It is generally noted that if there is no event, there will be no news and as such there will be no history. This is a clear indication that news is usually associated with events.
The stories are gathered by correspondents and reported to the audience who consume from the broadcast station as second or reported news items.
At the end of this unit, you should be able to:
- define News Production/Presentation and Voice Production in broadcasting
- explain News Values in broadcasting
- explain News Reporting and News Beats in broadcasting.
3.0 MAIN CONTENT
3.1 Definition of News Production
Mencher (1985:44), in Ciboh and Iyorkyaa (2004:18) defines news as a report that presents a contemporary need of reality with regard to specific issues, events or process. Other contemporary definitions of news range from whatever interests the listener to a timely account of a current idea, or problem that interests people.
Tuggle et al (2001:2) say that, in broadcast reporting, we do not use the inverted pyramid style. Television and radio news reporting is done in such a way that the viewer or listener would notice something was missing if we “trimmed from the bottom” because stories are not built in descending order of the facts. Also, the end of longer broadcast news stories should contain either a summary statement or should leave the viewer/listener with something to think about.
SELF ASSESSMENT EXERCISE 1
- Why don’t we use inverted pyramid style of reporting in broadcasting?
3.2 Voice Production
York (2000:42) states that almost any voice will improve with training, however, not everyone will be suitable for broadcasting. The main thing for the beginner is to want to communicate. The voice should therefore come across the listener as natural. Sentences should be constructed so that proper phrasing is possible, because that in them will aid the audience’s comprehension.
The second consideration is to ensure that words, once written, are delivered with a reasonable range of inflection. It should be noted that some voices are naturally monotonous, but, to make things worse, many young broadcasters often develop a tendency to speak quickly and they do so in a flat undertone, thinking that by doing so they would add a sense of urgency to their work. But in broadcasting, one would notice that the more nervous the broadcaster, the higher the pitch, so although it is not an easy task, the broadcaster has to allow his/her muscles to relax so that the full tonal range comes through. It should not be forgotten that the listener relies principally on the clarity of the speech as much as on the power of pictures, in the case of television, and the broadcaster who speaks poorly is simply doing only half the job.
In offering appointments to reporters or broadcasters, employers should ensure that the candidates should undergo vigorous voice tests and those who are found to have speech impediments and other impenetrable accents that may not be overcome after some practice should be denied the job.
Names of persons and places should be rightly pronounced at all times. In order to aid the consistency in pronunciation, most broadcast stations supply broadcasters regularly with updates of difficult names of persons and places in the news by supplying dictionaries of pronunciation and an index prepared by the station based on experience.
SELF ASSESSMENT EXERCISE 2
- Why should those to be employed by any broadcast station undergo voice test?
3.3 News Values
Gressberg et al (1998:327), cited in Utor and Sambe (2004:2) suggest certain qualities or criteria that could assist in deciding the news values, that is, what to publish or broadcast or not to broadcast. These criteria are impact, timeliness, prominence, proximity, the bizarre, conflict and currency.
- Impact – this refers to the number of people whose lives will be influenced in one way or the other by the subject of the story, for example, if petrol stations go on strike most people would be affected whereas a strike by non academic staff of a university would not affect many people.
- Timeliness – “if it is not new, it is not news”. If the news is recent, it has more news value. Stations as a result, do bring a story up to date as much as possible.
- Proximity – events and situations in one’s community home community tend to be more newsworthy than events that take place far away.
- Prominence – men and women may be born equal and may claim equal rights as citizens, but some grow up to be more newsworthy than others. For example, if Turai Yar’adua givesbirth the whole world would know but the birth of a 12th child of a farmer will not herald unless the baby has two heads or they are joined together.
- Human Interest – these are events that tend to affect the lives of men and women, for example, calamities or achievements, human interest can be measured by other news values such as unusualness, proximity and prominence.
- Bizarre – odd and unusual events have always seemed more newsworthy than those of routine nature. For instance, if a chicken lays an egg as big as a football, it would be newsworthy because such an egg is unusual.
SELF ASSESSMENT EXERCISE 3
What are the determinants of news values?
3.4 News Reporting
Reporting happens to be the main activity of journalism. It is the fulfillment of a vital function to society. It means giving an account of some happenings. Chamley (1965:44) describes reporting as both an art and craft. As an art, reporting is an artistic expression derived from the guidance of the reportorial craft by native perception, taste, intuitive awareness and an intense personal impulse that is perhaps inexplicable. As a craft, reporting is made of a complex of skills, methods, techniques and designs based on thought and experience which can be taught and learned and then passed on from those who have studied and practiced it to those who have the capacity to study and develop it.
- Basic News Reporting – is straight news reporting. It is reporting the facts as they are, events as they happen without adding any other thing to it. It is basic reporting as it is.
- In-depth Reporting – called advanced reporting. It is detailed, balanced and thorough treatment of facts, events and issues with background orientation to explain how and why it happened, for the benefit of the audience since this type of reporting involves search and research, inquiry and investigation, it requires team work.
- Interpretative Reporting – does not only treat news in-depth, but also provides comment on the news by associating views with information and opinion with facts so that the listener or viewer would better understand the news situation and to an opinion of himself/herself. This is called opinion moulding news.
- Investigative Reporting – is reporting of concealed information. According to Anderson and Benjaminson (1987:200) it is digging deep and aggressively when necessary, even dangerously especially for hidden corruption or concealed misbehaviour or inefficiency.
SELF ASSESSMENT EXERCISE 4
As an art and craft, define news reporting.
3.5 News Beats
News is the process of collecting raw information from various sources to be reported as news. News is gathered from the following sources called beats:
- Regular Beats – Folarin (1998:16) says a reporter is assigned to a news beat as regular as possible to news beats which are places to which the reporter has been assigned, it could be the market, airport, the state house, police station, the court and even the university campus. In covering regular beats the reporter has to be familiar with the whole environment of the beat as well as the operations and personnel of the establishment concerned. The reporter should cultivate friendship with both the lower and upper echelon of personnel in the establishment. The lower cadres of personnel are always willing to supply the scoops about the establishment while those in the top echelon would normally have access to top secrets not readily available to those at the lower level.
- Social Assignments – conferences, seminars, annual general meetings of professional bodies, shareholders and a host of others form the social assignment beats. The reporter must endeavour to be up to date with the subject of the gathering. The reporter should do all that is possible to get the copies of papers to be delivered in advance, to be abreast with themes and objectives. The reporter should try and get personal interviews with those who play important role at the occasion.
- Press/News Conferences – require similar preparations just like the other beats. The only difference is that those who arrange press or news conferences are usually more willing in supplying copies of addresses and in answering reporter’s questions.
- Correspondents – are out of town or out of country reporters, and are known as correspondents. They file in reports from out – stations. The correspondent is left to use his initiative in searching for news. Such stories could be sent to the station through telephones, telex, radiophone or telefax. News can also be got through subscription to the wire services.
SELF ASSESSMENT EXERCISE 5
- What is the difference between the regular and special assignments correspondents?
The reporter has to be factual in reporting events. The report must be free from colouration and should not be embellished with opinion of the reporter. The news report must be simple, concise and clear so that the import of the content can be understood and appreciated by the targeted audience.
News is a report of an event covered by various reporters assigned to beats on different locations. They usually package and present events, occurrences and activities for human interests as they happen. The story meets the needs of the station’s audience.
It should be noted that there are varied sources of news but the most important ones tend to be the regular beats and the correspondent reporting from the out station. However, subscription to the wire services has also become essential in order to make for balanced and up – to – date news.
6.0 TUTOR-MARKED ASSIGNMENT
- Why do you consider voice to be an important element in news production?
- What are the characteristics of news values?
- News is not just got by sitting in the station. How does news come into the broadcast station?