One of the major challenges of writing copy for See It Live is finding the right balance between conversational and too casual. In addition, the copy must be accurate, clear, and concise. And to achieve this, there are a few strategies I employ during my producing shift.
Tone is something I struggle with regularly. Writing more serious or emotional stories on a show that’s intended to be more casual than a traditional newscast can be challenging. Usually, reading the copy to my fellow producers is helpful. We’re all different people, so asking them for feedback is valuable in determining a tone that’s appropriate and not too stiff.
Accuracy is crucial, regardless of tone. If a story is not accurate on our show, we lose credibility. If someone is misquoted they can sue us. In order to make sure the copy is accurate, it’s important to understand the details and keep them updated. To ensure this, it’s important not to rely on one single source. Instead, multiple sources should be used and monitored throughout the day.
But even if the copy is accurate and the tone is appropriate, it must be delivered in a timely manner. Otherwise, viewers may lose interest. If the copy makes the anchors sound like they are rambling, it may confuse the audience. It’s important to be clear and concise. One strategy that helps me is to think of different ways to make the copy more concise without losing its meaning. This keeps the copy straightforward, filtering out anything extraneous. Another strategy is reading the copy out loud. If it can’t be read by the writer aloud, then the anchor shouldn’t be expected to read it aloud. Overall, clear and concise copy not only makes it easier on the anchors, but it also makes it easier for the audience to understand the story.
Ultimately, strong copy makes a strong show; it’s the core. In order to convey proper tone, accuracy and clarity, the scripts must do the same.