Reprinted with thanks to CJAM, University of Windsor Radio. 1981.
There is no one style of announcing that is superior to all others. A guaranteed step-by-step plan for perfect news announcing simply does not exist but there are lots of things you can do to ensure a strong delivery.
There are differences between the way a DJ announces and the way a newsperson does. The newsperson must sound credible and authoritative. Your listeners must believe what you are telling them.
The best way to practice is by reading stories out loud. Practice this often to help you feel comfortable with your own voice. Tape yourself. The first time around you’ll say “that doesn’t sound like me”. It does – the rest of the world hears you differently than you hear yourself. Learn to love your own voice.
- Pacing – too fast? Too slow? Just right?
- Inflection – do you sound lively and interesting, or flat and monotone? Play with the words until you get a sound that you’re happy with
- Concentration – make sure you are paying attention to every single word you are saying. You’ll be able to hear when you’re reading but actually thinking about something else. Good readers are more susceptible to this. Because your reading skills are already competent, you’re more likely to be able to think about something else while you’re reading. The words will come out right but everybody will be able to tell you’re going through the motions while on another astral plane.
- Stumbling – if you find yourself consistently stumbling over the same passage, it’s a sign you’re not comfortable with the writing. Rewrite until you get a sentence you can deliver well.
You may find that you are short of breath, and that saliva gathers in your mouth. If these things happen, here are a few things to keep in mind:
- Sit up straight in your chair. Slouching is one sure way to run out of breath too soon
- Take a big breath and let it our before you start the newscast (not over the air). Do this to relax yourself.
- Concentrate on speaking rather than reading. Mark your copy before hand so you can see where you should be placing pauses and emphasizing words
- Look up from your copy every now and again and look at your floor manager or techie. Tell her/him the story. Don’t bury your nose in your copy – you’ve got to “talk” your story, not read it.
- If saliva gathers in your mouth, don’t be afraid to swallow but try not to do it in the middle of a story – and do it quietly.
- Breathe at the beginning of each story. Breathe deeply and fill up those lungs. If you’ve ever taken singing lessons, use the same principles for deep breathing.
Proper diction is important in doing a newscast. Correctly pronouncing words requires concentration. One absolute rule is always read your copy before going live on the air. Carefully check and re-check names and places for their proper pronunciation and put them in brackets right next to the word in the copy.
Say the words clearly, giving emphasis to each syllable, without excessive exaggeration. Be alert – a tired newscaster often fails to enunciate clearly.