News Tip

If you’re working in broadcast news (or doing any kind of writing, really) and you don’t have or use a Thesaurus, please, get one.

One thing that will make your newscast sound boring or stale in a big hurry is repetition.  This morning I heard the word “agreement” used 3 times in 3 successive sentences.  What about “deal” or “pact” or “tentative contract” or anything to say the same thing in a different way? 

I have bookmarked and not only use it to check words for their exact meaning when I’m unsure (you’d be surprised by how many times you can be mistaken!) but to use the Thesaurus feature.  There’s also and if you can’t go on the ‘net at the same time as you’re in your news software program then tell your News Director he or she needs to invest 5.99 for a little pocket Thesaurus for the newsroom.

This doesn’t mean that you should start being all flowery with unfamiliar synonyms just to make yourself sound smart.  You’ll only sound stupid.  But a busy brain working under a strict deadline can use a little help sometimes and a Thesaurus is simply a tool of the writing trade. I’d be lost without one.  I’d not only be lost, I’d be adrift, astray, disoriented and wayward.

2 thoughts on “News Tip”

  1. Hey Lisa – longtime reader, listener (and friend) – first time poster. Amen, Amen about the thesaurus, girl! Keep spreading the word(s). Our 17 yr old is about to enter college for radio this fall and we’re always grilling her on style and words (like how to say “posthumous”, a word that was butchered by numerous reporters after Heath Ledger’s Oscar win).
    One of the things her father and I are begging her to do is, if in doubt ASK someone. ANYONE. Just last week on your former station, I heard the company name TICKETSNOW repeatedly pronounced “ticket snow” rather than the correct “tickets now”. An honest mistake? Sure. But the flub – which recurred hour after hour – came off the back of a news clip in which an irate government minister very clearly SAID “Tickets NOW”. The anchor’s pronounciation guide was right there in the clip but he just didn’t hear it. Or ask.
    It’s far better to risk looking stupid among your co-workers than among a few hundred thousand listeners. I’ve done both and prefer the former to the latter. Love your blog. E.

    1. I totally agree with you about asking questions! And if a co-worker dares to treat you as if you’re stupid because you don’t know something, they’re a jerk, plain and simple. We all have different experiences in life and there’s nothing wrong with making sure you’re sure.

      But I think you’re being too generous to the anchor who said Ticket Snow! 🙂 They couldn’t possibly have heard that anywhere and making the assumption was a deriliction of duty! We can’t be perfect but we can avoid as many mistakes as possible by doing our jobs correctly. Where was the editor? Where was this person’s co-anchor??? Team members are supposed to help each other. Sigh.

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