Formats For Writing TV News Stories

Writing TV Stories 

We use four formats for reporting and storytelling in television journalism: the live-shot or live report, VO or voice over, the VOSOT or voice over to SOT (sound on tape-the portion of the interview you use) and the “package” or full TV news report assembled as one piece.

When you report live, you do the best you can to gather information quickly synthesize it and then tell us what you know. Report only what you know. You look directly at the camera and talk. You’ll have an earpiece, or IFB for interruptible feedback. This connects you to the control room of your news organization and the director and producer who will tell you how long you have to talk and when to stop. They also may provide additional information to you.

Formats for TV News Stories 

VO        VOICE OVER GENERALLY READ LIVE BY THE ANCHOR OR REPORTER IN THE  FIELD. THE ANCHOR, OR REPORTER READS THE COPY OVER VIDEO.

SOT         SOUND ON TAPE. IT IS A PORTION OFAN INTERVIEW, OR SOUND BITE.

VOSOT    LIVE VOICE OVER THAT LEADS TO A

SOUND BITE.

PACKAGE   A COMPLETE TV STORY OR REPORT.

IT INCLUDES A TRACK, WHICH WHAT WE CALL NARRATION, SOUNDBITES, A

STANDUP, A REPORTER’S ON-CAMERA PRESENTATION, AND PERHAPS NATSOT.

WE ALSO CALL A PACKAGE A STORY OR A PIECE.

FORMAT FOR VO

INSTRUCTIONS                                  COPY GOES HERE.

GO HERE.                                             INSTRUCTIONS TO

ANCHOR GO HERE.

CU  OR TWO SHOT                           ANCHOR:

OR 2BX                                               YOUR COPY

TAKE VO                                         ===VO====

CHYRONS, LOWER-THIRDS,             YOUR COPY

SUPERS, OR ESS

NAMES,

LOCATOR

ADDITIONAL

WORDS ON THE

SCREEN

FORMAT FOR VO SOT

INSTRUCTIONS GO                         COPY AND WHAT

HERE                                                 ANCHOR READS

GOES HERE

CU OR TWO-SHOT                            ANCHOR:

OR 2 BX                                              YOUR COPY

TAKE VO                                           ===VO===

YOUR COPY

CHRYONS, SUPERS,

LOWER-THIRDS, ESS

TAKE SOT                                        ===SOT===

FORMAT FOR PACKAGE

VIDEO INSTRUCTIONS                         ALL COPY AND

CHYRONS, LOWER-                              INDICATION OF

THIRDS, SUPERS OR                            SOTS, NATSOT

ESS GO HERE.                                       AND TIME CODES

WHERE THEY

CAN

THEY INCLUDE                                       BE FOUND ON

NAMES,                                                   RAW FOOTAGE

LOCATORS                                             GO HERE

AND ANY OTHER

WORDS.

VIDEO

INSTRUCTIONS

TO EDITORS

SUCH AS

TIME CODES

AND SPECIFIC

SHOTS

GO HERE.

FOR EXAMPLE

APPLES 2:35

WIDE SHOT

MARKET 4:50

YOUR SCRIPT LOOKS LIKE THIS:

ANCHOR LEAD:

YOUR COPY

TRACK: 1

YOUR COPY

UNIONDALE, L.I.

JANET JONES                              SOT:

VICTIM’S MOTHER                       1:36 (TIME CODE)

WRITE OUT WHAT SHE

SAYS.

BABYLON, L.I.                               NATSOT: (POLICE

COP CAR 4:28                               SIREN)

CRIME SCENE                              7:23 (TIME CODE)

10:02

TRACK: 2

YOUR COPY

SOT:

10:40 (TIME CODE)

KEVINS SMITH                           SOT:

WRITE OUT WHAT HE SAY

NASSAU POLICE

CAROLYN RAMIREZ                STANDUP:

REPORTING                             WRITE OUT WHAT

YOU SAY IN YOUR

STANDUP.

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