Radio journalists and how they describe their written copy

Author: Luscombe, Anya

Source: Journal of Media Practice, Volume 10, Number 1, 1 March 2009 , pp. 5-15(11)

Publisher: Intellect

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This article reports on a research project in which radio news writers are asked how they themselves would describe the process of writing for their medium, which, arguably is more ephemeral than other types of media. In their training, radio journalists are taught to write for the ear, to use conversational language and to paint pictures. But what does that really mean to them in practice and how aware are they of the characteristics of radio news? A series of qualitative interviews was conducted with journalists and editors in the BBC Radio Newsroom and at Radio Netherlands in Hilversum. The journalists questioned the use of terms such as simplicity, spoken language, storytelling and making it interesting to describe what they do. Some say they paint with words, that is, they describe to the listener what can be seen, whilst others say it is not their job to do so in the brief introductory pieces or short factual news summaries and headlines. To all radio news writers, story selection and top lines are just as important, if not more so, than the choice of lexis.

Keywords: BBC; Radio Netherlands; journalism; media practice; news writing; radio

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Roosevelt Academy University College.

Publication date: March 1, 2009

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  • The Journal of Media Practice is a peer-reviewed publication addressing practical work in media teaching and research. To this end, the editorial board and consultative panels comprise prominent academics and practitioners from a range of disciplines committed to the achievement of academic and professional ends through means centred on practical work.
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