Friday, January 19, 2007

#26 Book review - a podcast model

Andrew Middleton considers what a Book Review would be like as a podcast. A review activity should encourage students to read and reflect upon the literature available to them and help them to develop a pool or collection of audio book reviews. In this way students are making a contribution not only to a resource used by their peers, but a resource that may be useful to those that follow in subsequent years.
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
"This book review considers 'Writing for Broadcast Journalists' by Rick Thompson, published by Routledge in 2005. It is part of their Media Skills series and weighs in at 182 pages.

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 clich├ęs 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


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