WNR Newscast Guidelines

Writing for the newscast:

1: Read the background info below to understand the importance of eliminating plagiarism.
2: Go to http://news.google.com and search conflict zones and topics by keyword: Afghanistan, Pentagon, drones, whatever.
3: Find three or more sources for each story.
4: Break the news down into bullet points and reorganize.
5: Rewrite in your own voice.
6: Use hard news leads: Start by answering the 5-Ws -

Don’t:
Don’t use anecdotal leads such as we use in our feature reports.
Don’t use quotes in newscast items unless the statements made are the basis of the news value.
Don’t use long sentence. Remember that hosts need to breathe.

Pronunciation:
If you are uncertain about pronunciation, check the AP stylebook pronunciation guide: http://www.apstylebook.com/swarthmore_edu/?do=pronunciation

Voicing:
Read your items aloud to scout for voicing problems.

Alternative source:
http://twitter.com/#!/warnewsradio
Log in with the usual credentials to scroll back as needed.

Background:

We have the burden to operate within fair use guidelines.

Why? Traditionally, most news organizations pay wire services for international news. We don’t. So, how can we adopt this information legitimately?

Popular buzz words now include aggregation and curation. Fundamentally, we need to combine elements from multiple sources to say something new; to create new knowledge.

Bottom line: Copyright law suggests that news orgs – in most cases – don’t own the information they report, but they own the order of words they use.

Verbatim replication amounts to journalistic plagiarism.

There’s one exception: We can cite a news org’s exclusive content, as long as we credit with proper attribution. For example: “The New York Times has an exclusive report detailing “(their words in quotes here)”

Otherwise, what are the boundaries? Here’s a good rule of thumb: If you wrote the original report, would you recognize what you wrote?

Bottom line: Plagiaristic practices can amount to intellectual property theft, violate trust and bring great shame to an individual journalist and news organization.

For example, journalism students are often expelled or asked to leave journalism school for this offense. Few if any professionals can recover their carers if identified as plagiarists.

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