Before you script:
Step 1: Keep your log ready: As already explained the log will come handy if you need to figure out what you have or whether a particular sound bite is available.
Step 2: Block your story: Break your story into various parts the beginning, middle and the end. You are telling a story. Hence it should be told logically. Think how absurd the crow, jug of water and pebble story would be if it is told in the wrong order.
Step 3: Write anchor link first: The anchor link is the summary of the story. Once written this also clarifies the story idea in your mind. This also ensures that you do not repeat the introduction in the first paragraph of the story.
Step 4: Write the script itself: Once the above steps are completed one is ready to script.
Writing Anchor Links: In News the first line itself should introduce the story. “10 people killed and 50 injured in a landslide in Uttar Kashi.” Once the story has been introduced give the summary and a background if it is required. In some channels there is the style of introducing the reporter in the link itself. “Our war correspondent…so and so reports.”
Spoken Language/ Short sentences: The television script is written for the ear. Since there is no scope of rewinding or cross checking what has been said…it is better to use simple words. Short sentences also help as it keeps the story simple…one idea per sentence. Once you have written the script read it aloud once or twice. When you listen if it sounds right, it is correct.
Writing to visuals: Television is a visual medium. Since the script is being written after watching the footage…keep the visuals in mind. Do not try to explain something for which you do not have the supporting visuals. Of course it is not always possible to get the visuals that you want…however; some shots which give an idea of the thought being discussed in the commentary can be used. On the other hand when there is some specific footage available few more lines in the script could be added to highlight the issue. Eg: …the dignitary showed special interest on this child who performed well despite his handicap…”
The first paragraph: After the story has been introduced by the anchor…the voice of the reporter takes over. The reporter in his first paragraph should never repeat what has been said in the anchor link. This will not only make the story monotonous but crucial on air time would be wasted:
You tell the story: Remember that you as the journalist are telling the story. The sound bites are only meant to support what you are saying. They are not supposed to add new elements of the story.
Follow up sentence to reinforce lead: Whatever has been said in the last paragraph has to be followed up in the next one. There has to be a connection. The pargraphs cannot be disjointed.
Left hand and Right hand side: One method of writing the script is to have a left hand side and a right hand side. The left hand side for visuals whereas the right hand side for the commentary and other sounds.
Active voice: Use active voice while writing the script. Instead of writing “Australia was beaten by India”, write “India beat Australia.”
Always use the word that emphasises immediacy: Taking from the other example itself…instead of saying “India beat Australia,’ write “India has beaten Australia”. This gives immediacy to the news. Television is supposed to report as things happen. That immediacy has to be felt in the language as well.