Electronic Reporter, 3rd Edition

Electronic Reporter, 3rd Edition

Copyright Date: 2012
Published by: UNSW Press
Pages: 304
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  • Book Info
    Electronic Reporter, 3rd Edition
    Book Description:

    The Electronic Reporter has become a staple for all tertiary journalism students in Australia. The expanded and updated 3rd edition explores the way broadcast journalism has changed in recent years and what we can expect in the future as web-based and social media transform the way news is created, delivered and consumed. The book takes a comprehensive look at how electronic news is gathered and packaged and has practical and authoritative advice on how to write and interview for the electronic media, record sound and shoot video, construct news and current affairs stories and compile news bulletins for radio and television. It also covers legal and ethical issues in electronic news, safety while working and includes helpful tips on finding work in the industry.

    eISBN: 978-1-74224-589-8
    Subjects: Language & Literature

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-xiii)
  3. Abbreviations
    (pp. xiv-xv)
  4. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xvi-xviii)
  5. 1 Introduction
    (pp. 1-8)

    No profession stands still. But the forces of change and the way they take effect are not always the ones we expect.

    When the first edition of this book was in production, the biggest influence on broadcast news was the imminent introduction of digital transmission. The second edition coincided with changes to regulations governing media ownership. This third edition is being produced at a time when the biggest new influence on news generation and consumption is social media. Yet journalism’s core skills remain as important as ever.

    This book is about the practice of journalism in what are often termed...

  6. 2 The newsroom
    (pp. 9-23)

    To understand how broadcast news is put together, it is important to first have an understanding of the structure of broadcast newsrooms and the flow of authority within them.

    Of course, broadcast newsrooms vary considerably from radio to television, from regional to metropolitan and from community to public to commercial broadcasters.

    Regional commercial radio newsrooms can comprise just a single reporter. Even a capital city radio newsroom will have quite a simple structure compared to its metropolitan television counterpart, which is likely to boast not just reporters and crews, but also editors, administrative and technical staff, librarians and a helicopter...

  7. 3 Sources of news
    (pp. 24-41)

    Information and opinion are the raw material of news, but clearly only some of this raw material will find its way into the product we call ‘news’. Distinguishing between something that is a good story and something that is no story at all is an imperfect science. Reporters may not always be able to explain the way they know something is news, but all are certain they can recognise it when they see it.

    The qualities that make an event or set of facts news are called ‘news values’ and while they have different meanings in different news environments, they...

  8. 4 News packaging
    (pp. 42-57)

    The way in which news is gathered in broadcasting depends not just on the medium, but on the type of story being produced. So before we look at reporting and writing, it is worth considering the various ways in which news is packaged for radio and television and the ways scripts are set out.

    At some time in their training, most reporters will have been introduced to the ‘inverted pyramid’ model of news writing. The rationale for the inverted pyramid is that a story’s most ‘newsy’ or important elements must appear at the top to ‘hook’ the reader and the...

  9. 5 News gathering
    (pp. 58-70)

    Radio news is now increasingly gathered by phone. But there are some stories – such as rallies, public speeches, accidents and emergencies – where the reporter still has to be on the scene to conduct an interview, to record the atmosphere and, in the case of some breaking news, to broadcast live-to-air. Television, of course, needs to be on the spot to record pictures.

    From the time a story is assigned, its construction will follow more or less the following sequence:

    research (which may involve no more than reading the wire copy and anything on the topic in the day’s papers)


  10. 6 Interviewing for broadcast news and current affairs
    (pp. 71-96)

    Interviewing can be one of the hardest tasks for a reporter at the start of their career. They can be sent to talk to people in distress or to quiz powerful political or business leaders. They face the challenge of getting succinct comments from people as varied as experienced media talent with an agenda to push to complete novices uncertain of how best to put their case. Television reporters still have to front up in person, but a lot of news gathering in radio and newspapers these days is done by phone, which imposes pressures of its own. For one...

  11. 7 Broadcast writing style
    (pp. 97-130)

    Broadcast news and current affairs programs are a paradox. On the one hand, surveys tell us that more people prefer broadcast news than print. Yet, at the same time, there is considerable evidence that many listeners and viewers take in only a fraction of the news programs they apparently find so appealing. One reason is that broadcast news, especially radio news, is often forced to compete for attention with a host of distractions. People listen to radio news while getting ready for work or driving, and the main television bulletins go to air when many people are preparing dinner. Sometimes,...

  12. 8 Constructing the story
    (pp. 131-143)

    One of the myths reporters trained in newspapers sometimes bring to the broadcast media is the idea that because broadcast items are usually shorter than equivalent stories in print they must be easier to put together. In fact, the opposite is often true. It is harder to write a clear, tight story than to convey the same information in a longer one. And broadcast deadlines mean stories have to be written quickly.

    The need to keep stories short can be a frustration for broadcast journalists and it requires considerable discipline, as CBS news anchor and former newspaper reporter Harry Smith...

  13. 9 Narrating and presenting
    (pp. 144-152)

    A good broadcast story begins with a well-written script, but it needs to be narrated well too, if listeners or viewers are to get the most out of it.

    Narrating skills are vital for almost all radio reporters and most television ones (other than producers and chiefs of staff). But while only some television reporters go on to present bulletins, most radio reporters will need to present eventually, especially in smaller newsrooms where everyone needs to be able to do everything.

    While radio news requires reporters to think about voice production and pace, the pictures in a television story add...

  14. 10 Online and social media
    (pp. 153-160)

    For radio and television journalists, reporting for broadcast is only part of the job. Most now service other media and, in general, that means filing for an online service or for social media or both. The use of social media, in particular Facebook and Twitter, as vehicles for news delivery and to drive traffic to a news organisation’s broadcast or masthead, began in Australia around 2009 (varying from one organisation to another) and by 2010 media outlets were putting considerable effort into the strategy.

    That meant that news organisations (and often specific programs) maintained their own Facebook pages and Twitter...

  15. 11 Recording sound and pictures
    (pp. 161-194)

    Until quite recently, an electronic media reporter could enjoy a long and productive career while knowing very little of the technical side of the business. Radio reporters had to be able to operate recorders and have a rudimentary knowledge of microphones. Television reporters didn’t even have to know as much as that, since the crew looked after the pictures and sound.

    These days, a combination of digital technology and changes in the cost structure of the industry mean many journalists need technical as well as editorial skills to do their jobs. Radio reporters, and some news agency journalists, record digital...

  16. 12 Editing
    (pp. 195-203)

    When video replaced film editing in television news in the early 1980s, it changed the way stories were constructed. Editing news film meant cutting up the only copy, but tape is dubbed, which gave editors greater flexibility since they could afford to redo an edit that did not work. It also allowed them to edit a story more quickly and with greater finesse, since shots could be trimmed more easily. That, in turn, made it possible to include more shots and shorter interview bites in a story and so the pace of television news and current affairs quickened.

    Nowadays, television...

  17. 13 Compiling a news bulletin
    (pp. 204-222)

    All newsrooms with a daily output are driven by the clock. But deadlines are particularly remorseless in radio and television, where programs must often start and end at a precise second.

    In order to satisfy the need for punctuality and precision, fixed duration broadcast bulletins are generally compiled to a format so that, while the content changes, the structure of the bulletin – including opening and closing themes, any headlines, promos and so on – is fixed. Twenty-four-hour news services have a more flexible construction.

    The duration of the bulletin is the overriding formatting concern in free-toair news. Television news services generally...

  18. 14 Current affairs, public affairs and infotainment
    (pp. 223-236)

    Most radio and television journalists begin their broadcast careers in news, some having first worked on newspapers. But broadcast news stories are short, produced at high speed and often formulaic. So many reporters see news as a stepping stone to another kind of broadcast journalism; one where they can spend longer on stories and report in more depth and at greater length. Traditionally, that kind of journalism has been current affairs. The current affairs program format was devised as a response to the brevity of broadcast news. Its purpose was to give background and context to the stories in the...

  19. 15 Legal and ethical issues
    (pp. 237-257)

    The preamble to the Journalists’ Code of Ethics begins:

    Respect for truth and the public’s right to information are fundamental principles of journalism. They (journalists) inform citizens and animate democracy. They scrutinise power, but also exercise it, and should be accountable. (MEAA 1999: n.p.)

    Journalists see their professional activities as deriving legitimacy from the public’s ‘right to know’. But journalists have no more legal rights to gather information, pictures and so on than do any other members of the public. On the other hand, they have obligations about the ways in which they carry out their work. This chapter outlines...

  20. 16 Getting a job
    (pp. 258-264)

    Broadcast news and current affairs is often seen as the glamour side of journalism and entry-level jobs are keenly sought. When metro stations advertise for entry-level reporters they can receive scores, and often hundreds, of applications. Compared to the number of vacancies, the number of applicants is daunting. Yet, determined would-be broadcasters still find work and the task is easier if you are realistic about where jobs can be found and what employers are looking for.

    The larger metropolitan radio or television stations rarely employ journalists straight from university. Broadcast newsrooms are relatively small and, as one metropolitan news director...

    (pp. 265-266)
    (pp. 267-269)
  23. References
    (pp. 270-278)
  24. Index
    (pp. 279-284)
  25. Back Matter
    (pp. 285-286)