Whether or not you intend to go into a career involving news reporting, one of the most common required classes in television broadcasting programs is the newswriting class. Often lumped into a course covering both the development and the actual onscreen reporting of a story, the newswriting class is an invaluable launching pad for the vital career skills of an aspiring reporter, broadcast journalist, or researcher and serves as a helpful supplementary class for students pursuing other aspects of broadcasting.
The newswriting class will usually kick off with some necessary foundational information. Students will learn basic broadcasting philosophy, grammar, and technical production that is required of newswriting but covered more in depth in classes like media ethics, general writing, and broadcast news production.
Expect this review to be either quick or interspersed throughout the curriculum, as the newswriting class has plenty more to cover. Next up are the basic skills for seeking and fleshing out a story. These skills start with computer-based research but almost inevitably end up moving out into the field for on-site information gathering and interviewing; likewise, newswriting students can expect that the course will require much more out-of-class work from this point on. Most television broadcasting programs allow students to pick their own genre of story to cover at this point, though this is not always the case.
Once the course has gotten mostly through gathering the story – which it spends a good chunk of time on – it will focus on refining it for the news-watching audience. This is where strong writing and storytelling skills come into play, as well as where aspiring behind-the-camera newswriters may be disgruntled at having to flex their onscreen reporting muscle (depending on the specific class). At this point, newswriting classes usually get into reviewing students’ projects as they are developed and covering more minor points about the subject.
In what is sure to be good news for aspiring reporters but bad news for those just taking newswriting because it’s required, the newswriting class is often one of the more intensive classes of a broadcasting curriculum, involving multiple in-depth projects and plenty of work beyond the classroom. Either way, newswriting is a valuable skill to understand for any broadcaster and an important class to take seriously!