Week 6 (17/3): Writing radio news

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So far you’ve written a news story and a TV news story. Now it’s time to go for the third style of news writing – a radio story.

You will employ the same brevity as a TV news story but this time the emphasis will be on the ear rather than the eye.

Key radio elements

  • A script written by the reporter
  • Audio recorded by the reporter
  • A radio news reader



Okay, now that you have your TV News Story let’s turn it into a Radio News Story.

Radio has no pictures, so you have to make sure your story describes the visual images to the ear of the listener.

Writing the radio news story

  • Make a copy (duplicate) of your TV News Story.
  • Name it Radio News Story – then the name of the story e.g. Bushfires.
  • If the TV News Reader/Narration is suitable for a Radio News Announcer, delete TV News Anchor title. You won’t need a title for reading it on radio. Or you could just put: Radio News Reader.
  • As there is no video on this, write up what you see on camera. For example: If we see that the flood water level has reached the three-metre mark … as listeners can’t see it on a measuring post … write it

E.g. In the last hour, rising floodwaters have now reached the critical three-metre level, flooding all roads and cutting off the township of Nelson.

If you didn’t have the chance to finish your TV News Story you can check out this video.

Watch the video and choose either one story e.g. Byron Bay flooded or Sydney flooded. If you want to tell a longer story then you can use both stories but make sure you link them. And don’t just copy what the on-air reporters say. Get the basic story then do some extra research. Once you have more details write it in your own words.

* Remember you can also insert the audio from someone being interviewed or giving a comment but as the listener can’t read who it is, you need to say their name and where they are from/what they do etc.

 At 1:46 on the video you might like to insert the audio. But you will need to preface it with something like:

 As Jane Golding, from the Bureau of Meteorology said … “We’re concerned about …”

* It would be a good idea to research what Jane’s actual job title is and add that.

* Basically, you have to paint a picture with your words. Let the listener see it in their mind.

 Descriptive adjectives are very useful. e.g.  Instead of a big storm … try a raging storm.

Length of story: 1-2 minutes. Time it on your phone’s stopwatch.

Speak it out aloud as if you were reading it on air.

The trouble with reading it to yourself is that it’s easy to speed up and therefore the timing will be out. So be aware of that.

BONUS CONTENT: Picks of the Week



On Writing, by Stephen King. Yes, the renowned horror writer. This book is an excellent guide and inspiration for anyone who wants to write, in any genre.

One thought on “Week 6 (17/3): Writing radio news”

  1. I find writing for audio to be super interesting, in that what looks good on paper might not sound good when spoken. I enjoy this series that you have going here. Thanks for sharing!

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