Here are some guiding principles for an audio book review. It should be,
- short (less than 2 minutes)
- provide information about the book and its stated aims
- indicate the scope of the book
- consider why it attracted the reviewer in the first place
- provide one or two quotes
- and comment on the style of the writer
Writing for Broadcast Journalists sets out to guide readers through the differences between written and spoken language.
My reason for reading this was to help me consider scripting techniques for podcast production. I have attempted to script podcasts before and had become aware that creating a readable script is not as simple as I had imagined.
Rick Thompson's background is in broadcast journalism. He has held senior editorials positions in BBC News where he has worked in both television and radio.
As might be expected, I found the book very accessible. He has a fluent writing style that works well in print.
Writing for Broadcast Journalists is targeted at Media students considering a career in broadcast journalism and so parts of the book were less relevant for me. However, for those students, he covers the art of writing news scripts and how these have to fit in with the techniques and constraints of broadcasting teams. He also compares differences between television and radio scripting and presentation.
Most of the book however considers the use of language for the spoken word. This was exactly what I needed. He discusses how the rhythm of speech is different to the written word and how informal language is often better in audio texts.
Thompson advises that in broadcast journalism, "The first sentence interest, the second sentence must inform." Discussing style he says, "... remember that many people in your audience may be listening a little casually. Presenting them with one idea at a time makes it much easier to follow... Try dropping in a few full stops!"
He has all sorts of tips and many of these are supported with examples from the BBC, ITV and other media organisations.
The book concludes with a substantial appendix of 'dangerous words.' An extensive list of words, phrases and clichés that are sure to upset the pedantic listener!
I thoroughly recommend this book for anyone involved in scripting media, whether this is for broadcast journalism or not."
Contact: email lta-podcast "AT" shu.ac.uk