Your assignment is to write a brief television news/sports script. Your coverage area is Mississippi
State University-Meridian and Meridian Community College. Select a newsworthy story and write
your script which includes suggested visuals and suggested sound bites.
Television scripts are often formatted as two column scripts. The column on the left is audio (what the
viewer is hearing), the column on the right is video (what the viewer is seeing). Format your script in
Television news content is primarily designed to inform. Television news content is not like
other media. A reader browsing a newspaper has plenty of time to absorb information and can reread
copy that is interesting or informative. TV news happens in real time. Most local news/sports packages
run roughly thirty seconds or less. That’s all the time you have to tell the viewer what they need to
Tips for commercial news writing:
– Determine your central message. If you can’t be clear, your news package won’t be. In 30
seconds or less you have time to make a single point that is understood immediately. Focus in how your
content affects your viewer.
– You have to reach your audience through two senses, sight and sound. Commercial news
content has to be visually and audibly engaging. Productive use of relevant visuals and relevant sound
bites is imperative.
– Keep it truthful. Television news leaves no room for exaggeration or innuendo.
– Open with a hook, something that will draw your viewer in. Example: ‘Your morning commute
may be disrupted, the City is blocking off downtown roads for paving.’
– Focus on your viewer. A television news story on property tax increases is more impactful if it
conveys exactly how much the average citizen’s taxes will increase. Make big numbers relatable to
– Write like you speak (and like your viewers speak) and stay away from clichés, however don’t
use slang. Examples: Use ‘police officer’ instead of ‘law enforcement officer.’ Use ‘ran away’ instead of
‘fled on foot.’