What TV News Scripts Look Like

Writing for television is vastly different than writing for radio, but the same principles of good news writing apply.  TV news writing involves bringing together many more elements.  Below are several examples of what TV news scripts look like at WISC-TV in Madison.  News Director Colin Benedict has supplied four scripts.  The first two are examples of how different versions of the same story look, when aired on different newscasts.  The one below is the first version of a story about a horrible car wreck involving young people:

]] C2.5 G 0 [[
— ROB —
— ROB —
            TWO TEENS ARE FACING HOMICIDE CHARGES IN CONNECTION WITH A FATAL CRASH IN MADISON.
            POLICE BELIEVE THE VEHICLE THAT SIX TEENS WERE IN FRIDAY NIGHT WAS STOLEN… AND THAT THE CRASH OCCURRED AFTER A FIGHT OVER THE STEERING WHEEL.
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VO/NAT
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*cg n2
FACING CHARGES
Two Teens in Custody
@   to
VO/NAT
            A FOURTEEN AND FIFTEEN YEAR OLD ARE IN POLICE CUSTODY AFTER THE CRASH ON MILWAUKEE STREET LATE FRIDAY.
            THEY’RE BOTH FACING CHARGES OF HOMICIDE BY NEGLIGENT USE OF A MOTOR VEHICLE… ALONG WITH OTHER CHARGES.
            OFFICERS SAY THEY’RE STILL INVESTIGATING WHETHER THE KEYS TO THE CAR THEY TOOK WERE TAKEN IN A BURGLARY EARLIER LAST WEEK.
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TRT=
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— ROB —
— ROB —
¤  ]] C2.5 G 0 [[
GEN FULL
*cg 575

Dionna Cook Benefit
c/o Goodman Community Center

Donations can be made at any area Amcore Bank
GEN FULL
            A PASSENGER IN THE CAR – 14-YEAR-OLD DIONNA COOK –  WAS KILLED IN THE CRASH.
            SHE WAS AN EIGHTH GRADER AT O’KEEFE MIDDLE SCHOOL.
            A MEMORIAL FUND IS SET UP IN CARE OF THE GOODMAN COMMUNITY CENTER.
            DONATIONS CAN BE SENT OR DROPPED OFF AT ANY AMCORE BANK.

¤ ]] C2.5 G 0 [[
— ROB —
— ROB —
¤ ]] C2.5 G 0 [[
WIPE-VO
mugshot of anthony cardona
WIPE-VO
            THE DRIVER OF AN S-U-V THE TEENS STRUCK– ANTHONY CARDONA — WAS JUST A FEW BLOCKS FROM HIS HOME… AND ENDED UP BEING CHARGED WITH HIS FIRST O-W-I OFFENSE.
            A LOCAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY SAYS THE 40-YEAR-OLD IS NOT CULPABLE IN THE GIRL’S DEATH.

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DISSOLVE SOT DISK 4:44:11 – 4:44:29
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*cg n2
STEVEN EISENBERG
Madison Defense Attorney
@   to
DISSOLVE SOT
(STEVEN EISENBERG/DEFENSE ATTORNEY) “this guy was in the wrong place at the wrong time.  He shouldn’t have been drunk.  But the point is that the accident probably would have happened had he been sober.  The accident probably would have happened even had he been abiding by all traffic laws — this death would have occured.  I’ts not his fault.  He’s got a defense.
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RUNS=:18
OUT Q=he’s got a defense
¤  ]] C2.5 G 0 [[
TRAILING VO/NAT
TRAILING VO/NAT
¤  ]] C2.5 G 0 [[
— ROB —
— ROB —
            STEVEN EISENBERG SAYS THAT DEFENSE SHOULD ALSO PROTECT CARDONA FROM A CIVIL LAWSUIT FROM ANY OF THE VICTIM’S FAMILIES.
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TRT=



This is another version of the story WISC-TV aired about a horrible car wreck involving young people, illustrating how a TV news story develops as more facts become known:

¤ ]] C2.5 G 0 [[
— MARK —
¤ ]] C2.5 G 0 [[
*CG N42 EASTSIDE CRASH
STUDIO
NEWS CENTER
— MARK —
            TWO MADISON TEENS ARE FACING HOMICIDE CHARGES — FOLLOWING FRIDAY’S DEADLY CAR CRASH ON MILWAUKEE STREET.
¤ ]] C2.5 G 0 [[
— SUSAN —
— SUSAN —
            POLICE SAY THE TWO WERE FIGHTING OVER THE STEERING WHEEL — IN A STOLEN CAR — WHEN THE CRASH OCIRRED.
            NEWS THREE’S MARC LOVICOTT HAS THE LASTEST ON THE CASE FROM THE NEWSCENTER.

¤ ]] C2.5 G 0 [[
— MARC —
— MARC —¤ ]] C2.5 G 0 [[
*cg MLO
— @ : to :

            SUSAN AND MARK — BOTH BOYS — THE 15 YEAR OLD DRIVER, AND THE 14 YEAR OLD FRONT PASSENGER APPEARED IN JUVEINLE COURT THIS AFTERNOON — AND BOTH REMAIN IN POLICE CUSTODY.
¤ ]] C2.5 G 0 [[
VO/NAT
VO/NAT
            SIX TEENAGERS WERE IN THE STOLEN CAR WHEN IT CRASHED FRIDAY NIGHT — 14 YEAR OLD DIONNA COOK WAS KILLED — TWO OTHER GIRLS REMAIN IN CRITICAL CONDITION.
            POLICE SAY AN OFFICER SPOTTED THE CAR, DRIVING ERRATICALLY — AND YELLED OUT THE WINDOW TO SLOW DOWN.
            SECONDS LATER — THE CAR CRASHED — THE DRIVER AND TWO PASSENGERS FLED– BUT WERE LOCATED A SHORT TIME LATER.
            BUT WHAT CAUSED THE CRASH — SEEMS TO BE A STRUGGLE IN THE FRONT SEAT.
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TRT=
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— MARC —
— MARC —
¤ ]] C2.5 G 0 [[
WIPE SOT
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*cg n2 CAPT. TOM SNYDER
Madison Police

@   to
WIPE SOT
Capt Tom Snyder ” based on discussions with those involved in the car, there was a struggle over the steering wheel — exactly why that was happening, i’m not certain. :47
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RUNS=8
OUT Q=I’M NOT CERTAIN.
¤ ]] C2.5 G 0 [[
TRAILING VO/NAT
TRAILING VO/NAT
            AGAIN — POLICE SAY THE VEHILE WAS STOLEN — THE KEYS, AND OTHER ITEMS, WERE ALLEGEDLY TAKEN TWO DAYS EARLIER FROM THE HOME OF AN ACQUAINTANCE.
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TRT=
            POLICE ARE INVESTIGATING THAT, AS A POSSIBLE BURGLARY.

¤ ]] C2.5 G 0 [[
— MARC —
— MARC —¤ ]] C2.5 G 0 [[
*cg MLO
— @ : to :

            THE TWO BOYS — EACH CHARGED WITH HOMICIDE BY NEGLIGENT USE OF A MOTOR VEHICLE, SECOND DEGREE RECKLESS ENDANGERMENT, OPERATING WITHOUT A OWNER’S CONSENT, AND FAILURE TO RENDER AID TO INJURED.
            AS OF NOW, THE DISTRICT ATTORNEY SAYS IT DOESN’T APPEAR THEY’LL BE CHARGED AS ADULTS — THEY HAVE UNTIL THURSDAY TO FILE A MOTION FOR THAT MOVE.
            AGAIN — BOTH WERE IN COURT TODAY — THEY’LL BE BACK FOR A PLEA HEARING, ON JUNE 9TH.
            ¤ ]] C2.5 G 0 [[
— MARK —
— MARK —
            MARC LOVICOTT IN THE NEWSCENTER — THANKS, MARC.


 
Here’s a WISC-TV story about a new director for the county’s 9-1-1 center:

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— SUSAN —
— SUSAN —
            SUPPORTING HIS STAFF AS THEY MOVE FOWARD…. IS THE TOP PRIORITY FOR DANE COUNTY’S NEW 9-1-1 DIRECTOR.
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VO/NAT
¤ ]] C2.5 G 0 [[
*cg n2 NEW 911 DIRECTOR
Begins Duties, City-Co Bldg.

VO/NAT
            FORMER MINNEAPOLIS 9-1-1 CHIEF JOHN DEJUNG (DE-YOUNG) OFFICIALLY STARTED HIS 120-THOUSAND DOLLAR A YEAR JOB TODAY.
            HE TAKES OVER FOR JOE NORWICK, WHO RESIGNED LAST YEAR AFTER THE PUBLIC LEARNED 9-1-1 MISHANDLED A CALL FROM MURDER VICTIM BRITTANY ZIMMERMANN.
¤ ]] C2.5 G 0 [[
VO OF 911 FILE SEE KURT/ LOADED

SINCE THEN, STAFF HAS BEEN ADDED AND NEW TECHNOLOGY PROJECTS BEGUN….
            DEJUNG SAYS HE’S IMPRESSED, AND A LITTLE OVERWHELMED….
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TRT=

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DISSOLVE SOT 435-447
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*cg n2 JOHN DEJUNG
Dane Co. 911 Center Dir.
@   to
DISSOLVE SOT
( JOHN DEJUNG/ 911 DIR/DANE COUNTY PUBLIC SAFETY COMM’S/ it it feels good to be on the payroll now and im feeling like as I mentioned before — kinda of  drinking from a fire hose really fast … trying to take it all in.)

¤ ]] C2.5 G 12 [[
RUNS=12
OUT Q=take it all in.
¤ ]] C2.5 G 0 [[
TRAILING VO/NAT
TRAILING VO/NAT
¤ ]] C2.5 G 0 [[
— SUSAN —
— SUSAN —
THAT SAID, DEJUNG SAYS HE’S CONFIDENT HE CAN GUIDE KEY UPGRADES TO THE CENTER, LIKE A NEW COMPUTER AIDED DISPATCH SYSTEM….  A MULTI-YEAR EFFORT.
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TRT=


 
Here’s a WISC-TV story about the closing of a local outreach center:

¤ ]] C2.5 G 0 [[
— ERIC —
— ERIC —
            A YOUNG CATHOLIC MAN IS OUT TO SAVE HIS DIOCESE MUTLICULTURAL CENTER … AND HAS RAISED MORE THAN 8-THOUSAND DOLLARS ON A FACEBOOK PAGE TO DO IT.
¤ ]] C2.5 G 0 [[
VO/NAT CENTER FILE (friday 6)
¤ ]] C2.5 G 0 [[
*cg n2 “SAVE THE MULTICULTURAL CENTER”
Facebook Page Raises $8000, News 3 File
VO/NAT
            THE CATHOLIC DIOCESE OF MADISON CLOSED THE 3 AND A HALF MILLION DOLLAR OUTREACH LAST FRIDAY … WITH ONLY TWO DAYS NOTICE.
            OFFICIALS SAID THE BUDGET CUT WAS NEEDED AFTER THE ECONOMY LOWERED ITS INVESTMENT INCOME.
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2 SHTOS
            BUT TIMOTHY HUEGERICH (hue-ger-rich) HAS 8-GRAND IN PLEDGES AND HE’S TRYING TO GET THE DIOCESE TO REOPEN  THE CENTER … SOON…
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TRT=

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DISSOLVE SOT 400-409
¤ ]] C2.5 G 0 [[
*cg n2 TIMOTHY HUEGERICH
Facebook Group Creator
@   to
DISSOLVE SOT
( TIMOTHY HUEGERICH/FACEBOOK GROUP CREATOR/SAVE THE CATHOLIC MULTICULTURAL CENTER/ i would be really suprised if it didn’t reopen this week, that’s my personal feeling about it.)

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RUNS=09
OUT Q=feeling about it.
¤ ]] C2.5 G 0 [[
TRAILING VO/NAT
TRAILING VO/NAT
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— ERIC —
— ERIC —
¤ ]] C2.5 G 0 [[
*cg n2 DONORS CAN EMAIL
savethecmc@gmail.com

— @ : to :

            BUT HUEGERICH ADMITS HE HAS YET TO SPEAK TO ANY DIOCESE OFFICIAL DIRECTLY.
            THE CENTER PROVIDED FREE MEALS TO HUNDREDS OF RESIDENTS EACH MONTH, AND HELPED MANY MORE WITH OTHER SOCIAL SERVICES.
            WE’RE TOLD THE BISHOP IS UNAVAILABLE FOR COMMENT.

¤ ]] C2.5 G 0 [[
TRT=


 

Here’s another TV script with a much different, simpler look, done on a less sophisticated system:
Studio – OC – Jones

Fire officials say the blaze that ravaged the School Records Storage Facility in Ourtown is now under control.

VO – server video recordsfire.01

More than 40 firefighters battled the flames that erupted late last night.  TV-1’s John Jones asked firefighter Melissa Smith if the blaze may have been the work of an arsonist.

Server – video + audio (file recordsfire.03)

((In cue: I’m not sure.  It’s a bit too early to tell. When the chief…))
SERVER SEGMENT 1:12

((Out cue “so while there are strong suspicions, we’re not sure yet if this is the work of an arsonist.  John Jones for TV-1.”))

Studio – OC – Jones

Because the fire involved the records of so many people, going back fifty years or more, the state fire marshal has been called in to investigate.