services - Network of news sources and stories that come through the Internet. AP/Associated Press - A source for news. Reuters - International news agency. Pre-produce - To produce show elements before show is recorded. Rundown - Printed outline of the show, order to be followed.
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