Broadcast Terminology




A short sentence selling the story, similar to the function of a newspaper headline.  For anchor reads, usually one sentence; for reporter packages, usually 3 sentences, the third sentence containing the reporter’s name, written in all capital letters



A news story that has no matching video, read by the anchor with his/her face on camera through the length of the story, usually stories that are not considered “big enough” to send a crew to cover it, but worth mentioning in the newscast, written in all caps


VO (Voiceover)

A script read by a reporter or anchor where their voice is literally talking over video with the words matching the pictures in the story, generally runs 20-30 seconds, written in all caps


VT (Voice Track)

A track of audio (narration) read by a reporter within a package, written in all caps


SOT (Sound on Tape)

Any interview recorded on tape, also called “sound bites” that generally run 7-13 seconds, written in upper/lower case


VO/SOT (Voice over to Sound on Tape)

Script read by the anchor/reporter with video of the story and using parts of an interview to support the story, written in all caps for VO; upper/lower case for SOT


NATS (Natural Sound)

Any natural noise recorded on tape, such as sounds of traffic, a baby crying, a dog barking; lets the listener/viewer feel as if they are at the scene, written in all caps


PKG (Package)

A self-contained story on video that includes reporter voice tracks (VT’s or narration) and interviews (SOT’s or sound on tape), and preferrably natural sound (NATS), generally runs one minute, 30 seconds


SIG OUT (Signature Out)

The reporter’s name and news organization’s name.  The sig out is the last audio of a news report.  Your sig out is “(Your Name), HCC News.”, written in all caps


CG:  (Character Generator or “super” which stands for superimposition)

On screen written graphic that identifies people, titles, and locations, written in all caps



Video shot by photographer, unedited footage


Transcribing video shots, natural sound, and interviews on a log sheet



Editing 2 or more sound bites back to back of the same interviewee


TRT (Total Running Time)

The total running time of packages, usually one minute, 30 seconds.



Abbreviations for common shots used in photography, logging video and scripting production instructions); WS = wide shot; MS = medium shot; CU = close up



Anchor reads on camera following reporter package, serves as the conclusion to the story, often provides additional information or late updates.



In news writing, use the active voice.  Active voice is someone doing something and passive voice is something being done to someone or something.  Examples of both: 

Active:  “The governor gave a speech.”

Passive:  “A speech was given by the governor,” 

The key to writing in active voice is to make sure the action is preceded by the actor.

Passive writing is bad because it is hard to follow, and uses more words.



The “…” in news writing indicates the anchor reading the story should pause.



Title of scripted broadcast story



Diamond Approach: starts with an individual affected by an issue, then broadens to discuss the issue, then returns to the individual discussed at the start of the story

Narrative Approach: presents the bulk of the story in more or less chronological order

Both styles revolve around real people… referred to as “people-izing” the story.



In broadcast writing, Keep It Simple.



In broadcast writing, to ensure the copy is fresh and updated, use present or future tense in all leads. To determine this, ask yourself 3 questions:  Who are the characters involved in the story?  What are they doing now?  What might they be doing later?




An anchor in the studio introduces a reporter who is live in the field – not on tape like a PACKAGE.  The reporter may interview someone live, talk about the scene with or without live interviews or introduce a story with video such as a PACKAGE OR VO/SOT



Means on-camera, a script command to show which anchor will be on camera



A command a director uses to call up the next shot needed in the program.  For example, to get an anchor on screen, the director might say, “Take camera one.”  To get a super on the air, the command might be “Take super”.