Different broadcast news writers have different techniques – often based on how they were taught.

“Friends, Romans, countrymen – lend me your ears…”

One valuable  ‘trick’ I was taught that I  use and pass on to learning writers is:

Try to make sure the first few words of a news story catch the ear and interest of a listener or viewer.

Here’s a simple of example of a sub this week that applied this technique.

As story started with the words: University research…

So many stories start with words like new research or  a new study.. yada yada yada.

I prefer to start with what the new study says…especially the bit of most interest to the audience.

I tweaked it so the sentence started with two word I thought were more exciting than university research cheap alcohol

The university research bit came later – AFTER the more audience-interest element of cheap alcohol caught the ear,

So the first words of the story became:

Cheap alcohol prices are often linked to multiple purchases and higher consumption..according to university research.

OR an even more casual and conversational version:


Cheap alcohol prices often make us/encourage us to    buy more and drink more…according to university research.

Now, we need to be aware that there is an old-school rule of attribution before assertion – putting who says something before what is said – however I argue the catch the ear technique over-rides the old-school rule – if you want to hook the attention of the listener or viewer.

My ears are open to hear your views on the attribution-before-assertion vs catch-the-ear technique.  Please feel free to add to the comments.




One thought on “Broadcast #writing tip: Lend me your ears – try to catch the ear

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