Something the general public may not realize is that reporters are not only in charge of writing our own scripts for our packages, but we are also responsible for writing script copy for the anchors to read on air. When writing scripts, I’ve always been told to remember the KISS rule: “keep it simple, stupid.” Basically that means when writing broadcast copy you should strive to make your writing sound as conversational as possible, as if you were speaking to an aunt. But sometimes that rule isn’t always in the forefront of my mind. When I’m in a hurry and speed racing my fingers across the keyboard, I’m thinking accuracy and sometimes I’m guilty of not always remembering the “KISS” rule. I thought keeping scripts simple was for the benefit of the viewers, but it didn’t occur to me until recently that it is also helpful for the anchor.
Since January, I’ve started practicing the craft of anchoring. Basically that means I’ll come in on a Sunday after the evening show and read the first block of the show at the anchor desk. It isn’t live, but I pretend it is while the show is recording. Then I send out the video to different people for critiques. You see, I’m not doing this because I want to be an anchor, I’m doing it to be a more well rounded reporter. But back to my point, as soon as I got in the anchor chair and started reading from the prompter, I immediatley realized the need for simple words. Long drawn out sentences and big words just seemed so unnecessary from that perspective. Now when I write my scripts, I keep the anchors in mind and read long winded sentences out loud to figure out ways to cut them down. I heard somewhere once that if you walk into a television newsroom and don’t hear people reading out loud to themselves, then something is wrong. Finally realized why!
Below is one of my anchor practice reels.