Broadcast News Writing Training


About this Lesson

Amy Simons
Associate Professor,
Convergence Journalism,
Missouri School of Journalism,
University of Missouri

Broadcast-style writing requires a different approach than the writing you’ve done all your life. It’s linear. You’re writing to be heard, instead of to be read. That means your viewer or listener has only one chance to hear what you’re telling them and comprehend it before you move on. There is no chance to go back and re-read. So, if you’re not clear, you risk losing them. Therefore effective broadcast writing requires a level of simplicity and a conversational approach that takes practice to feel natural.

What you will learn

After completing this unit, you should be able to:

  • Understand the concept of “writing for the ear” using short, simple sentences.
  • Identify the difference between active and passive voice.
  • Strengthen your writing through verb choice and tense.

How the lesson works

First of all, this is an asynchronous lesson unit, which means no live events are scheduled for this lesson. You can complete learning activities at your own pace whenever is convenient for you. Despite the asynchronous nature, the learning tasks are organized to help you succeed.

To be successful in this unit, please complete the following tasks:

• Watch the lecture.
• Take the quiz to test your own understanding.  This will help you to strengthen the concepts you just learned.
Optional: Due to the amount of content to be covered in a single unit, we encourage you read these additional resources. Some of the quiz questions might come from the readings in Additional Resources section.

Watch the Lecture



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 Take the Quiz


Direction: Some of the questions might from the readings in Additional Resources below


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Lesson Resources

Lecture Script: Download it here

Printable Quiz: Broadcast News Writing

ASNE Classroom Resources

Lessons: Broadcast News Writing

Additional Resources

Mervin Block’s Television News Writing Workshop

Mervin Block, “Shorter, Stronger, Sharper

Amazon link:

Lynda Kraxberger, Missouri School of Journalism: “Writing (good) broadcast copy

Al Thompson, Poynter: “Let’s write right

Brian Richardson, The Process of Writing News: “Chapter Five: Writing for broadcast

Andy Orin, Lifehacker: “I’m Ira Glass, host of This American Life, and this is how I work

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