It took me a long time to figure out how to write for television news. My greatest criticism as a freshman was that I wrote like I would for an English paper. When I was a sophomore at USC, I was required to take two reporting and writing classes that exposed me to broadcast news, and I was completely lost. I worked for my high school's newspaper, I wrote for the Daily Trojan my freshman year at USC, and I had never stepped foot into the Media Center. In "Reporting and Writing I," I learned how to write for news quickly with the help of my professor Rebecca Haggerty. She taught me the basics of writing for broadcast and structuring packages and segments. But I felt like it was a whole new world when I had an entire show at my fingertips. When I enrolled in "Television News Production" and started producing "See It Live" every Thursday, I was overwhelmed with the amount of work I had to do in a single day.
I've always been good at checking multiple sources to make sure my information is factual. In everything I say, write, or produce, even if it's not journalism-related, I strive to be as accurate as possible. When I'm writing copy, I talk to reporters to understand the information they gathered in the field. I also watch their interviews and supporting video. Every time I do that, I feel confident that I can write an accurate introduction or tag because I've seen the footage myself. This is also how I make sure the supporting video matches the script the anchor will read in studio.
When my story requires a little more research, I check multiple sources online and the wires. I also have my laptop open next to my monitor so I can do research and write at the same time.
Making scripts creative and conversational is more difficult for me. When I'm writing an English paper, my writing is colorful and exciting, but something about keeping broadcast copy simple and to-the-point makes me more hesitant to get creative with it. And, when I have so much on my plate as a producer, my first priority is to remain accurate, and often the color and excitement get left behind.
For example, tonight I wrote a rather bland tease and welcome for the anchors. For such an important show on the celebration of rapper Nipsey Hussle's life, my professor Stacy Scholder suggested I search the wires to get more details about the event. After doing that and seeing other portrayals of the ceremony and procession, I was able to add some personality into the script.
In the future, I'll work to get my research and writing done soon enough so I can go back and add some flare to the scripts.