Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Writing for webcast

The three-minute daily webcast on has come a long way since the beginning of the year, but one thing that hasn't gotten a lot better is the writing. Just as I struggled to write in broadcast style when I made the switch from print to TV, the webcast staff is having a hard time changing the style and tone of its copy.

Here are parts of today's webcast script as I heard them being read this morning:
The Town and Gown meeting is today when they will discuss reducing the impacts of large community holidays, such as Labor Day. Check out tomorrow for updates. 
Women’s basketball started out the season during Thanksgiving break playing Saturday, November 17th at Fresno Pacific. Chico State won its season opener for the 14th straight season, while Fresno Pacific, one of the newest members of the conference, fell to zero and four on the year.   
McKensie Dalthorp led the Wildcats posting 16 points while hauling in six rebounds, winning the game by three points, 66 to 63. 
On November 20th, the team played against Cal State Stanislaus...
Here's one way a broadcaster might have rewritten the script to be more conversational. It brings the sports stories into the present tense and simplifies sentences and word choice.
Leaders of the Chico community and Chico State will meet today to talk about making Labor Day and other holidays safer. Check out theorion-dot-com later today for updates. 
The Chico State women's basketball team is now two-and-oh after season-opening wins against Fresno Pacific and Cal-State Stanislaus. 
The Wildcats' McKensie Dalthorp scored 16 points and grabbed six rebounds in a 66 to 63 win over Fresno.  
Dalthorp scored in 15 more in the 'Cats 78-43 conference opener against Stanislaus.
That's 85 words compared to 106 from the webcast. Notice that the copy is simpler and easier to understand and sounds more like someone talking instead of reading. Notice, too, that the copy avoids telling viewers that the games happened a week ago by bringing the story into the present. 

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