Hello all you Leicester listeners and indeed volunteers in our developing community radio station! David the Smurph here, although in newsreading terms I am simply David Murphy.
Ever fancied writing, reading or grabbing news stories from around Leicester and beyond! Well now you can! I'm looking for some news enthusiatic volunteers to join some of our news teams we have on the station! You could be reading the news on air during daytime shows and in between shows, or you could be going out across Leicester to grab stories from around Leicester, while getting plenty of views on them and maybe even the odd interview or two! And that's not all- you could even write stories to be posted in the news section of the website!
We want to know what the people of the community of Leicester think are the hottest stories so we can keep the news fresh and as appealing as the many shows they take part in! Almost as though the news brings the shows together, gives you and the show teams a breather, and acts like glue to keep the music pumping and the shows jibber jabbering!
If you do fancy being a 'newsreader', 'newswriter', 'news researcher', or all of the above, which I shall simply call 'News Person' give me an email on email@example.com telling me what time of each day you're available and what you'd like to do on the newsteam.
Anyway, for those wishing to join the team that read news bulletins or writes them, I'd thought I'd give you my top ten rundown of rules, handy hints and the like to get you started, since they got me off to an okay start on my journey through newsworld...
- This is probably most important so I'll put it first to get you researching. Try to get to grips with OFCOM, the broadcasting watchdog who monitors us closely now we're a community station. It's not too difficult as there's a lot of guides that are easy to learn and rely on being sensible, but some of the more difficult rules I'll put in the rest of my top ten.
- Always use a script! Whether its on paper or on the computer screen, you don't want to be starting a bulletin with nothing to say... and you certainly don't want to improvise and start making up news stories... Bugs bunny won't like the fact you said he's been arrested for aggrevated assault!
- Too much is better than too little. All news bulletins currently tend to last 2 minutes on the top of the hour, with some specialist news bulletins taking place on the half hour, but still around 2 minutes. Write enough stories to say for two minutes, but don't worry if you have to cut some words out when it comes to reading or cut a story out (as long as its the least important/relevant story). If you don't have enough to say, you will just have to hope you can read very slowly, as we don't want to leave dead air for the last 20 seconds or so...
- Take care when reporting about stories in the courts, cultural stories and war, drugs or deaths. Most of these just involve being aware of the sensitivity of each subject and the audience you are reading to, but in the case of ongoing active police investigations and court cases you must avoid revealing names and details and certain quotes where appropriate, until the time has come when you are allowed to publish it. Also, always include that there is more to come in the story if the case has not finished yet.
- Always use accredited sources and people when obtaining/ writing news stories or bulletins. I always fear that one day someone might resource an unknown entertainment website and say a well known celebrity has died in the news, only to find out that they are alive and well. All the national and local broadcasters and newspapers are there online, so you shouldn't need to search far for breaking stories unless you are researching new ones yourself, then anybody's view may count as they develop.
- If you are using a repeated story or bulletin (though we should always try to keep it fresh even if it means one breaking piece of news at a time), please pay attention to whether the story has changed. This mainly applies to decision making stories and sports/competition results. Demon Fm would look rather silly to be talking about something soon to happen when its already happened and we're in the dark ages... who back to the future! Loved that film... not number two but number three? Meh...
- When writing stories or bulletins to be read on air, always write them as you would say them, not in note form or just a few words you think you could get the story from. Emphasising on key points are fine, but taking a pause to think about what to say around them is not. It can be confusing when words are put in the wrong order and the story doesn't seem to be a story at all...
- Its useful to have and shows you've done a your research into the stories you write when you include figures and statistics, but try not to include too many in the bulletin as they become confusing and time bearing to read. One figure per story is fine, but its difficult enough for many newsreaders to read all the foreign names that appear in the stories, you could get your tongue twisted and that could hurt! You need that for tasting all the lovely food out there :D
- No swearing and no slang words. Abbreviations are fine if their full forms take up a lot of time to say, but news it generally not chatty as you only have two minutes to read the news, presenters are the chatty side of programs. You are more than welcome to bring yourself to the news in terms of your voice, clearly defining yourself as the newsreader. However if I hear a 'innit' or 'bruv/blood' that sound like the news is being read for one mate rather than the audience, a) its confusing to some of the audience and b) it doesn't sound like the news is being taken seriously. If that becomes the case, Barney the Dinosaur might as well read it? Gowsh!
- Know what you are going to say to the audience. Don't embarrass yourself in front of the listener by not knowing what you're reading to them. A few off-air reads, rehearsals or reseach of the stories is fine, but you can read it with confidence getting past some of the other issues I have mentioned if you know what you're doing. However saying "he.... went...... umm... down the... errrr.... street" will make some people believe you are not meant to be doing the news and have just filled in. I hate the ums and errs!!! Stop it! now!!! You hear!!!
So those were my tips for being a good newsreader mainly, but it applies to all aspects of the news frontier... there's more to consider when you get into it, but I'll leave that to after you get started as there's fun to be had with the news first! The only other suggestion I'd make apart from all these is always try to turn up for you bulletins at leat 10 minutes beforehand! If you can't make it, contact someone else or myself so the slot can be filled.
That's all from me, I'll leave you to explore the world of news on radio once you're here, but if you want to get here follow my details above and you're very welcome to join the team! More from the Smurph soon after these news headlines...