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Briyahna Rice
Noodle Expert Member

July 06, 2020

Terms to know when breaking into broadcast journalism

If you find yourself studying broadcast journalism for the first time, you'll immediately learn that it's a completely different world than that of it's print counterpart in newspapers and magazines. And part of that new world means learning new lingo and terminology that will help you get better adjusted and eventually thrive in your major.

To start, when a reporter is submitting a story for the broadcast, it will be called a package, abbreviated as PKG. The package comes with sound, visuals, and a reporter's stand up where they appear on camera for a brief moment. Because of all these components, there are many terms that fall under the umbrella of the package, starting with the VO/SOT or the Voice Over/ Sound on Tape. By themselves, the Voice Over is a separate video accompanied by the reporter's voice, while the Sound on Tape is a separate video that comes with it's own audio. SOTs can come from a wide variety of people from all kinds of events: from eyewitness accounts by civilians during a crime, to televised press conferences by politicians , and even red carpet interviews with celebrities during a premiere. Another important part of a SOT is aa soundbite, which is audio and visuals of the interviewee. In broadcast TV, it's strictly visuals while in radio , it's strictly audio. Next, B-Roll, which is the backbone of the package, is video footage of an event as it is happening and can sometimes be part of a VO. Then, a reader is 3-4 lines of dialogue that explains a story without the use of B-Roll or SOTs. In a like manner, Anchor on Cam means that the anchor appears on camera to either introduce a new package or simply tell a reader.

Similarly, NAT Sound, otherwise known as Natural Sound are sounds coming directly from the event as it's happening in the B-Roll. For example, a ca r show will have NAT Sound of revving engines and squealing tires. On the other hand, NAT Sound from say, a petting zoo will have bleating animals and laughter from children. The purpose of NAT Sound is to give viewers the impression that they were present for the event, even if it's vicariously through the TV. On the other hand, an FS or Full Screen, is a still shot of a poster advertising an upcoming event that takes up the entire camera for better visibility, and is accompanied by a VO. A Track Script, often abbreviated as TRK, is one or two sentences that a reporter reads to introduce their story. A Thumb Sucker, as strange as it sounds can be used for both radio and TV, and is a place holder for news that is happening and goes live without sound or limited details.

Attribution ,while it's not technically lingo, is important to keep in mind when writing a script to go into a broadcast. Basically, you explain where specific details of an event or crime came from. For example, NYC Police Chiefs say that one of the robbers was wearing a specific outfit when he tried to break into the cash register. Or executives for a movie studio say that the release date for a movie premiere will be announced in the next two weeks.

In contrast, if you ever find yourself dabbling in radio, here are a few important terms to keep in your back pocket. A Wrap is when a reporter speaks with a script and reports on a story, while Actuality is a separate audio interview that can be included in a Wrap.

In conclusion, while the broadcast journalism lingo may seem complicated an even intimidating to understand, it's all a matter of old fashion repetition, memorization, and practice. Once you've got those down pat, you'll know each and every term like the back of your hand, and even have a leg up in the competition.

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