Homework for February 20, 2018


Read Chapters One and Two in Papper

Watch, listen to and read the news.

Write a script based on the video you shot.

You can follow the format that I outlined here. Because you don’t have sound bites you will likely have one long track, or two tracks with a natsot break.

I posted the terms and the formats for scripting writing on the site. So look for that post.

Submit your script to me via email by 5 p.m. on Monday, February 12. Once I approve it, you can record your TRACK(s) on your phone and edit your story. We’ll work on it in the next class when we meet on Tuesday, February 20th.

You’ll find a typical split-page script template below and a CNN script without a split page.




(the clips you want                    TRACK: 1

to use)                                           SOT:

(locator lower-thirds)               TRACK:  2

(names of interviewees)           SOT

JANET JONES                               SOT:

1:36 (TIME CODE)                      TRACK: 3


BABYLON, L.I.                               NATSOT: (POLICE





Sample Script from CNN

This is a reporter’s script without editing instructions.


The pilots of Swiss Air Flight 111- bound for Geneva from JFK- notice a strange smell in the cockpit less than an hour after take off..



Then they see small amounts of smoke..

Concerned — they ask to land at the nearest airport.

This is the air traffic control tape from that night…still haunting all these years later..


Air Traffic Control tape

**Must font these**

pilot: Swissair one eleven heavy is declaring Pan Pan Pan. We have uh smoke in the cockpit, uh request (deviate), immediate return uh to a convenient place, I guess uh Boston.

ATC: Swissair one eleven roger … turn right proceed …uh … you say to Boston you want to go?

ATC: //Uh Would you prefer to go into Halifax?

Pilot: //Affirmative for Swissair one eleven heavy. We prefer Halifax from our position.


Bill Pickrell was the air traffic controller talking to the pilots.

sot: Bill Pickrelll // former Air Traffic Controller 12:47:41

It was a fairly straight forward operation, uh, up to the point where they advised that they needed to dump fuel.


The plane reaches the coast of Nova Scotia…

natsot: Air Traffic Control tape

ATC: You’ve got thirty miles to fly to the threshold.

Pilot: Uh we need more than thirty miles


The pilots are worried about landing with so much fuel on board.

NATSOT Air Traffic Control tape

ATC: Swissair one eleven when you have time could I have the number of souls on board and your fuel onboard please for emergency services.

Pilot: Roger, at the time uh fuel onboard is uh two three zero tonnes. We must uh dump some fuel…

Standup: Randi Kaye

The Captain then makes a fateful decision. The plane is only 25 miles from the airport but instead of heading straight there for a landing, he takes the plane over water to dump fuel. Neither he nor the co-pilot have any idea there’s a fire just above the cockpit.

Natsot: Air Traffic Control tape

pilot: Swissair one eleven heavy is declaring emergency

(Roger) we are between uh twelve and five thousand feet we are declaring emergency now at ah time ah zero one two four.

ATC: Roger.

pilot: Eleven heavy we starting dump now we have to land immediate.

SOT: Bill Pickrell // Former Air Traffic Controller // 12:53:13

in the background I could hear the uh warning alarm for autopilot disconnecting. And he told me verbally at the same time that he was flying the plane manually that the autopilot had disconnected.

Natsot: Air Traffic Control tape

And we are declaring emergency now Swissair one eleven.


That is the last transmission from Swiss Air flight 111. The transponder also fails..but the plane is close enough to the airport that radar can strill track it as it makes an unexpected turn to the west..


Bill Pickrell // former Air Traffic Controller // 12:56:55

Whether it was a manual input from the pilots or what the reasoning was, they flew for probably 2 or 3 minutes west and then did an 180 degree turn headed back and at that point we thought maybe they had control of the airplane but uh, they turned again and headed out toward the ocean and uh then the aircraft disappeared.


The plane slams into the Atlantic ocean 16 minutes after smoke was first reported.. hitting with such force it explodes into two million pieces..

Everyone is killed. Only one body is recovered intact.

The flight data recorder and cockpit voice recorder – found days later- reveal the fire had caused the pilot’s flight screens to go dark.. making it nearly impossible to discern up from down..

Randi Kaye CNN New York.








Video production has a vocabulary all its own.  The terms that follow will keep you from needing an interpreter.

NATSOT: Sounds of sirens, doors closing, and music that’s played up-full without narration are called “natural sound,” and indicated on a script as “NATSOT” or natural sound on tape. It is a pre-digital term that is still used.

PACKAGE:  A reporter’s story with a sound track, interviews and at least one standup.

PIECE:  This is another term for the story or package.

SOUNDBITE, SOT: The portion of an interview or interviews used in the package is called a “sound-bite,” and appears in the script as “SOT.”  It is a term left over from the recent past when we used videotape instead of digital cards.

STANDUP:  The reporter’s on-camera appearance in the field is called a “standup.” It is usually used to introduce or wrap-up a story.

STANDUP BRIDGE:  A reporter may need to use a standup to explain something complicated in the middle of a story.  It is also used when there isn’t appropriate video to cover what the reporter is talking about. It is called a “bridge” because it links two segments of video or audio and video.

TRACK:  A reporter’s narration is called the “track.”

AIRCHECK:  This is a dub, or a copy, of a newscast.  Airchecks are kept as a record of the broadcast.

ANCHOR:  The person who reads the news and introduces stories on the set or in the field.  The anchor or anchor team holds the show together.

ASSIGNMENT EDITOR:  The person who give the reporters and the photographers the assignments of the day and stays on top of breaking stories, and what’s happening in the field.  You might say The assignment editor is like a desk sergeant in a police precinct.

B ROLL:  “B Roll” is the video you use to illustrate your story. It is a term left over from the film days when you had an A-roll for sound and narration, and a B-roll for video.

CONTENT PRODUCER:  Some news outlets are using field producers to gather, shoot, write, and edit stories. They call them “content producers.”

CUE:  The cue is the signal for the next thing to happen.

A director will give the anchor a “cue” to start talking. When a reporter “goes live” from the field, he or she is given a “cue,” or the signal when to talk. This will come from the anchor “toss” to the reporter, or from a director talking to the reporter via an earpiece.  The director is likely to say, “Go.”

EXECUTIVE PRODUCER:  This is the person who oversees a newscast and sets the tone for the style and substance of the show.

FEED:  You feed video to the studio via microwave, or satellite transmission.

FIELD:  The “field” is anywhere out of the studio where you may be working.

FIELD PRODUCER:  A producer who works with a photographer, or alone, in the field to produce a video story.

FLASH CAM:  An unmanned, stationary camera in the newsroom

GEAR:  The equipment used in the field including the camera, the tripod, the lights, the microphone(s).

H.F.R.:  When a story is shot, written, edited and held, or stockpiled, for another day it is called an HFR. It is short for “hold for release.”

I.F.B.:  The connection from allows you to hear what’s going on in the studio, in the control room and on air through an earpiece is called an I.F.B.  That’s short for interruptible feedback.

LIVE SHOT:  When a reporter transmits a report live from the field it is called a live shot, meaning that it’s live in real time during a newscast.

LINE PRODUCER:  The person who organizes, writes and oversees the newscast.

MANAGING EDITOR:  The person responsible for overseeing the content of the stories, coordinating with the assignment desk and the producers for all newscasts.

MICROWAVE TRANSMISSION:  This is when you transmit video via microwave signal from one place to another.

M.O.S.:  Often when we interview people on the street those interviews are referred to as, “m.o.s.,” short for man on the street.  You can do an “m.o.s.” with women and children, too.

NEWSCAST:  The organized and scripted presentation of news. It is often called the “show,” or the “cast.”

NEWS DIRECTOR:  This is the person who is in charge of it all and generally delegates responsibilities to subordinates to make sure the operation runs smoothly.

LAV:  This is shorthand for the lavaliere microphone, so-called because it’s clipped to a collar or lapel.

LEDE:  The lead-in to every story is generally called the “lede.”  Don’t ask me why it’s spelled wrong.

LINEUP:  The “lineup” is the way the stories are organized in a newscast.

REEL:  This is generally a collection of reports that you might use to show your work.  Even though we store our video on DVDs today it is still called a reel from the old days of film and tape.

ROBOT CAMERA:  A camera that is used without an operator and can move from one place to another.

ROLL CUE:  This is the verbal or sound cue that is given to roll the video.  It’s another pre-digital term that refers to tape or film.

SATELLITE BACKPACK:  A camera, laptop and satellite modem that allows the user to shoot video and transmit via a satellite Internet hook-up to the studio.

SATELLITE TRANSMISSION:  This is feeding, or transmitting video back to the studio through a satellite feed.

SHOTGUN:  A shotgun is a long microphone that is used to capture isolated sound like one person’s voice, or ambient sound.

VO:  When an anchor or reporter reads a script and his, or her, voice is over video, it is called a voice over, or “VO.”

TAKEOUT:  A smaller piece of a larger story.

WRAP:  A director talking to the reporter through an I.F.B. will also give the verbal cue when to stop.  That’s called a “wrap.”

WRITER:  A person who writes a portion of the newscast.


Copyright 2017, Barbara Nevins Taylor


Active writing allows you to say what you mean in a clear concise way with colorful verbs that paint a picture.

In 1946, the writer George Orwell, author of Animal Farm and 1984,  complained about politicians and others who use fuzzy language to hide the truth.

George Orwell.png


“Political language — and with variations this is true of all political parties, from Conservatives to Anarchists — is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind. One cannot change this all in a moment, but one can at least change one’s own habits, and from time to time one can even, if one jeers loudly enough, send some worn-out and useless phrase — some jackboot, Achilles’ heel, hotbed, melting pot, acid test, veritable inferno, or other lump of verbal refuse — into the dustbin where it belongs,” Orwell wrote.

A famous example:

In 1987, President Ronald Reagan used fuzzy language and refused to say, “I made a mistake,” after he traded weapons for hostages in the Iran-Contra affair.


President Reagan

It’s obvious that the execution of these policies was flawed, and mistakes were made. I know the stories of the past few weeks have been distressing. I am deeply disappointed this initiative has resulted in such a controversy, and I regret it’s caused such concern and consternation.

He never said, I made a mistake.

Clear, simple and to the point.  No.

More recently, National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster


H.R. McMaster


defended President Trump’s private conversation with Russian officials where apparently highly classified information was revealed to them.

Trump with Russian Ambassadors

McMaster said, “It was our impression of all of us that were in the meeting … that what was shared was wholly appropriate given the purpose of that conversation and the purpose of what the president was trying to achieve through that meeting.”


How do we write a clear, direct sentence?

We make sure the subject does the action.

What does that mean?

Put the subject before the verb and the object.

Active sentence: Subject-Verb-Object

The verb determines action


National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster defended President Trump and denied he leaked classified information to the Russians.

Not So Good

Allegations that President Trump revealed classified information to the Russians were denied by National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster.

Passive Verbs Drag Down A Sentence

You create a passive verb when you make the subject the object of the action.

Passive Sentence

The batter was struck out by C.C. Sabbathia with a fast ball.

Active Sentence

Pitcher C.C. Sabbathia threw a fast ball to strike out the batter.

Colorful verbs that tell a story and convey action create strong sentences.

Weak passive verbs make mushy sentences. You want to use action-filled verbs.

The verb to be does not convey action.

So we try avoid using: to be, am, is, are, was, were, being, been



The roads were destroyed by Hurricane Harvey

Hurricane Harvey was responsible for the destruction of the roads.


Hurricane Hermine destroyed the roads.



The goalie crouched low, reached out his stick, and sent the rebound away from the mouth of the net.


The goalie swept out his stick, and hooked the rebound away from the mouth of the net.



The fly ball was caught by Aaron Judge before it topped the wall.


Aaron Judge caught the fly ball before it topped the wall.



The legislation was sent to Congress by the president.


The president sent the legislation to Congress.


The president sent Congress the legislation.



Victims of Hurricane Harvey were airlifted by helicopter and brought to the hospital.


A helicopter airlifted Hurricane Harvey victims and rushed them to the hospital.



A helicopter airlifted flood victims and rushed them to the hospital.



Carolina is responsible for monitoring and balancing the budgets for the journalists.

Carolina monitors and balances the budgets


Carolina monitors and balances budgets.


Use the passive voice when you want to emphasize the receiver of an action, not the actor.


Many Long Beach residents were forced to leave the beautiful beach area to escape the hurricane.


Use strong, colorful verbs


Violate instead of in violation

Resisted instead of was resistant


Avoid Passive Phrases Like These:

Have been

Had been passive



A gerund acts like a verb and a noun. You form a gerund by adding –ing to the end of a verb:


run, running
play, playing

A gerund describes action or a state of being.
Grammarians consider gerunds a lovely way to write.

But in ACTIVE writing a gerund can slow down a sentence.



The Mets are feeling like losers at this point in the season.


The Mets feel like losers at this point in the season.


Fans are wondering if the Jets will be losing games all season.


Fans wonder if the Jets will lose games all season.


Nets players are surprising their new coach with their driving ambition.


Nets players surprised their new coach with their drive and ambition.


We sat up all night reading.


We read all night.


We sat up and read all  night.


I like to go jeeping in the woods.


I live to ride my jeep in the woods.


But gerunds can work when you talk about continuous action.


You might tell someone:

We jumped over puddles last night.

But if it continued to rain:

We spent the week jumping over puddles because of the constant rain.


 Some words and phrases make sentences fuzzy. 

Due to
Prior to
In an effort to
For the purpose of
In order to
Is of the opinion that
Due to the fact that
In the near future
At this point in time
During my time
Affinity For
Am Willing

The created this excellent chart.

Passive form:
have/has been + past participle
had been + past participle
Active: Present Perfect
I have mailed the gift.
Jack has mailed the gifts.
Passive: Present Perfect
The gift has been mailed by me.
The gifts have been mailed by Jack.
Active: Past Perfect
Steven Spielberg had directed the movie.
Penny Marshall had directed those movies.
Passive: Past Perfect
The movie had been directed by Steven Spielberg.
The movies had been directed by Penny Marshall.
Active: Future Perfect
John will have finished the project next month.
They will have finished the projects before then.
Passive: Future Perfect
The project will have been finished by next month.
The projects will have been finished before then.


Passive forms: will + be + past participle
is/are going to be + past participle
Active: Future with WILL
I will mail the gift.
Jack will mail the gifts.
Passive: Future with WILL
The gift will be mailed by me.
The gifts will be mailed by Jack.
Active: Future with GOING TO
I am going to make the cake.
Sue is going to make two cakes.
Passive: Future with GOING TO
The cake is going to be made by me.
Two cakes are going to be made by Sue.


The passive form follows this pattern:
modal + be + past participle
Sharon will invite Tom to the party.
Sharon won’t invite Jeff to the party.
(Sharon will not invite Jeff to the party.)
Passive: WILL / WON’T (WILL NOT)
Tom will be invited to the party by Sharon.
Jeff won’t be invited to the party by Sharon.
(Jeff will not be invited to the party by Sharon.)
Active: CAN / CAN’T (CAN NOT)
Mai can foretell the future.
Terry can’t foretell the future.
(Terry can not foretell the future.)
Passive: CAN / CAN’T (CAN NOT)
The future can be foretold by Mai.
The future can’t be foretold by Terry.
(The future can not be foretold by Terry.)
Active: MAY / MAY NOT
Her company may give Katya a new office.
The lazy students may not do the homework.
Her company might give Katya a new office.
The lazy students might not do the homework.
Passive: MAY / MAY NOT
Katya may be given a new office by her company.
The homework may not be done by the lazy students.
Katya might be given a new office by her company.
The homework might not be done by the lazy students.
Students should memorize English verbs.
Children shouldn’t smoke cigarettes.
English verbs should be memorized  by students.
Cigarettes shouldn’t be smoked  by children.
Active: OUGHT TO
Students ought to learn English verbs.
(negative ought to is rarely used)
Passive: OUGHT TO
English verbs ought to be memorized by students.
Students had better practice English every day.
Children had better not drink whiskey.
English had better be practiced every day by students.
Whiskey had better not be drunk by children.
Tourists must apply for a passport to travel abroad.
Customers must not use that door.
Passive: MUST / MUST NOT
A passport to travel abroad must be applied for.
That door must not be used by customers.
Active: HAS TO / HAVE TO
She has to practice English every day.
Sara and Miho have to wash the dishes every day.
Maria doesn’t have to clean her bedroom every day.
The children don’t have to clean their bedrooms every day.
Passive: HAS TO / HAVE TO
English has to be practiced every day.
The dishes have to be washed by them every day.
Her bedroom doesn’t have to be cleaned every day.
Their bedrooms don’t have to be cleaned every day.
I am supposed to type the composition.
I am not supposed to copy the stories in the book.
Janet is supposed to clean the living room.
She isn’t supposed to eat candy and gum.
They are supposed to make dinner for the family.
They aren’t supposed to make dessert.
The composition is supposed to be typed by me.
The stories in the book are not supposed to be copied.
The living room is supposed to be cleaned by Janet.
Candy and gum aren’t supposed to be eaten by her.
Dinner for the family is supposed to be made by them.
Dessert isn’t supposed to be made by them.


The past passive form follows this pattern:
modal + have been + past participle
The students should have learned the verbs.
The children shouldn’t have broken the window.
The verbs should have been learned by the students.
The window shouldn’t have been broken by the children.
Active: OUGHT TO
Students ought to have learned the verbs.
(negative ought to is rarely used)
Passive: OUGHT TO
The verbs ought to have been learned by the students.
Active: BE SUPPOSED TO (past time)
I was supposed to type the composition.
I wasn’t supposed to copy the story in the book.
Janet was supposed to clean the living room.
She wasn’t supposed to eat candy and gum.
Frank and Jane were supposed to make dinner.
They weren’t supposed to make dessert.
Passive: BE SUPPOSED TO (past time)
The composition was supposed to be typed  by me.
The story in the book wasn’t supposed to be copied.
The living room was supposed to be cleaned by Janet.
Candy and gum weren’t supposed to be eaten by her.
Dinner was supposed to be made by them.
Dessert wasn’t supposed to be made by them.
Active: MAY / MAY NOT
That firm may have offered Katya a new job.
The students may not have written the paper.
That firm might have offered Katya a new job.
The students might not have written the paper.
Passive: MAY / MAY NOT
Katya may have been offered a new job by that firm.
The paper may not have been written by the students.
Katya might have been offered a new job by that firm.
The paper might not have been written by the students.

Previous Page -English-Zone.Com Main Page-

Copyright (C) Kaye Mastin Mallory / English-Zone.Com