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