Tag Archives: radio

Top journalistic tips

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It’s been almost 6 months since the beginning of my course and I’m pleased to say I have definitely learnt a great deal.

Me and Colin- driving the radio desk, early days!

Me and Colin- driving the radio desk, early days!

In the first few months I remember when we were given our first assessment, a ‘link and clip,’ which was 25-30 seconds of copy and  a short 20-25 second clip from a relevant interviewee. We were all  panicking and spent hours re-phrasing sentences, editing one clip and ‘faffing’ around the newsroom. Six months down the line and we’re out filming 3 minute television packages, leading a team, producing hour and a half breakfast shows, conducting full interviews, writing online content, producing radio packages etc.

Throughout the course we’ve also been lucky enough to have some excellent guest speakers from the industry giving us some top tips e.g. Jonathan Hill (ITV,) Charles Reiss, London Evening Standard’s former Political Editor , Mark Brayne, former BBC Correspondent, Peter Preston, former editor of The Guardian, John Ryan, Managing editor for BBC radio Manchester, Bill Turnbull (BBC,) to name just a few. Our lecturers, Colin Larcombe, Emma Gilliam and Tony O’shaughnessy have also been preparing us for the scary world of work by teaching us all their knowledge and assessing our performance on production days. Here’s a list of some of the tips I’ve picked up on my exciting journalistic journey so far…

RADIO:

  1. Be clear, concise and accurate
  2. ALWAYS answer the following: Who, What, Where, When, Why?

    Practicing our Breakfast show

    Me and Karen, practicing for the Breakfast show!

  3. Make sure the story is current, why does anyone care?
  4. Check the source
  5. Always have ideas for different treatments of a story
  6. Use conversational writing
  7. Don’t use too many statistics in a bulletin, the listener will switch off
  8. Think why you are using a certain interviewee, what do they have to add to the story?
  9. CHECK the Audio levels, make sure the audio is not distorted or too quiet
  10. When doing a package, think carefully about wild-track and structure
  11. Record links on location (sounds far more interesting)
  12. Make the most of your toolbox:  voicer, two-way, illustrated two-way, wrap, package, link and clip, copy (which one is more appropriate for the story you’re trying to tell)
  13. Be organised
  14. Don’t let the adrenalin take over (journalism is exciting but you must not let the adrenalin distract you from the job)
  15. Always lead into a clip by introducing the voice that the listener is about to hear

TELEVISION:

  1. Always think pictures

    TV studio gallery practice!

    TV studio gallery practice!

  2. When filming, film the same thing from 3 or 4 different angles
  3. Avoid pans, tilts, moving zooms
  4. You can never have too many close-ups
  5. With vox-pops, remember camera right, camera left (the person being voxed will alternate e.g looking to the left/right of the camera)
  6. Close-ups are best when interviewing (they are more important than the background)
  7. Always use headphones when on location (to ensure natural sound and correct levels of sound)
  8. Filming- check white balance, shutter speed, gain, focus, iris- flip to ‘auto’ to see what the camera expects the picture to look like and adjust in ‘manual’ mode to achieve that
  9. Make sure the tripod is level
  10. Write to pictures (when the presenter speaks the pictures should correspond to what’s being said e.g. when reading ‘Sam Warburton’ the picture will be of him and not Warren Gatland!)
  11. ALWAYS use pictures when possible (presenter in view is  last resort)
  12. Pieces to camera- should be about 15 seconds and used when what needs to be said can’t be reflected in the pictures
  13. Two-ways- be natural, know your story, use your script effectively, deliver it with authority, practice, make it
  14. Presenting- be natural, move your script along incase auto-cue fails, adjust your tone so it suits the story (happy if it’s a positive story, serious if it’s a sad story etc,) don’t wear bright or patterned clothing, be plain so that the viewer isn’t looking at your flowery suit but is listening to WHAT you have to say.
  15. Check spelling, capital letters, be clear, accurate and NEVER write anything you don’t understand.

I could probably write hundreds more but these are some that have definitely helped me develop my journalistic skills.

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Simple things can make us chuckle

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It’s week 6 in the ‘Big Broadcast House,’ as you know I am studying a post-graduate diploma in broadcast journalism and for the last 6 weeks I have spent nearly all day every day in the news room with my fellow broadcasters.

It has been quite an experience, some highs, some lows but nevertheless I have enjoyed every minute. After nearly 2 years of working and travelling I must admit I am glad to back. So what have I learnt so far? These are some snippets of what my lecturers have taught me:

Rule number 1: Don’t ‘tweet’ anything you wouldn’t say to your grandparents/auntie/uncle’s etc (Glyn Mottershead 2011.)

Rule number 2: DO not say ‘welcome back or welcome to’ on any radio news bulletin…radio is continuous (Emma Gilliam 2011.) Also NEVER swear in a radio studio! (A friend of mine learnt this in the first week!)

Rule number 3: DO NOT ever publish a story in a rush and use a picture from facebook unless you know it is definitely them (Professor Duncan Bloy 2011.)

Rule number 4:  If you ask yourself that question…the answer is probably no. (Colin Larcombe 2011.) Make sure you don’t have a wonky camera, (thanks Colin.)

Rule number 5: Always report accurately and responsibly. (Professor Richard Tait 2011.)

There is obviously a lot more I’ve learnt in those 6 weeks but these are some that come to mind. On a less serious note (though some of you who know our lecturers will see the humorous side,) to those of you who don’t I thought I’d share some pictures and stories that have made me ‘chuckle.’

Last weekend, to celebrate a friend’s birthday myself and other course friends headed to a house-party.

Trip to Techniquest

The theme was fancy dress/doubles and so Niamh Hannon and I decided to dress up as Jedward. I wasn’t sure whether to be offended or not when people complimented us on how well we carried it off, I am hoping they meant the outfits and not our personalities!

There were some great costumes, my personal favourite being one of the boys dressed as Pamela Anderson, needless to say I don’t think I will ever look at him in the same way again. I still need to find out who the mystery cake maker is after they took over our ‘CJS11’ hash-tag on twitter the next day.

On another social occasion what was meant to be an innocent trip to a curry house turned into a more eventful and drunken evening. It was a great opportunity to get to know everyone on the course. After a few too many drinks we all experienced how weirdly flexible Geraint’s legs were which may have been even funnier because we were a bit merry but it was still very entertaining.

My friend and I share the same news patch, science and technology, and so we both headed to the science centre (Techniquest) in Cardiff Bay to meet the staff and to have some fun with science. When I was little I remember my parents taking me to Techniquest followed by the infamous fish and chips at Harry Ramsden’s and so this trip was very nostalgic. This time my visit was for a more serious reason (to make contacts,) but we still found ourselves giggling at my attempt at being a DJ and the distorted images of ourselves in a mirror reflection.

Even at the age of 23 I still giggle at friends who pull silly faces, as exemplified by Chris below:

Silly faces
 

How old are we? I still laughed!

To those of you who have been lucky enough to be pictured in my blog post, I would just like to thank you for putting a smile on my face 🙂

 

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