Course Spotlight: Broadcast Writing
Published on Nov 28, 2018 by Lisa Mazza
Broadcast Writing is an early, but fundamental, course for students in Full Sail University’s Sportscasting bachelor’s degree program.
Taught by Rishi Barran, an established sports broadcaster with 15 years of professional experience in broadcast media, students in this course are immersed in an environment similar to what they’ll experience in their careers, starting on day one. The main learning goals of the Broadcast Writing course are how to write conversationally, how to craft and tell a story that will connect with viewers, and how to perform well under pressure from tight deadlines.
“In this course, every day that students are in class, they are under a tight deadline to have their assignment done. If they aren’t able to finish the assignment within the time constraint, they still have to go in front of the class and cameras to perform what they’ve written.” says course director, Rishi Barran. “The objective of this is not only to teach the students how to quickly write a script when news breaks but also how to navigate the very real stresses they’ll encounter if they pursue a career in sports broadcasting.”
In addition to experiencing life-like situations, students are also taught important concepts that they will continue to build upon throughout their time within the Sportscasting Degree program. One of the most important concepts students learn is that broadcast writing is written to be spoken, unlike print writing.
“When students begin this course, most of them only have experience writing in formal settings, like for English papers that are graded based on sentence structure and vocabulary. When writing for broadcast, students have to focus on how the sentence will sound in a conversation. Does it evoke emotion and tell the story? Are there certain words or phrases that need to be emphasized when read aloud?” adds Rishi.
To practice the difference between traditional writing and broadcast writing, students will first write a story in AP style, and then rewrite it entirely for broadcast. When writing for broadcast, students are encouraged to be creative and incorporate what their audiences can relate to, even if there are references outside of sports.
Throughout the course, students are advised to find their own voice and not to try to fit into a mold of what they believe a sportscaster should be. A broadcaster’s personality is what is sought after in a writing piece because viewers will be able to feel its authenticity once spoken out loud.
“Many people don’t realize that most of the broadcasters they watch on TV actually wrote the scripts that they’re reading aloud. Even the broadcasters on SportsCenter write their own copy. No matter what your job title is in the sports journalism field, you have to be well-versed in broadcast writing to be successful.” states Rishi.
At the conclusion of Broadcast Writing, students piece together the concepts they’ve learned and mimic a life-like broadcast. While on a real set located on Full Sail University’s campus stocked with studio lighting, cameras, and a floor director, students perform a seven-minute broadcast they wrote themselves. This final assignment will become a piece for students to add to their portfolio and broadcast reel when applying for their first sportscasting job after graduation.
If you are interested in learning more about the courses offered in this degree program at Full Sail’s Dan Patrick School of Sportscasting, click here.