Writing tips for radio: "Tight, Bright and Right"
As is the case in all journalist writing, these things are paramount: Accuracy. Check your facts. Check them again. Assume Nothing.
1. Write to the audio when possible, but don’t be too literal, let sound
tell the story.
2. Use short declaritive sentences. This helps with clarity for your audience as well as with your ability to deliver material easily in your narration. Underline important words and phrases for emphasis. Find natural places in copy to catch your breath.
3. Leave room for natural sound, punctuate the story with ambient sound if its a serious, somber story, or let sound jump out and grab you if its a fast paced story. Sound should tell the story more than the reporter track. LESS OF YOU, MORE OF THEM.
4. Be inventive with word choice and language. Use a thesaraus. But don’t talk in jargon of a specific trade (sports, business, medicine). Make sure your audience understands the language you use. Make it CONVERSATIONAL.
5. Write into sound bites, set them up in a seamless way in the text. “Mary Smith is concerned about the MCAS” versus, “Mary Smith had this to say”.
6. Connect the dots. Hold your listener’s hand and walk them through the material in a clear, simple, organized fashion.
7. Write visually, avoid numbers, i.e., as long as a football field, not 100 yards.
8. Active voice, present tense in the lead. First sentence must grab the listener and draw them into the story. It must sound fresh, newsworthy and interesting.
9. Avoid long meandering prepositional phrases, especially in lead. Subject-verb-object.
10. Eliminate unnecessary words. Be ruthless.