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Two Minute Tips

Business for broadcast with Ben Bergman

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In this week’s How to Cover Money podcast, hosts Micki Maynard and Mark Remillard talked with Ben Bergman from KPCC Los Angeles about how to cover business journalism as broadcasters. Ben Bergman of KPCC grapples with a unique issue covering business journalism for broadcast. “We’re always told in radio, ‘don’t use any numbers. Take the numbers out of your story.’ And of course what is business about but numbers?” asks Bergman. “So the challenge is having enough numbers to have the heft of your story, but also make it interesting.” Bergman said featuring real people–central compelling characters affected by the numbers–can help.

Writing a business story for broadcast is tricky, as your audience may be distracted. A good journalist knows of ways to balance giving important information without bogging down listeners. In this episode, Bergman shares some great tips from his experiences with NPR reporter Steve Inskeep.

When doing a story for radio you have to remember the reader may be distracted, driving, getting dressed or tending to their kids, Bergman said. So when going from print to broadcast, it’s important to avoid long sentences with complex clauses.

In short a broadcast reporter must:

  1. Find a central compelling character to feature in their story package.
  2. Weave in the numbers in an interesting way.
  3. Do great storytelling.
  4. Write a script setting up the story for the host and anchor.
  5. Write the story.

Remember that stories suited for radio might not be great for Web or vice versa, Bergman said.



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