NPR has a new guide for print reporters who want to work in radio
Print reporters bring a lot of great skills with them when they leave print for other platforms.
But the nutgraph, the inverted pyramid and editing out voice aren't among them.
On Tuesday, NPR Training published a guide for print reporters journeying into audio.
Regardless of what medium you're working in, it's all advice that can make your work better.
Take, for example, Alison MacAdam's advice on letting your voice come through.
There are lots of words we would never say out loud that creep into scripts: Would you say a policy is “long-disputed” or a country is “war-torn”? Do you use the verb “hasten” much? Do you call people “individuals” or “residents”?
The more non-conversational language you allow in radio stories, the harder a script is to deliver naturally and the more listeners hear you as a sterile News Reader.
Amen to that.
Another tip for writing the way you talk – cut out dependent clauses. They just muddy things up.
If you listen closely to people chatting with each other, you will rarely hear a dependent clause. I don’t tell people, “My dad, who spent 40 years teaching physics, is a smart guy.” I’m more likely to say, “My dad taught physics for 40 years. He’s a smart guy.”
Most of these tips work well for people who are learning to write for the web, too. You can learn more about changing some print habits with the full guide here.