20 key points every TV journalist should know

Compiled by Alireza Khanderoo


 № 1 Feeding your enthusiasm on reporting and journalism

№ 2 Knowing as much as possible about your profession as a journalist.

№ 3 To define your ideal work experiences; see news reports and features as often as possible; Read and Watch constantly. Keep a list of correspondents, journalists, news networks on every professional level whose work most appeals to you. Expand your horizons by seeing types of work you’ve never seen before.

 № 4 Knowing who you want to work for.

№ 5 Be aware that your reports are potentially touching and affecting the lives of millions of people – through TV.

№ 6 Journalists need to be well aware of the opportunities and limitations of TV medium and try to adjust their style accordingly.

№ 7 Story-telling with pictures is not the same as story-telling with words alone, so try to learn the language and grammar of TV story telling. There are useful lessons to be learnt from cinema art. Broadcast news writing uses a different structure than print journalism.

№ 8 Good writing is important to journalists along with commitment to accuracy, impartiality and fairness. Well written English is easier to understand than poorly written English. The best journalists appreciate that writing well is not a tiresome duty but a necessity.

№ 9 Learning skills that will make more employable such as pronunciation, accents and improvisation.

№ 10 Use your voice fully while reporting.

№ 11 Working on your voice means not only working on report but on making your voice beautiful and expressive.

№ 12 Warm up, vocally and physically. Warm up your voice and body before every report and see how it makes your report more productive and enjoyable. Constantly ask your colleagues whether they can hear and understand you easily. If you do so you will quickly learn the difference between how using your voice and body feels to you and how it is actually coming across to your audience.

№ 13 Update yourself as often as possible with the latest regional and global developments in the fields of legislation, economy, policy and so on.

№ 14 Be transparent about the errors in your report and rectify them promptly and openly.

  •  Accuracy tops the agenda of what we do

№ 15 Always strive for balance and freedom from bias

  • Avoid favoring political parties, authorities and power brokers

№ 16 Avoid putting your opinion in a news story 

№ 17 Always respect privileged information.

№ 18 Always protect your sources from the authorities.

№ 19 Avoid fabrication or plagiarism 

№ 20 Avoid taking bribe or gift and never pay for a story


Technical terms


Assignment desk: The center at a broadcast station that designates which reporter will cover a particular event.

Assignment: A job given to a journalist by Assignment desk

News package: a completed television news story on tape or digital file, which is edited before a news show goes on air and contains reporter’s stand-ups, narration over images, interviews and sound bites.

News report (Hard news):  A report narrated by a field reporter which includes one or two sound bites and a reporter standup.

Feature report (Soft news): A longer report, usually in greater depth and complexity than a simple news report. Feature gives a correspondent the chance to report in depth and against a more relaxed deadline. The feature story provides a change of pace in newscasts.  Features are generally longer than “hard” news stories and most often focus on “soft-news” items. Features may grow from a current news event or simply be examining a timeless issue. Features which are not strongly connected to hard news events are often called soft features. Longer features may be called documentaries.

Lead-in:  The introduction to a TV News Story package read “live” by the newscaster in the studio.

Stand-up: a reporter’s appearance in a TV news story usually a head and shoulders shot which features the reporter talking into a microphone at the scene of the news event, often used as a transition, or at the beginning or ending.

Sound bite: A very short part of a speech or statement, especially made by a politician that is broadcast on a TV news programme.

Newsroom: The office in a broadcasting company where news is received and news reports are written.

Newscaster: (American English) someone who reads the news on television; = Newsreader (British English)

Anchor: (American English) someone who reads the news on TV and introduces news reports.

C.G. for sound bite info:  The info printed over picture which contains the rank, name, and title of the sound bite.

Hard news: Reports about important or timely events. The story that is covered by the majority of the media.

Soft news: Stories that are interesting but less important than hard news, focusing on people as well as facts and information and including interviews.

Advocacy journalism: A type of journalism in which journalists openly and intentionally takes sides on issues and express their opinions in reporting. It attempts to be factually based and is not to be confused with badly-practised objective journalism or propaganda.

Objective journalism: A basic type of journalism in which the journalists do not allow their personal biases to affect their work, they take a neutral stance even on difficult matters and give a fair representation of events and issues. Compare with advocacy journalism.

Investigative journalism: Finding, reporting and presenting news which other people try to hide. It usually takes longer and requires more research that ordinary news reporting.

WWWW & H: Who? What? Where? When? Why? and How? The six most important questions journalists should ask and news stories should answer.

Leading question: A question phrased in such a way as to draw out a specific answer wanted by the questioner.

Open question: Also called an open-ended question,  a question which cannot be answered with a simple ‘Yes’ or ‘No’, but requires the interviewee to give more information. ‘What happened?’ is an open question. Compare with closed question above.

Closed question: A question which can be answered with a simple ‘Yes’ or ‘No’. Contrast with open questions, which require longer, more involved answers. ‘Can you tell me?’ is a closed question. ‘What can you tell me?’ is an open question.

Wrap-up questions: The final questions in an interview, in which the interviewer clarifies any outstanding issues and checks they have not missed anything, e.g. ‘Is there anything else you can tell me about the crash?’

Deadline: The time the Assignment desk or producer sets by which the reporter must submit a finished story.



  1. Can you tell what qualities does one need to be a good journalist?
    How does a journalist find sources?

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