Television v. Newspaper

I’m currently participating in the Dow Jones/NBC Universal Multimedia Journalism Workshop for Summer

English: P icon with a newspaper
English: P icon with a newspaper (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

2012 at Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University in Tallahassee, FL.

Isn’t that a mouthful.

Anyhoo, yesterday we visited a local TV news station (WCTV Channel 6 Eyewitness News, the Tallahassee CBS affiliate) in addition to the local newspaper, the Tallahassee Democrat.

When speaking with the executive editor and one of the paper’s reporters, I asked them both whether there’s greater requirement of writing skill necessary for newspaper work than television work.

Initially their reply was little more than a euphemism: they explained that writing is necessary for both fields and that it’s equally important despite the perception that television is seen as more of a technical art.

But later on, they finally hinted at the fact that newspaper writing is a different game.

Writing articles is a different game than writing scripts for TV indeed, namely because those scripts serve news reports a maximum of about 2 minutes in duration, whereas news articles are longer in length due to inclusion of additional detail.

And you know what you need to put in additional detail in a story? Two things: the research and reporting skills necessary to get that additional info in the first place, as well as the writing skill necessary to put all that info on paper.

See because writing an article as long as newspaper features go is like constructing a long bridge. The longer you make it, the more money you’ll have to spend on getting the additional metal necessary, the more hours you’ll spend building it.

Same goes for newspaper writing.

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