Today I got a message from a great writer from a rival TV station – a writer who taught me a lot when I was a young reporter and I continue to heed and respect his advice.

 

BBN Brevity-is-the-soul-of-wit.-.png

He pointed out that one of the stories on the commercial channel I work for could have been written ‘tighter’.

 

He pointed out: the school was sent into lock-down could be been written as the school was locked down.

 

Same meaning – but in broadcast news where every syllable and second counts – the briefer expression saves you 2 words or 3 syllables.

 

2 words instead of 4!

 

It’s a good example of how you can ‘write tight’ by looking for ‘weak’ verbs and nouns ( sent into lock-down) and turn it into a more active verb – locked down.

 

release-the-verb

When I taught writing internationally I’d encourage writers to ‘release the verb’ – look for verbs or phrasal verbs suggested by nouns – lock-down (noun)  suggests locked down (phrasal verb)

In writing news this sort of awareness and editing can be the kindest cut of all.

If brevity be the soul of wit…here are two witty variations on Shakepeare’s famous quotation:

 

bbn-brevity_is_the_soul_of_wit_round_sticker-r44fa31bab9f14cbba93bb43d87c01ffa_v9waf_8byvr_324

 

 

bbn-brevity-is-the-soul-of-lingerie-dorothy-parker

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

One thought on “#Writing broadcast news – brevity is the soul of news writing

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s