Skip navigation
Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism University of Southern California

This script better be on the money, do you copy?

When the anchors are sitting in the desks ready to roll, everyone expects perfection. Well the best way to assure that success is by writing solid copy. It must be informative, concise and descriptive of what is actually taking place. 

While the video is essential for the eyes, what you write can have a lasting impact on how things turn out. For example, the opening pre-shows paint a large picture of what to expect. That said, you better take time to read everything on the page, at least the best you can. 

It not only matters most, nothing can really happen without a script. Sure people can watch the T.V. themselves and imagine what's happening, but the words paint the picture for the who, what, where, when and why of that particular story. Please, please, please make sure to read these over and really work the scripts. 

Please make sure to work your MJs on a variety of skills. That doesn't mean just assigning a story and expecting it to get done. The best way to ensure continuous success is by really taking the time to sit down and talk about what works and what doesn't. If an MJ, volunteer or assignment desk editor can learn from the start, chances are they can develop a keen eye for story writing. Let's face it, the more talented hands on deck the better.

I like to make sure every script in the rundown is conversational.

Avoid the boring words. Nobody likes them and despite the fact they look good on the AP or LA Times, they don't read well on the air. Whenever I ask people this question they will always say, "Oh, I was thinking that I just didn't want to sound dumb."

Noooo!!! That's not correct, you want to sound relatable. Good copy editing does not mean adding a five-page paper into one story. Instead, writers should be able to identify the most important information and include that right away. Or at least be willing to add some fun expressions in the beginning for a more soft, feature-type story. 

People notice when you take the effort to improve your scripts, and if the folks at home can understand what you are saying then they are bound to watch your show for that much longer. 

Leave a comment

We've Moved!

By Sam Bergum
01/21/16 | 11:09 a.m. PST

Visit us at!

USC Basketball Knocks Off Rival UCLA 89- 75

By Scott Cook
01/14/16 | 12:05 a.m. PST

USC defeats UCLA with stellar play from their Freshmen. 

Holiday Bowl - USC vs Wisconsin Post-Game Press Conference

Su'a Cravens: "It's the players that need to step up"

Darreus Rogers: "It comes down to the players"

Trojans Fall to Wisconsin in the Holiday Bowl 23-21

We detected that you might be on a mobile device such as an iPad or iPhone. Sorry, at this time the video box is only visible on desktop computers.