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Wednesday, 2 March 2011

A Guide to Radio News

Over the last few weeks, i have been studying about the world of radio with guidance from my Radio lecturer Annette Rizzo. I think it's time that i blogged about the technioques and tips that i have learnt. Here's is my guide to Radio Journalism.

Radio Journalism can have a number of different forms.

-News Programmes
-Magazine Programmes

I will start off by briefly explaing each of these forms

Headlines are a one line summary of each of the main stories. These procede with a bulletin each or a programme which revisits the stories in detail.
They could also act as a stand alone item.

Bulletins on avergae last between 2 and 5 minutes.
They usually start wih headlines and read read by a newsreader/journalist.
Thier is often a voice/voice peace, or(similarly) a two way with another reporting.
Audio cuts of interviews, press conferences and expert opinions are often used to add more depth and information to the news stories.

News Programmes
These often begin with headlines and/or a short bulletin.
The programmes explore top stories in greater detail(compared with bulletins). and include additional stories (related or unrelated) to the top stories.
Both live and pre-recorded interviews are used, as well as outside broadcasts and two ways.
News programmes will also often feature debates, comment and commentary, as well as packages.

Magazine Programmes
These may be either narrow or wide ranging, but generally have a specific remit eg - 'you' and 'yours'.
They are less likely to have headlines or bulletins, but may react to the top stories of the day.
Often, both topical and timeless issues are covered, or a topical story may be used as the peg on which to hang an otherwise timeless issue.
Phone-ins and listener interaction may also be included.
The same types of content used by a news programmes may also feature in a Magazine programme.

These are extended packages or features which explore a particular subject or issue in much greater deoth.
Often, they will draw on the same conventions and type of content.

What are packages?
Packages normally begin with a cue read by the presenter(reading from a script)
They may include an introduction and conclusion by reporter or participant.
Reporter links recorded either in the studio or on location may be included.
They will include one or more interviewees. Along with this, thier may be vox pops, music sfx, actuality and archive clips.
These items are then 'packaged' together.

Target Audiences
-Target Audiences as defined by age and social demographic(as mentioned in earlier blogs)
-This consists of A,B,C1,C2,D,E.
-Age is normally categorised in groups of 10 to 20 years. Eg-16-24, 25-44 etc...
-The style and format will be dictated by the target audience.

Succesful Radio Interviews
The key to a good radio interview is based on two skills-
1. Good operation of recording equipment.
2. Sensible questioning

Before setting out to record, you must make sure you are fully aquainted with the controls.
- Make sure the machince/batteries are fully charged and test it to make sure it is functioning properly.
- Make sure it is recording.

These can be temperamental and sensitive, don't tap them, blow into them, or rustle paper in front of them.
Make sure that it is plugged into the correct socket.
- The best way to hold the mic is to have it around six inches from the mouth, and holding it upright so that you speak across it rather thandirectly into it. This makes sure that it picks up the voice of both you and the speaker and avoids you rustling the mic by moving it back and forth.

Don't keep switching the machine on and off during an interview, or pressing the pause button. You may accidently forget to switch it back on, or not press it properly. You could then miss important parts of the interview.
Thats what editing is for, you can edit out mistakes and noises after the interview.

At the end of the interview, hold the mic still and let the recording run for just a few seconds more.
This will make editing a little easier and leave a bit of ambience.

Places to Record
- Don't always go for a quiet room, but consider what sounds around you will add texture to your audio.
- Avoid rooms with obvious echo. If necessary, stand next to curtains.
- Be aware of boilers, ar conditioning and flourescent light strips. These can affect the sound quality of your recording.
- Keep away from heavy traffic, and turn you back on noise and shlter the mic from wind if you can.
- If noisy, or if you have a quiet interviewee, simply hold the mic closer.

- Good interviews sound like unscripted chats.
- Don't write long lists of questions. Jot down a few questions and ideas.
- LISTEN to the answers. Interviewees can say interesting things that you may not have originally considered, they could be useful.
- Questions should be simple and straightforward.
- Do some research or ask them before the interview if needed so that you have some idea about the subject you'll be asking about.

Remember:--- Who? What? How? When? Where? Why?

- Always be politce and always be in control.
- Avoid the closed question(one that can be answered with 'yes' or 'no')
- Nod silently to encourage your interviewee, but do not speak.

I hope you find this guide useful. Thanks for reading.


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