Writing in Stereo

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WiS II - Lesson Three - the Voicer

August 26th, 2010

When a reporter gets information on an event or news assignment and shares that information with the audience, either live or recorded, that's called a voicer.  The "voice" in a voicer is not the voice of the news source; it's the voice of the reporter.  A voicer does not include an actuality.

workbook.gifIn a typical voicer the reporter calls a news source for more information.  You might have time and access to the recording workstation to record a phoner, but you can get a voicer at any phone.  Of course, you can talk to the source in person, too.  You just get the information, perhaps a quote, and take good notes.

After the call you write a reader-style story.  The parts are the same.  Now when you write what your titled-source-says, you'll be sharing the real quotes-direct and indirect-that the source shared with you on the phone.

There is one little difference with a voicer.  The news reader (anchor) will add your soft lede to the main news copy (script).  After the soft lede, you'll write for the news reader:  "Warrior Radio News Reporter (your name) has details."  What follows will be you on the air or your recorded voice picking up with the titled-source-says sentences.

After the last sentence of the story, you tack on a sentence that professional broadcast journalists call a lockout.  (I'm not making this up.)  You hear lockouts all the time in TV news.  Our reporters say, "For Warrior Radio News I'm (your name)."  If you're on the air live, the close will not be so formal.  You'll let the news reader know how the story ends.  He might ask you a pre-arranged follow-up question.  But he or she will thank you and move on to the next story.

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Directions:

Select a partner. Your teacher will assign each of you an announcement from those below. Your partner will make up the important details for your assigned announcement. You will make up important details for his or hers. Then you will interview each other in turn to learn the details your partner has to share about your announcement. Take notes about everything your partner says. Then write the complete voicer and add the soft lede toss from the news reader and the lockout at the end. Remember: a voicer has no actuality.

Here's how to write it.

Begin the story with the soft lede. Next is the toss to your recorded (or live) voicer: "Warrior Radio News Reporter (you) has more on the story."

Then you continue as you would in any announcement reader. Keep in mind that you might be writing a lot more about what the news source really said, rather than what we normally share from their announcement copy.

You close with the time and place details or some other clincher to the story.

Then you write your lockout: "For Warrior Radio News I'm ...."

That's the voicer!