Broadcast Writing Exercises

Broadcast Writing Exercises


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Exercise #1. Write a 30 second broadcast news storybased on the following information from an arrest report:Describe what video you would use to support the story.



incident: An assault and battery at Watter’sHall

Time and date: 2:45 a.m., November 2, 2020

Involved: Sharron Peters, 19, Saint Mary’s College Student, daughter of Wm. Peters, SMC vice president of student life

Hometown: Minneapolis,Minn.

Minor injuries: Treated and released from WinonaHospital

Involved: Thomas Barnell, 21, son of Sherman and Tricia Barnell, 1352 Broadway, Winona,Minn.

Reported driving a 1990 ChevroletCamar



Arrested on Gilmore Ave. at 2:50 a.m.

Charged withassaultandbattery



StatepolicetrooperWilliamTroutner:”Y’knowthegirlwhogotattacked wasthedaugh­ter of the vice president of Saint Mary’s? I’ll tell you one thing that’s just a shame, she hadmoredrugsinherpursethanyoucould sellinamonth.Becausewewereonprivate property, we couldn’t make an arrest. You don’t use my name. Youmedia ghouls are allalike.”




Exercise #2: Write a 60 second broadcast news story based on the following information from an arrest report:Describe what video you would use to support the story.




Francie Franklin, proprietor of a small bakery in Pleasant Grove, was killed during the night. Police Chief Wilburn Cole tells you over the phone that Miss Franklin did not deliver a wedding cake as expected this morning, and when the bride’s mother went to the bake shop in Miss Franklin’s home to check, she found the front door open and a display case smashed. “She didn’t go no further,” Cole says. “When we got there, we found Miss Francieinthekitchen.Shewasshotdead.”Thelittleshopisinashambleswhenyougoby to check, and you note the contrast to the neat, clean operation the woman normally kept. You can’t find the chief, but the radio dispatcher reads this memo to you: “Francie’s body was taken to Smith’s Funeral Parlor where they’ll do an autopsy. It must have happened before midnight because her television set was still on, and she always turns it off after the latemovie.Shewasshotonceinthechest,andherpistol ismissingfromthedrawer under the cash register. Money was scattered around, but they probably got away with some.” Kenton County Homicide Investigator Kelton Kelly says she was shot with a .22 caliber bullet and that they didn’t find any fingerprints. However, a strange, unidentified red wool ski cap was found under the body. Kenton County Coroner Ransom Cranwell tells you that death was from a single gunshot wound and that there were no other injuries. “It was crazy the way they messed up the place though,” he adds. “She was always so proud ofit. She was just an old maid who loved everyone,and everyone loved her.” Arrangements are pending. No known survivors. Age 68. Address: 504 Ash St. She started the business20 years ago under the name Francie’s Fancies. She recently expanded by building a small service area at the front of thehouse.





Exercise #3: Write a 60 second broadcast news story based on the following information from the City Council Meeting Report: Describe what video you would use to support the story.


The first item of business was a report from the Metropolitan Zoning Commission. Bobby Thompson, who is the chairman of the Zoning Commission, saidthecommissionhad met two days ago to consider a request by a local developer tomove a cemeterysothathecanbuildasupermarket.Thedeveloper’snameisCarlErskine.Thecemeteryislocatedin the 2800 block of Forbes Street, much of which is zoned for commercial purposes now. Erskine told the council that he will pay all the costs ofhaving the graves relocated in Peaceful Rest Cemetery, which is located about a mile away from the present site. “I thinkrezoning will be good for the neighborhood and good for the city,” Erskine said. “There’s not another supermarket for at least a mile and a half in any direction.” Thompson said: “We’ve studied the traffic patterns along Forbes Street, and we don’t believe the supermarket will cause any problems.” After several more questions by various council members, the mayor asked forany questions or comments from those inthe audience.  About twenty people spoke, and all but two of them were against the rezoning. It took about an hour. Here are some of the comments:

Early Wynn, 122 Forbes Street: “This thing is going to destroy our neighborhood. It’s pretty quiet there now, but if you get this thing in there, it’s going to tum noisy.”


Dick Groat, 1811 Polo Grounds Road: “Nobody on my street wants the supermarket. We have plenty of places to go to shop. We don’t need this. Besides, some of those graves are pretty old, and I don’t think it would be the same if you moved them.”


Sarah Yawkey, 555 BosoxDrive: “I just can’t believe you’d do this. Anybody who’d do this would steal the dimes off a dead man’s eyes.”


WaltDropo,611ForbesStreetandpresidentoftheForbesStreetResidentsAssociation:”We’vebeenfightingthisthingfortwoyearsnow.Allthezoningcommissiondidwasstudythetrafficpatterns.Theydidn’tconsiderwhatitwoulddototheneighborhood.Besides,thatcemetery has some of the oldest graves in the city in it-some of those peoplehelpedfoundthiscity.I’msurethatifyoutriedtomovesomeofthosestones,theywouldcrumbleinyourhands.Icanpromiseyouthatwewillmountacampaigntorecallanycouncilmemberwhovotesforthisthing.”(Thatcommentdrewlotsofapplausefromthepeoplewhowerethere.)


Harry Walker, 610 Forbes Street: “I’m afraid Walt’s gone overboard on this one, like he usually does. I think our neighborhood needs a supermarket. We’ve got lots of people who have trouble getting around. Walt’s one of these people whose against anything thatis progress. He just wantsto get some publicity for himself.”


When the speakers were done, the council voted 5-2 against the rezoning petition. At that the crowd cheered, and most of them filed out, leaving a small audience of only about 35 or 40people.


Thenextitemofbusinesswasaone-centsalestaxproposedbycouncilwomanWilma Rudolph.”Thecitydesperatelyneedsthismoney,”saidRudolph,”orthereisachancethat we’ll have to start laying off workers next year.” Mr. Joe Black, the city treasurer, agreed, sayingthecity’sfinancialconditionwaspretty bad.Aone-centsalestaxwouldraiseabout$400,000 for the city next year, and not only would that mean there would be no layoffs, but it’s possible that the city could expand some services, such as having garbage pickups twice a week instead of just once a week,  he said. “Besides, we figure thatsuch atax will only cost the average family in the city about $75 a year,” Black pointed out. Mayor Sadecki is against the tax. He said, “I believe the people are taxed too heavily now. I don’t believe they want this. I think they want to look at our budget and see where we can cut back.” But the majority of the council didn’t agree with the mayor, and they voted for the tax 5- 2. Those voting for the tax were Rudolph, Haddix, Sam Jones, Eddie Matthews and Lew Burdette; those against were Sadecki and BillMazeroski.

ThelastitemofbusinesswasaproposalfromcouncilmanMazeroskitolicensemorticiansinthecity.”Thestategives usthepowertodothis,andIthinkweshouldtakeadvantageofit,”hesaid.Hesaidhisproposalwouldassessanannuallicensefeethatmorticians would have to pay every year. Mazeroskisaid, “We’ve got more than 30 mortuaries in the citynow andassessingafeefromthemwould bringinaconsiderableamountofrevenue.”His bill calls for a $150 fee per mortuary per year. Several morticians were in the audience and spoke against Mazeroski’s proposals. Don Blasingame, who owns Blasingame Mortuary and who is president of the city’s Mortician Society, said: “We don’t believe Mr. Mazeroskiis correct when he says the state gives the city the power to do this. The state licenses morticians and gives the city the power to enforce this licensing procedure if it chooses to do so. Otherwise, the state enforces the licensing. I believe that if the city did this,itwouldjusthavetotumthemoneyovertothestate.”HaroldReece,thecityattorney, saidthereissomequestionaboutthisinthelaw,andhehasaskedthestateattorneygeneral to give an opinion on it. Mazeroski said, “I don’t believe we should wait for the opinion.   I think we should go ahead and do it.” Burdette made a motion to table the proposal, and that passed by a vote of six toone.


Exercise #4 – NEXT PAGE!





Exercise #4: Write a 90 – 120 second broadcast news feature based on the following information: Describe what video you would use to support the story.



A local high school teacher, Will Henderson, was lost for 4 days last week while hiking in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.  Henderson had been hiking along the Appalachian Trail and had gotten off the trail near a place known as Gregory Bald. After a couple of hours of walking off the trail, Henderson tried to cross a stream when he slipped and broke hisleg.


Henderson is an experienced hiker. He is a member of the National Hiking Association. He had plenty of food with him at the time. He had been hiking for about 10days before the accident. He had started in Georgia  andwasin Tennessee at the time of theaccident.


After his fall, Henderson used some sticks and string to make a splint for his leg. He then began 4 days of crawling, pushing his 40-pound hiking pack in front of him. He crawled through a lot of thick underbrush. Finally, he made it back to the main part oftheAppalachianTrailandwassoonfoundbytwootherhikers.


The Appalachian Trail is nearly 3,000 miles long, stretching from Georgia to Maine.It is one of the most popular hiking trails in the country.


Henderson teaches biology at Jefferson High School. He is 39 and has been hiking since he was a boy of 10.

Henderson was hospitalized for several days in Knoxville, during which time a number of stories were written about his ordeal. Now he is back home, recuperating in a local hospital, and your newspaper sends you to interview him. Here’s some of what he tellsyou:

“I never doubted that I would be found. I got discouraged sometimes, but I figured that I bad plenty of food and thought that if I could get back to a trail-particularly the main Appalachian Trail because it’s so busy-somebody would come along before long.”


“I’lltell you though, I sure was happy when I heard  those first footsteps comingup behind me. Those guys thought I was some kind of animal at first. I guess I looked pretty rough. They kind ofhesitated in approaching me, but when I said, ‘Help’ a couple of times, they camerunning.”


“One of the guys stayed with me while the other went for help. They kept telling me not to go to sleep, and I didn’t. I was so happy then that I probably couldn’t have, even if I had wanted to. I’ll never forget the feeling I had when they found me, not if I live to be a hundred. Those guys are going to get mentioned in my will.”


“The hardest thing about being lost was thinking that other people might be worrying about me. I was supposed to meet some friends in Gatlinburg a couple of days after I got lost. As it turned out, they weren’t worried but said if I had been  goneanother day, they would have contacted the park rangers and started asearch.”


“After a day or so of crawling, I had to discard most of my clothes and most of the other things in my pack. They had gotten too wet and heavyfor me to push.  Of course, I kept all of the food I had. It was mostly dry stuff-crackers, fruit, peanut butter, things likethat.”


“The mountain foliage was like a jungle. There had been a lot of rain up there this year, and it was really thick. If I had stayed where I was when I fell, I probably would still be there. At least, that’s what one of the park rangers said. I think I knew that instinctively when I fell, so I never thought about staying put. I knew that I had better get somewhere where people could find me.”


“Besides food, I did manage to keep a few small things with me. I had several pictures of my wife and two little girls. I looked at them a lot, especially when I got discouraged. I would spend a little time looking at those pictures, and then I would crawl a little bitmore.”


“I broke the first rule of hiking, of course. I hiked alone. If you’re on the AppalachianTrail,itdoesn’t matter becauseyou’renotreallyalone.Therearesomanypeople on that trail. But when you get off the beaten track-that’s when you need to be with somebody. I learned my lesson about that. My goal is still to hike the entire trail, but I guessI’llhavetowaituntilIgetmyleginshape.”

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