see the quotation marks, a quote requires special
attention. A question lead, in other than soft news or a
feature story, too often sounds like a spot announcement
or commercial message.
The rule can be violated if your copy contains a
rhetorical question that adds to the attention-getting
nature of the lead, as in the following example:
HOW COMMON IS THE COMMON
COLD? A GROUP OF DOCTORS
ARE LOOKING FOR THE ANSWER
TO THIS QUESTION.
The same exception to this rule holds true in the use
of quotations in a hard news lead, as in the example that
WE WILL BE ON TOP OF
INFLATION BY THE END OF THIS
QUARTER. THAT PREDICTION
WAS MADE THIS MORNING.
After writing the lead to your broadcast story, you
will develop the specifics of the story logically in the
body of your story. Logical development is nothing
more than an orderly development of the body of your
story so that it flows smoothly to an end. Ask yourself,
What is the next thing the listener wants to know?
The body of the broadcast news story can be
developed in any one of the following three patterns:
chronologically, expanding the Ws and descending
In chronological development, you narrate the event
from the beginning to its conclusion.
Expanding the Ws
Specifically identify the who, when, where, and so
forth, and further amplify the what happened.
After explaining what happened in the lead, place
the facts in order of descending importance. Remember
to place the most important facts first.
Avoid placing unnecessary details in the body of
your story. Learn to separate the important from the
trivial. Often, you will have to condense, to 100 words
or less, a story that a newspaper might use as many as
750 words to report.
Quotations and Attributions
Earlier, we covered the use of quotations in your
lead sentence. What about quotations in the body of your
story? The same fundamental guidelines apply. Your
listener cannot see quotation marks; therefore, you must
alert the listener that a quote is coming up.
In the following example, the listener is alerted with
what he called and he said before the quotes.
THE SENATOR ATTACKED WHAT
HE CALLED NEEDLESS AND
I R R E S P O N S I B L E U S E OF
FEDERAL POWERS. HE SAID,
I BELIEVE THIS IS OUR MOST
QUOTE, UNQUOTE. TO lead into quotes by the
use of quote and unquote is disconcerting and
unconversational. Avoid the use of long quotes. If it is
necessary to link the statement with the speaker, use
conversational phrases for this purpose. Consider the
THE ADMIRAL WENT ON TO
SAY ... CONTINUING HIS RE-
MARKS, THE ADMIRAL SAID.
DANGLING IDENTIFICATION. Generdly,
you should not start a sentence with a direct quote or
paraphrase and tack its source on the end. This is known
as a dangling identification or attribution. Remember to
alert your listener that a quotation is coming up. Start
the quote with the source. Consider the following
PRESIDENT CLINTON SAID, WE
MUST CONTROL INFLATION.
Incorrect WE MUST CONTROL INFLA-
TION, PRESIDENT CLINTON