This week’s homework is to choose one story from the wire copy handed out in class and write a short “top stories” version of it. “VO”, that is, all on video, no ON CAM. 15 seconds.
In Week 4’s lecture, we began by discussing the previous week’s assignment, the
:25 OC/VO OCCUPY DC script.
We addressed several issues that appeared to be confusing regarding the assignment and TV news writing in general.
Firstly, OC/VO means a script that begins with the anchor speaking on camera, then continuing to speak while the viewers see video pictures related to that story. Many of the scripts written for this assignment did not designate the first sentence as “on camera”.
Secondly, there was some misunderstanding regarding Week 3’s discussion of the present tense. While it can be preferable to cast certain sentences in the present tense, to reflect what is happening NOW, and to compliment the urgency and immediacy of TV news, it is not possible to write entirely in the present tense. That would sometimes misrepresent the facts and it would steer the language of our scripts in an un-conversational direction. We’ll revisit this present tense issue later in the semester, but for now, please just write your scripts the way you would tell a friend the news over lunch. That would include a variety of tenses.
Thirdly, we spoke about what to do when numbers in the wire sources vary. In this case, we saw 7 arrests, 8 arrests and 11 arrests. The rule of thumb is to use the highest figure for which there are two independent, credible sources. In this case, that would be 8. And, because one of our wires is higher than 8, there is some likelihood that the actual number of arrests will be greater than 8. Thus, we say “at least”. “At least eight protesters were arrested.” “More than”, as in “more than 7…” , is not preferable, as it is vague and can suggest exaggeration.
And finally, some writers misunderstood the difference between writing news to be accompanied by video pictures and simply describing the video pictures. There’s no need to describe what we can already see in the video. Rather, explain what is not clear by looking at the video. Eg., “A protester shouted angrily at police.” – while we see video of an angry protester shouting at police. Better: “Angry protesters resisted police efforts to move them out of McPherson Square.” Write the facts of the story and let the video support those facts.
Here are some examples of well-written Occupy DC scripts: Occupy examples
Please see this attachment for notes on the lecture content of Week 4.
Week 4 notes, JMSC 6092, 0051
These are the videos we used for this week’s assignment to write with a sound bite.
WHITNEY HOUSTON OBIT :45 PLUS SOUND BITE
OC/VO/SOT/OC or OC/VO/SOT/VO