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Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism University of Southern California

Check Again


A newscast heavily relies on video to illustrate a story, but copy is just as important for telling the story. The anchors rely on the teleprompter for reading, which means all copy needs to be as clear as possible. As producers, we must check scripts over and over to ensure clarity, accuracy and timeliness. 

It can be hard to focus on copyediting when there are so many other things going on in the newsroom. However, it is crucial. All producers, regardless of their role, need to use every minute purposefully and check scripts repeatedly throughout the day. My best trick is reading the scripts aloud. Not just mumbling through them in a rush, but actually practicing anchor reads. Doing this before any video gets edited saves time later in the day as well. 

I also catch myself making quick changes here and there, but I think it is more beneficial to work with the MJ that wrote the story so he or she can learn. The most important lessons I want each of them to keep in mind are as follows: 

  • Every story needs to be a today story. The latest news is the lead sentence.
  • Broadcast writing is simple in structure and concise. 
  • Address both or all sides of a story when applicable. 

I learned these lessons during my time as an MJ and core student, but I have truly come to understand them during my time as a producer. By checking the work of others and writing many parts of the show, I have improved my own abilities to write quickly and concisely, always going back over my work to check again – and again. 

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