JRN3100EN - Broadcast Writing

Course description

Starting with a brief history of broadcasting in America, this course expands into broadcast writing theory, and the advances in broadcast writing practice in a digital era, focusing on writing style and multimedia technique. It presents a review and key topic and defines a state-if-the-art glossary of broadcast journalism terms such as “blog,” “post,” “tweet,” ”share,” “pin,” as these terms relate to broadcast writing as well as traditional news terms such as “breaking news” “the source,” “the lead,” “a scoop,” or “voice over” (VO) versus “sound-on-tape,” (SOT) etc. The course highlights writing for radio, for television, for integrated web - podcasts, and videocasts. The course also differentiates between the styles of news writing and feature writing, or editorial style versus storytelling and delivers an understanding the supporting framework of broadcast writing: broadcast operations and production. Discussions include ethics and law in broadcast journalism.

How this course benefits students

Students learn the basics of writing for television news; developing a clear, concise and conversational writing style. This is coupled with emphasis on accuracy, good grammar and strong leads. Formatting is also important; they learn the basic technical structure for broadcast scripts: :30 second copy stories, 35 second VOs, 45 second VO/SOT/VOs, the 1:30 package.

Why this course is important

A broadcast writer must first seek and then deliver news. The path from seeking to sending can be a troubled one. There are standards and guidelines and laws that a broadcaster must balance with the logistics of commerce and with getting the news to the people and converting them to acceptance. If this sounds familiar it is because all news, editorial or scriptural requires acceptance or rejection. The good news of salvation finds the same dilemmas.

Credit hours
3 hours
Subject area
Educational level
Learning type
Upcoming terms
* Schedule subject to change. Please contact the Registrar's office with schedule questions.

How this course relates to missional core values

Biblically based

Students will discuss and analyze current topics in journalism, such as ethical dilemmas, diversity issues, They will be lead through the basic premise and relevant intricacies of the dynamic field of broadcast journalism. Media is the platform of new generations and missional leaders must be part of the explosive expansion of new media.

Missionally driven

Broadcast platforms, traditional as well as new media, are modern means for the delivery of news and investigative messaging. A broadcast message can be compared to a sermon to a congregation, big or small, which is a setting wherein scriptural guidance tells us " where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them.” (Matthew 18:19-20). In communication theory, a group is not a number of people in on place at the same time, such as a crowd waiting for a bus. A group is a number of people large or small, gathered together for a single purpose. Purpose is the key feature in such cases.

Contextually informed

While our concept of broadcasting today is understood as sending messages to a mass audiences, which can be local, regional, national, or international, via electronic media, an original meaning of the term "broadcasting" was used by farmers in the U.S. to mean "sowing seeds by scattering then over a wide field. This reference to the sowing of seeds is often also referenced in the bible as planting the good news of salvation to bear good fruit for the future.

Interculturally focused

Ethics come up frequently in a missional environment. This can be ideologically based, concerning the value placed on indigenous religions, versus western or standard religions, or it can be logistical, concerning fundraising, and how money donated is used. A focus on ethics in journalism provides guiding principles for the work of broadcast journalists, just as it must for the work in missions.

Practically minded

In alternative phrasing Jesus bade his followers to go out and be "fishers of men" broadcast writers also go on "fishing expeditions." This happens when journalists have some information on an issue, but no proof and they set up scenarios to get the proof they need. Ethical dilemmas can arise in this process. Should news be created or simply reported? In a missional perspective we are simply the messengers. We create no new information, but we are charged to ensure that the mode of delivery of the message is appropriate and applicable to its intended audience.

Experientially transformed

Experience and practice hone the skillset of the broadcast writer. A unique combination of diction, style and delivery develops over time and brands the professional broadcast writer. In a similar way the sending out of the message for the conversion to Christian life will find a unique model of presentation and delivery, and a model will evolve from the effort to understand the unique needs of each situation.