Television Scripts

THE TEMPLATE

The iNEWS template is the core of our scripting operation. After our video has been sent, sending the template triggers its delivery to clients. It gives clients key information to allow them to start using the video. Here’s an example, ready to be sent:

Image:File.jpg

On the following pages you’ll see how to fill the template in (some fields do not need to be filled in by non-DI bureaux but these are highlighted below).

PLEASE NOTE – SCRIPTING EXAMPLES ARE ITALICISED IN THIS GUIDE FOR READING CLARITY – WE DO NOT ITALICISE OUR SCRIPTS IN INEWS

SLUG

Producers: normally your story will already be named before it is given to you, but if you are naming a story yourself, or an editor, there are some things to remember.

The main rule is that TV, text and pix use the same slugs as each other.

Check for text and pix coverage on your story first on Newsplanner, Eikon and Connect; check the list at the top in the WNE LOG queue in iNews. If still unsure, your multimedia desk should be able to help.

Your slug will begin like this (it should include two hyphens and a forward slash) STORY NUMBER-SUBJECT-SUBJECT/

e.g.: 3057-MIDEAST-CRISIS/ 1066-EUROPE-MIGRANTS/

It is the two ‘subject’ words before the forward slash which must be identical with pix and text. Your slug should still have a slash at the end even if no words follow it.

After the slash, you can then add further words to reflect the actual content of the story. This may or may not contain the location of the story, depending on what is appropriate.

e.g.:

3057-MIDEAST-CRISIS/MOSUL 1066- EUROPE-MIGRANTS/FRANCE

If necessary, you can always add further hyphens, e.g.:

1066-EUROPE-MIGRANTS/FRANCE-LEPEN

Adding words after the slash helps clarify to clients the differences between numerous edits to one ongoing story throughout the day. Do not file two stories to the same feed with identical slugs on the same day, i.e. avoid 1001-EUROPE-MIGRANTS/ and 1234-EUROPE-MIGRANTS/ going out to WORLD on one day. This causes problems with our watermarking and fails to adequately advertise the difference between two edits.

One thing you do need to keep in mind is that the total number of characters (including the number, hyphens and forward slashes) in the slug must be no more than 49.

Please note – if text, pix and video have all worked together on a multimedia operation for a specific story, then the entire slug must be identical across all three platforms. If you are aware that it is a multimedia story, then please double-check which slug is being used.

There are also occasions when text uses more than one word before or after the hyphen. E.g.: NORTHKOREA-NUCLEAR/KIM or PEOPLE-GEORGEMARTIN/. Again, we should follow their lead.

If you want to know more about text’s slugging procedures, you can read about it here: http://handbook.reuters.com/?title=News_Presentation&elq=27d9f34ce73449ccbafb6550f1f9918e%20&elqCampaignId=336#Slugs_and_Slugging

If text is not covering the story, then we have a little more leeway in choosing a slug that suits us. Please still try to follow existing procedures, e.g. if it is a story about measles, it would still be wise to slug the story HEALTH-MEASLES/.

There is a masterlist of slugs available on The Hub here: https://thehub.thomsonreuters.com/docs/DOC-1586033-slugs-the-masterlist

If you have any doubts please check with a regional or duty editor, London output editor or night editor depending on the time/where you are.

The following three sections are for DI bureaux/hubs/London producers:

FEED

It is very difficult to remove it from a feed it has already been sent to on a dropdown – please make sure you have selected the correct feeds before you hit send!

The name(s) of the feed(s) your story will be sent to: During dayside, this will be decided by your local editor/London output editor. If you are doing it yourself, here’s how: Select the feed from the drop-down menu marked FEED 1. You can send to a secondary feed at the same time by selecting FEED 2.

Sometimes you need to send a story to three feeds (such as WORLD, EYEWITNESS and EYEWITNESSONLINE). To do this, send the template once with WORLD and EYEWITNESS selected as FEED 1 and FEED 2, then resend the template with EYEWITNESSONLINE selected in the dropdown of FEED 1. It will still go out to the original two feeds selected, because once a template has been sent to a feed it updates automatically.

EUROVISION

We also send material to the Eurovision news exchange, which includes most European state broadcasters, but could include others as well. Unless specified, all Reuters copyright material can be permissioned for Eurovision. We do not want to permission material uppicked from other Eurovision members. Dayside, your local editor/London Output editor will decide if a story should go to Eurovision and will tick this box accordingly. If you think something SHOULD be permissioned for Eurovision and the box has not been ticked, please check with the Output Editor.

PRIORITY

Stories are generally sent as a Priority 4. The London Output editor or Night editor may change this to a higher priority (or ask you to), depending on how they are managing the flow of stories through WNE. These are the only people able to authorise a change of priority, so please call in to request an upgrade.

The following sections are for every producer:

HEADLINE

The headline should be short, accurate and reflect what is seen in the edit. Sometimes the headline used by text in the wire will be ideal, sometimes it will not.

Headline Basics

  • Think 'who does what'
  • Be brief, around six words
  • Be punchy – sell the story
  • Use present tense, active voice
  • Locate story geographically
  • Don’t be too clever
  • Putin, Trump etc, need no explainer
  • Use title alone for lesser figures
  • No times, dates unless crucial
  • No clichés or weak verbs
  • Nearly always: avoid humour
  • Don’t use ‘amvid’
  • Use 'single quotation' marks in headlines, "double" for scripts

Double-check that there are no spelling mistakes (including names of people and places) or typos before moving on. The headline is the first thing many of the clients see on Connect, so you must be sure you have it right. If you have any doubts, ask a fellow producer or the Sub.

INTRO

Leave the INTRO field blank in the template for most edits (going to WORLD, LIFE etc). For VIRAL and EYEWITNESS video, this needs to be filled in with a single sentence written in present tense elaborating on the headline to explain what the video shows.

TXDATE

This is the date the story is being transmitted, i.e. “today’s” date. It is added automatically by iNEWS and has the format: 01.01.17 (day-month-year). No action is required, unless working on a features story where you may have to add.

DURATION

Must be written like this: 2:03 or 3:15. Use a colon between the minutes and seconds and time the story without the slate. The slate is five seconds long. So if your total duration with the slate is 3:30, the duration on your script should be 3:25.

If the correct duration is not on the template, then your story will not process through WNE as it will not match the video you have sent.

What are all these ‘P’s and ‘R’s?

P stands for ‘Preparation’, R stands for ‘Ready’.

Whenever there is an R next to the initials in the template it is saying that “this script is ready for the next stage”.

If there is a P, it warns whoever is looking at it that this stage of the script process is still being worked on.

So the general rule is that if you are working on a script you put a P next to your initials and when you have finished put an R.

The next person to work on the script removes the R and puts a P next to their own initials until they have finished, then they put an R.

Don't forget to remove the previous P or R when you add your own. There should only ever be one P or R on the template at any time.

CHK1

This should be the initials of the person who originally wrote the story. If the story was written in a bureau, then check the bureau’s script to see who wrote it. They should have put their initials in and you should copy those over into your version of the script. If it is not clear who wrote it, then put the first three letters of the bureau, e.g., BAG for Baghdad, ROM for Rome etc. Do not copy over the ‘R’ next to the initials.

If you are writing the original script in iNEWS (i.e., it is a story generated in your office/field LNG), then put in your own initials.

CHK2

If you have not written the original script, then this is where you would put your own initials as the next person to work on it.

CHK3

This is for the subbing producers initials if the other two initial boxes have already been used.

This section is for DI bureau/hubs/London producers:

TX

After you have sent your template to the clients put a ‘T’.

After you have sent your shotlist to the clients, change the ‘T’ to an ‘S’.

After the full script has been sent, the person sending the script changes the ‘S’ to the initials of the feed name.

If a script has been sent to more than one feed i.e. World and Showbiz, then the initials should reflect this, e.g.: WD/SB.

The following sections are for every producer:

ARVD

Ignore this field.

LOCATIONS

Write in upper case the location(s) where the story was shot. This is usually a town/city and country. Example: PARIS, FRANCE.

If there is more than one town/city, the style is PARIS, LYON AND TOULOUSE, FRANCE. There may be multiple country locations, if so separate them with a slash. Example: PARIS, LYON AND TOULOUSE, FRANCE/ SAN FRANCSICO, CALIFORNIA, UNITED STATES.

It’s important that the locations are clear to clients and this may mean using the geographical region, state or province that the town/city is located in as well. Example: MYSORE, KARNATAKA, INDIA.

Make sure you follow the Reuters style when referring to countries. Example: LONDON, ENGLAND, UK, not: LONDON, BRITAIN. Also remember the UNITED NATIONS is just that, not UNITED NATIONS, NEW YORK, UNITED STATES.

When we are dealing with material from disputed territories, we often name the place regionally, rather than by country.

For example – GAZA, JERUSALEM, or WEST BANK rather than ISRAEL or PALESTINIAN TERRITORIES.

We also use ANTARCTICA rather than the particular country which might have territorial control over the bit of Antarctica in our edit. Use the script to explain the circumstances of the location.

Other location conventions include:

  • UNITED NATIONS - For events which are filmed at the United Nations building in New York. If events are filmed at the United Nations in Geneva, we still call it GENEVA, SWITZERLAND
  • IN SPACE
  • IN AIR – for shots filmed in planes that are actually flying, rather than landed at an airport
  • AT SEA - We use AT SEA as the country name when the action in the video is out of sight of land. But if the video is of a ship just off the coast, where the land is visible, use the actual country name. For example: a location could beOFF PLYMOUTH, ENGLAND, UK, with BRITAIN as the country name for the slug (if you are including a location in the slug). If you know the name of the actual sea, then use that instead, e.g.: PACIFIC OCEAN or EAST CHINA SEA. If you are not sure, then leave it as AT SEA
  • INTERNET - for screenshots from websites such as Facebook, blogs, a government website, etc.
  • ANIMATION - for animated sequences
  • GRAPHICS - for non-animated graphics

TYPE/SPORT

Ignore this box, unless working on the Sports desk, or other desks that use it.

SLATE

This will be pre-populated with 0:05. Leave as is.

KEY FRAME

This will be pre-populated with 0:05. If you are working in London or a Direct Inject (DI) bureau using Avid, you or the Picture Supervisor will select the keyframe yourself within Media Composer, in which case leave this box as is in the iNews template.

Other bureaux may select the keyframe for their edit using this template box, bearing in mind that it can only be entered as minutes and seconds, not with frame-by-frame accuracy. Please check internally within your bureau if you are unsure whether or not to use enter a time and how to do so to get the best results.

Selling your story -- Choosing a Key Frame

Image:key frame.jpg

The key frame is the first visual indicator clients have on Connect to pique their interest in the story. When the mouse hovers over the key frame, they can see other frames from the whole edit – but the decision to move that mouse in the first place may well be taken after seeing a striking key frame.


SOURCE ASPECT

This is the aspect ratio the video in the edit has been shot in. The default is ‘W’ (wide) which refers to 16:9 video – our standard aspect ratio.

If your edit is actually all converted 4:3 material (where the video has been converted and has black lines down the sides) then you would choose ‘P’ (pillar-boxed) from the dropdown menu. If your edit has a mixture of both, then choose ‘M’ (mixed). Choose ‘P’ for mobile phone footage shot in portrait. If your edit contains still photographs alone in a variety of aspect ratios leave this box blank.

SOURCE DEFINITION

Choose ‘H’ from the dropdown menu if the original source content is entirely HD, ‘S’ if all content is entirely SD, or ‘M’ if it is mixed. If it’s just a stills edit, leave this box blank. If your edit contains still photographs alone leave this box blank.

This section is just for London producers:

If you are unsure if your edit is S or H or mixed, please check. Source material definition should be logged in INTAKE.LOGS.LDN.CENTDESK for the day. If the DNO (Intake Producer) has not yet had chance to do so and your edit came in via Livewire, you can check yourself in INTAKE.AUTO-INGEST in the ‘Def’ column – HD means HD, PAL means SD. If in doubt, check with the DNO or MCR.

GRAPHIC/NUDITY/PROFANITY CHECKBOXES

These boxes must be ticked if your edit contains graphic material, nudity or profanity. Tick any that apply to your edit by clicking in the boxes.Often it's a fine judgment about whether your images count under these, so highlight the potential issue to an editor if you are not sure.

EDITOR'S CHOICE CHECK BOX

This is a tool to highlight the best of our content on Connect.

Image:Editors choice.jpg

Image:Editors choice2.jpg

If you are working on anything – for a core or a niche feed – that you believe deserves highlighting as a:

  • Strong visual story
  • Strong personal story
  • Item with a strong emotional impact

then please flag it for possible inclusion in Editor’s Choice. Please note the box is not intended for spot news.

Who ticks the box?

  • For material injected from ASIA, the box would be ticked by the person in charge of output in Singapore that day, in consultation with Ahmed Assar.
  • For material from EMEA, the output and duty editors would make the decision. European DI bureaux should flag up anything that fits the criteria.
  • In the Americas: the person who supervises output on a daily basis in coordination with Guillermo Garcia and Marie Frail.

DATES

This is for the dates on which your video is shot. It reflects the way the dates appear on the slate for your edit.

Write dates in uppercase in this exact manner: JUNE 23, 2017

If the edit contains material from more than one date, then use a separate box for each date, with the most recent date first.

If your edit contains video which is RECENT from more than one date, just put RECENT in one of the template boxes if you run out of space to enter each date individually. RECENT material means anything from the past month and while acceptable for templates and slates, it should be avoided in shotlists.

If your edit contains FILE from one or more dates, just put FILE in one of the boxes, rather than the exact dates.

SOUND

  • Always use the following style for the template: NATURAL WITH ENGLISH SPEECH
  • Do you have more than one language? NATURAL WITH FRENCH AND RUSSIAN SPEECH
  • Have we uppicked the pictures from another broadcaster? If so we may have commentary or narration. Commentary usually accompanies a live event or sports broadcast. Write NATURAL WITH ENGLISH SPEECH AND RUSSIAN COMMENTARY
  • Is the edit from a reporter’s package? If so write NATURAL WITH FARSI NARRATION
  • Your edit may be a combination of all three, e.g.: NATURAL WITH ENGLISH SPEECH, FRENCH NARRATION AND FARSI COMMENTARY
  • If your edit has no audio, write "MUTE"
  • If part of your edit has no audio, use NATURAL WITH ENGLISH SPEECH/PART MUTE. Note also that the language you refer to is correct. Our most common errors are "CHINESE" instead of "MANDARIN/CANTONESE" and "IRANIAN" (instead of "FARSI")

SOURCE

We often use video uppicked under contract from other broadcasters, agencies or independent providers and must attribute those pictures as such. Our own video must always be stated as REUTERS. If your edit contains material from different sources you would write it like this: REUTERS/NBC/ITN/ANI

Sometimes we shoot stories which we share with other agencies such as APTN and/or AFP. For either of those sources we call it AGENCY POOL. If we shot the material in such a pool it is REUTERS FOR AGENCY POOL (in both template and shotlist).

You may also use VIDEO OBTAINED BY REUTERS as a source. This could be for a number of reasons. e.g., we are using stringer video in a dangerous area and we want to protect the stringer’s identity or because we have purchased the video from someone who does not want to be identified. If you are asked to source the video this way, it is important you do so. If in doubt, check with an editor.

INTERNET AND SOCIAL MEDIA SOURCING – SCREENSHOTS VS UGC

Screenshots of Websites

For screenshots from social media platforms such as Facebook or Twitter, the location is always INTERNET and we put the source in the template and shotlist as: SOCIAL MEDIA WEBSITE – ACCESS ALL. We then describe the shot in the shotlist as below:

Image:Trump Comey tweet.jpg

INTERNET (AUGUST 30, 2018) (SOCIAL MEDIA WEBSITE – ACCESS ALL) (MUTE) 1. SCREENSHOT OF TWEET FROM U.S. PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP’S TWITTER PAGE READING (English): “The only thing James Comey ever got right was when he said that President Trump was not under investigation!”

In this instance, we do not source the website itself. i.e., it should not be "TWITTER – ACCESS ALL" or "FACEBOOK – ACCESS ALL"

For other (non-social media) internet sites such as a government website, blog, company ‘About’ page etc we would put, for example:
BUCKINGHAM PALACE WEBSITE – ACCESS ALL and then describe the shot in the shotlist as:
INTERNET (MAY 2, 2015) (BUCKINGHAM PALACE WEBSITE – ACCESS ALL) (MUTE) 1. WRITTEN STATEMENT ANNOUNCING BIRTH OF BRITAIN’S PRINCESS CHARLOTTE

We should never describe screenshots as REUTERS – ACCESS ALL. This would only happen if we had filmed the computer monitor ourselves with a camera, rather than taken a screenshot directly from the screen. In that case the location would be wherever the filming took place.

UGC

Once they have sourced and cleared material, the UGC team will send round an email specifying the source and restrictions to be used in our templates and shotlists. This may be the copyright holder’s Twitter or Instagram page, or it may be their name. Please refer to the email to get the sourcing absolutely correct, including spellings. See examples below:

RESTRICTIONS: NO RESALE / MUST ON SCREEN COURTESY “TWITTER / @JUANISDEAD420” SOURCE: “TWITTER / @JUANISDEAD420” DATE: AUGUST 31, 2018 LOCATION: MARACAIBO, VENEZUELA

RESTRICTIONS: NO RESALE / MUST ON SCREEN COURTESY “GUSTAVO OCANDO ALEX” SOURCE: GUSTAVO OCANDO ALEX DATE: AUGUST 31, 2018 LOCATION: MARACAIBO, VENEZUELA

In these instances it is acceptable to name the specific social media platform (Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, etc.) if indicated by the UGC team in their email.

MISC

Ignore this field.

KEYWORDS

Please add 4-6 key words and phrases to your story:

  • When filling out the “keywords” box in iNEWS for online stories, please write short keyword phrases and single words. Think about how you would search for the story on a search engine.
  • There should be commas between each word and a space after the comma.

For example, a story about Pope Francis celebrating Mass in Kaunas, Lithuania, some suggested keywords might be:

Pope, Catholicism, Holy Mass, Santakos Park, Baltics, Pope visit, religion

Keywords are a key part of searchability for clients on Connect so please use them!

The following three sections are for DI bureaux/hubs/London producers only:

COUNTRY

Choose from the dropdown menu the country where the story mainly takes place. If it is in more than one country, then you can choose VARIOUS.

SUBJECT

Choose the subject of your story from the dropdown menu. There might not be something which is exactly correct, but choose the best option available. The country and subject selections create a code which allows your story to be watermarked so we can track how many clients have used the story.

EXPIRES

We have also a box into which we can add the expiration date of an edit. We only need to use this if there is a SPECIFIC TIME RESTRICTION on some third-party content (e.g., 48 hours use only, no use after xxxx, etc). Simply set the expiration time and date in the box -- the material will then automatically be removed from WNE and Connect at that time. We should also continue to put this information in the restrictions in the body of the script and shotlist. There is NO need to use this box UNLESS there is a specific restriction.

The following section is for every producer:

RESTRICTIONS

This is just below the template but must be filled in before sending your template to the clients. The following will appear automatically on your script:

BROADCAST AND DIGITAL RESTRICTIONS~**Broadcasters: Digital: **~

You need to fill in the space between the stars with the restrictions. These will be on the bureau script or you will have been advised by the Output editor.

To check restrictions for particular broadcasters, go to INTAKE.UPPICKS.RESTRICTIONS in iNEWS and search by country. If you find a restriction (usually lesser-used country) where it states a broadcaster restriction but none for digital, double-check that is the case.

It is essential that restrictions on scripts are correct. It is also important that the stars and squiggly lines etc remain (~** **~ ), because if they are removed it can stop the script from going through the system.

We list broadcaster and digital restrictions separately to accurately reflect the markets our clients service these days.

If there are no restrictions, it would be: BROADCAST AND DIGITAL RESTRICTIONS~**Broadcasters: NONE Digital: NONE**~

If it is SABC material, for example, it would be:

BROADCAST AND DIGITAL RESTRICTIONS~**Broadcasters: NO USE SOUTH AFRICA Digital: NO USE SOUTH AFRICA**~

If we have material from both SABC and NBC for example, it would be:

BROADCAST AND DIGITAL RESTRICTIONS~**Broadcasters: PART NO USE SOUTH AFRICA. PART NO USE USA/NO USE CNN Digital: PART NO USE SOUTH AFRICA. PART NO USE DIGITAL **~

If the material has a time restriction, this must be clarified with the actual date of expiry rather than just NO USE AFTER 48 HOURS. See below:

BROADCAST AND DIGITAL RESTRICTIONS~**Broadcasters: NO USE UK. NO USE AFTER JANUARY 25, 2018 1100GMT Digital: NO USE UK. NO USE AFTER JANUARY 25, 2018 1100GMT **~

‘VIDEO SHOWS’ LINE

WHAT IT IS:

  • VIDEO SHOWS is written at the top of the iNEWS script box, underneath the restrictions, like this:

Image:McCain screenshot.jpg

  • It appears in Connect looking like this:

Image:Arizona bids.jpg

WHAT IT IS FOR:

  • Most of our video clients’ first view of our content comes from the landing pages of Connect or WNE.
  • If you scroll through Connect looking at a day’s content, you’ll see a page of thumbnails and headlines. If you click on a story which is still at the template stage you will not necessarily know what the video shows without playing it.
  • The VIDEO SHOWS line acts like a MINI-SHOTLIST, instantly filling in that visibility gap.
  • It also adds essential detail to make the VIDEO UNDERSTANDABLE, when it is then viewed.
  • It can also SELL THE VIDEO to the would-be user, highlighting great content.

HOW TO WRITE IT - FORMAT:

  • VIDEO SHOWS should be written using -ing verbs in English like the shotlist: ENTERING, SAYING, FIRING, DOING etc.
  • Separate key sequences being highlighted in the edit should be separated by a semicolon ‘;’ or a slash ‘/’. Different elements within one sequence can be separated with a comma ‘,’ e.g.

VIDEO SHOWS: BRITISH PRIME MINISTER THERESA MAY DANCING; MAY MEETING SCOUTS, RECEIVING BADGE; MAY AND SOUTH AFRICA PRESIDENT CYRIL RAMAPHOSA AT NEWS CONFERENCE

  • KEEP IT SHORT - This is not another shotlist. Save yourself the time: one or two lines should suffice for most stories.

HOW WRITE IT - CONTENT:

  • ADD to information in the HEADLINE:

Image:Germany wants.jpg

  • DON’T REPEAT location information already in the template/slate
  • ADJUST to ADD to what’s already known. The headline is often too short to tell clients about the elements which make up the edit. This is especially important for feature and LIFE stories:

Image:God note.jpg

  • If you are left scratching your head as to how to apply VIDEO SHOWS to any given edit, use the principle of WHAT ESSENTIALS WOULD THE CLIENT NEED TO KNOW TO AIR SOME OR ALL OF THIS VIDEO?
  • The VIDEO SHOWS is a tool for you, the hard-pressed producer, please feel free to make any suggestions on where it’s not working and how to improve it.

WHEN TO SEND IT:

  • INSERT THE ‘VIDEO SHOWS’ LINE BEFORE YOU SEND YOUR TEMPLATE AND SEND IT WITH THE TEMPLATE
  • Add: ‘COMPLETE SCRIPT TO FOLLOW’

SLATE

The slate is a five-second ident at the beginning of most of our video products which gives clients essential information about your edit and must be accurate.

Here is a slate template, which you will find in your editing system:

Image:slug slate.jpg

Here is a slate with detail filled in. They should match the corresponding details in your template and restrictions section at top of script:

Image:3103 slate.jpg

If the restrictions are too long to legibly enter on the slate enter: ‘SEE SCRIPT’, but if possible keep them on slate.

Language can be written on the slate in full to match the template exactly, e.g., NATURAL WITH ENGLISH SPEECH or using slashes e.g. NATURAL/ENGLISH. If the edit features narration or commentary, spell it out: NATURAL/ENGLISH COMMENTARY.

AUTO SLATE

You may have the ability to auto-create a slate. Here’s how:

In the script for your edit in the editlog make sure the following fields are filled in:

Slug Duration Locations Dates Sound Restrictions

Save the script (F8); select the script in the queue then hit SHIFT+F10

After approximately 30-45 seconds the slate will appear in Interplay. To find it open the Interplay Window in Avid and on the-left hand side navigate to LONSEDT-IE>Ingest>Slates

Your slate will be named with the edit number and the date, e.g., 5096_2016-04-08.

Double-click the slate to open it in the player window. Double check the spelling and add as normal to edit.

If the process doesn't work you should use the existing manual slate preparation method.

NOTE: If you need to revise the slate correct the details in iNews and resend - you can't adjust the slate in the title tool.

SHOTLIST

Here is an example of a Reuters shotlist:

BROADCAST AND DIGITAL RESTRICTIONS~**Broadcasters: NONE Digital: NONE**~

VIDEO SHOWS: BEES SWARMING UMBRELLA ON HOT DOG STAND; BEEKEEPER VACUUMING BEES INTO BUCKET; INTERVIEWS WITH TOURISTS

RESENDING WITH COMPLETE SCRIPT

SHOWS: NEW YORK, NEW YORK, UNITED STATES (AUGUST 28, 2018) (REUTERS - ACCESS ALL)

1. VARIOUS OF BEES SWARMING HOT DOG CART UMBRELLA

2. HOT DOG CART WORKER CLOSING CART

3. PEOPLE TAKING PHOTOGRAPHS

4. (SOUNDBITE) (English) NEW JERSEY RESIDENT, DIEGO MENDEZ, SAYING:

"Literally, the craziest thing I've seen. And I'm allergic to bees, so I want to see it, but keep my distance away from it. But it's definitely the craziest thing I've seen."

5. (SOUNDBITE) (English) TOURIST FROM ENGLAND, MAHMOOD AZAM, SAYING:"

"It's fantastic that it should develop here in an atmosphere like this."

6. MAN TAKING PICTURE OF BEES

7. (SOUNDBITE) (English) TOURIST FROM VIRGINIA BEACH, NAN CHIN, SAYING:

"I've not seen bees like that without a hive."

8. MEN TAKING PICTURES

9. (SOUNDBITE) (English) TOURIST FROM ENGLAND, SIMONE, SAYING:

"It's a bit scary. It's scary. What's it doing in the middle of town? I mean they can't really produce any honey up there, so we are in trouble."

10. POLICE OFFICER STANDING NEAR ROAD BARRICADE

11. VARIOUS OF BEES ON UMBRELLA

12. VARIOUS OF BEEKEEPER VACUUMING BEES

The shotlist should tell the client exactly what they will see in the edit, as well as provide vital information about sources, restrictions, locations, people’s names, titles and what they say.

Make sure you look through your edit and that your shotlist matches your pictures, shot-for-shot.

DATELINE

The dateline is made up of the location, the date the pictures were shot, and the source of the material with any restrictions, e.g.:

MEDELLIN, COLOMBIA (FEBRUARY 21, 2017) (REUTERS - ACCESS ALL)

This tells the clients that all the video which appears underneath that dateline was shot in Medellin on February 21 by Reuters, and there are no restrictions on its use.

If one (or more) of those elements change, then you must create a new dateline.

Another example:

TOKYO, JAPAN (JANUARY 30, 2017) (TV TOKYO - Broadcasters: NO USE JAPAN/CNN & CNNI, BBC WORLD, NBC, CNBC MUST ON-SCREEN COURTESY 'TV TOKYO' IF PICTURES TO BE SHOWN ON CABLE, COMMUNICATIONS SATELLITE IN JAPAN Digital: NO USE JAPANESE WEBSITES)

This tells the client the location, the date of the material and that the source is TV Tokyo. There are a variety of restrictions for broadcast clients and a separate one for digital use.

PLEASE NOTE: The word SHOWS: only appears before the very first dateline in the shotlist. It should not appear in subsequent datelines.

What happens if material has been shot across borders?

If we have an edit where the action depicted clearly takes place on one territory but is filmed from another, we should dateline that sequence as the location where the action is taking place.

Thus, shells landing in Syria but filmed from Turkey should be datelined Syria. Similarly, a rooftop protest in the Vatican, filmed from Italian soil, should be datelined Vatican.

The shotlist should look like this:

VATICAN (FILMED FROM ROME, ITALY)(OCTOBER 3, 2012)(REUTERS - ACCESS ALL)
1. PROTESTER ON ROOFTOP

Or this:

AZAZ, SYRIA (FILMED FROM NEAR KILIS, TURKEY)(OCTOBER 3, 2012)(REUTERS - ACCESS ALL)
1. SHELLS LANDING, SMOKE RISING

Producers should also add a clarifying line to scripts making clear how/where the footage was gathered.


RESTRICTIONS IN SHOTLIST

If material is unrestricted it should be written in the dateline as: (SOURCE – ACCESS ALL). For example:

(REUTERS – ACCESS ALL) (AL MANAR – ACCESS ALL)

If the material is restricted and has the same restrictions for broadcast and digital, it can be written as below:

(SABC - NO USE SOUTH AFRICA)

If the material is restricted and it has different restrictions for broadcast and digital, they should be written out separately as below:

(RESTRICTED POOL- Broadcasters: NO USE USA. NO USE CNN. Digital: NO USE DIGITAL)

DESCRIBING THE SHOTS

As much as possible someone should be ‘doing’ something in the shotlist.

Do not just say: U.S. PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP – rather you should describe what he is doing; i.e.: U.S. PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP WALKING TOWARDS ENTRANCE OF OFFICE.

The verb should be in the -ing form, not the conjugated form -- i.e., not U.S. PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP WALKS TOWARD ENTRANCE OF OFFICE.

Do not use words like: CUTAWAY, WIDE, PAN, TILT, VIEW OF, TOP SHOT. Instead just describe what you are seeing. This saves you time and helps us remove unnecessary words from the shotlist, making it as easy to read as possible.

You can, however, say TIMELAPSE to indicate when needed.


WIDE OF NEWS CONFERENCE should be something like:
NEWS CONFERENCE IN PROGRESS

If shot changes such as a pan or zoom in or out use ‘/’ (forward slash):
PAN FROM FLOWERS ON TABLE TO POSTER should be:
FLOWERS ON TABLE / POSTER

If there are several things to draw attention to in a stable shot, separate with commas:
WRECKAGE OF CAR, BILLOWING DUST, PEOPLE RUNNING AWAY

There are occasions when you may want to particularly draw attention to a close-up of something important. In this case it is fine to say:

CLOSE-UP OF BRITISH FLAG ON PROTESTER’S LAPEL – but please be sure it actually is a close-up and do not over-use.

We no longer use the word MORE in shotlists to describe additional pictures of something we have already seen, i.e., it should not be:

3. DAMAGED BUILDING

4. DAMAGED CAR ON ROAD

5. MORE OF DAMAGED BUILDING

Rather – just describe what you see, i.e.:

3. DAMAGED BUILDING

4. DAMAGED CAR ON ROAD

5. DAMAGED BUILDING

Do not use the location in the shot itself, i.e.:
10. MAN WALKING ALONG JOHANNESBURG STREET

We already know we are in Johannesburg, because the dateline has told us. So it should just be:
10. MAN WALKING ALONG STREET

An exception is when the street name is important to the story, such as Downing Street.

You can list a sequence of two or more similar shots under VARIOUS as in:
2. VARIOUS OF PROTESTERS

Do shotlist as single items the image highlights of your edit:

4. CHILD PROTESTER LIGHTS CANDLE

TITLES AND NAMES

When writing someone’s name in a shotlist, it should appear as follows:

BRITISH PRIME MINISTER THERESA MAY WALKING INTO NEWS CONFERENCE

WITNESS TO CRASH DELIA GOODMAN LOOKING AT WRECKAGE

The title should go first, as that indicates immediately to the client why this person is important. In the example above, the name Delia Goodman means nothing to the client. But the fact she is a witness to the crash explains why we have included a soundbite from her, and as this is the most important information, this should go first.

In shotlists, separating the title from the name with a comma can clarify where one starts and the other finishes. The importance of this is not evident in many cases, but it is particularly useful for examples such as this:

LEADER OF INDIA'S RASHTRIYA JANATA DAL PARTY RAM KRIPAL YADAV WALKING

Without the commas it might be difficult to determine where the title ends and the name begins. It is far easier to read if it is:

LEADER OF INDIA'S RASHTRIYA JANATA DAL PARTY, RAM KRIPAL YADAV, WALKING

The first time a person is mentioned and in every soundbite the full title and name is used. But for all subsequent mentions, just the family name is used.

For every soundbite, isolate the title from the name using commas.

1. POPE FRANCIS GREETING FILM DIRECTOR MARTIN SCORSESE AND HIS WIFE, HELEN MORRIS
2. POPE GREETING DELEGATION ACCOMPANYING SCORSESE
3. SCORSESE HOLDING JAPANESE PAINTING
4. (SOUNDBITE) (English) FILM DIRECTOR, MARTIN SCORSESE, SAYING:
...."It is a Japanese artist from the 17th century. And the original is in the 26th Martyr (museum). This is the most revered image for the hidden Christian."
5. POPE, SCORSESE SHAKING HANDS

It is important to check and use the standard Reuters spelling of someone’s name, not just for accuracy and consistency, but also for archive purposes.

When your edit contains important figure or those that might become important it is vital to shotlist their names. Accessing file material from our archive depends on this. Sometimes the only material we have on a leader is from their arrival and departure at a summit meeting.

AUDIO

Sometimes it is important to draw attention to the audio in a shot. When you are doing this, please include this information in brackets, e.g.:

5. REBEL RUNNING ALONG STREET (AUDIO OF GUNFIRE)

MUTE SHOTS

Sometimes when we uppick third party material, some or all of the edit is mute. You need to make the clients aware of this on the slate, template and in the shotlist. This is so they know it is not a problem with the delivery or recording of the edit if they cannot hear any audio, and so they can plan accordingly. It would look like this:

For the slate: Mute, or Natural/Part Mute, or if there is speech as well it would be Natural/Spanish/Part Mute

For the template in the SOUND section: MUTE or NATURAL/PART MUTE or NATURAL WITH SPANISH SPEECH/PART MUTE

For the shotlist:

SHOWS: SYRACUSE, SICILY, ITALY (OCTOBER 6, 2013) (COAST GUARD HANDOUT - ACCESS ALL) (MUTE)
1. BOAT COMING INTO PORT CARRYING MIGRANTS
2. VARIOUS OF MIGRANTS BEING HELPED ASHORE

Please note: If there is only one mute shot in the edit, just put (MUTE) before the shot itself, and not create a whole separate section, e.g.:

SHOWS: SYRACUSE, SICILY, ITALY (OCTOBER 6, 2013) (COAST GUARD HANDOUT - ACCESS ALL)
1. (MUTE) BOAT COMING INTO PORT CARRYING MIGRANTS
2. VARIOUS OF MIGRANTS BEING HELPED ASHORE
3. WOMAN BEING HELPED ASHORE

NIGHT SHOTS

We also draw our clients’ attention to when we have included night shots in the edit. There is no need to put this on the slate or template, but we DO include it in the shotlist. Example:

SHOWS: NATAF, ISRAEL (NOVEMBER 25, 2016) (REUTERS - ACCESS ALL)
1. CARS DRIVE DOWN ROAD, FIRE TRUCK DRIVES UP
2. FIREFIGHTER, FIRE BURNING
3. VARIOUS OF FIRE BURNING IN WOODS AROUND THE COMMUNITY

NATAF, ISRAEL (NOVEMBER 25, 2016) (REUTERS - ACCESS ALL) (NIGHT SHOTS)
4. VARIOUS OF FIRE BURNING IN WOODS, FIREFIGHTERS MONITORING

Please note: If there is only one night shot in the edit, just put (NIGHT SHOT) before the shot itself, and not create a whole separate section, i.e.:

5. (NIGHT SHOT) POLICE CLASHING WITH PROTESTERS

TEXT IN SHOTS

It is important that we transcribe (and translate if required) when our shots contain written words, i.e. newspaper headlines, signs and placards.

This is our style:
1. FRONT PAGE OF ‘THE TIMES’ NEWSPAPER, HEADLINE READING (English): "Cabinet split threatens to derail May's Brexit talks"
2. CLOSE OF PART OF SUB HEADLINE, READING (English): "Leaked memo"

If you know the language of the text, then include it, as above. Write the text as it appears on the page, with capitalizations and punctuation identical to the original.

SOUNDBITES

When producing, it is essential that you listen to every soundbite and check/do the following:

  • The language being used (to the best of your ability!).
  • If the soundbite is in your mother tongue or a language you are proficient in, you must listen to it and make sure we have a word for word transcription (if the language is English) or a good translation (into English).
  • Transcribe English soundbites exactly as spoken.
  • If you think you can improve the sense of an English translation from another language, please check with someone proficient in that language if you are not.
  • Avoid putting editors notes in brackets mid-soundbite, instead, clarify the unclear subject of a bite in your script

Soundbites are written as follows:

7. (SOUNDBITE) (Hungarian) HUNGARIAN PRIME MINISTER, VIKTOR ORBAN, SAYING:
....“I am particularly looking forward to travelling on one of your red buses and visiting Buckingham Palace.”

Please note that the soundbite itself begins on a new line and is indented by four spaces. We put brackets around the word (SOUNDBITE) and the (Language). The language is in lower case, except for the first letter which is capitalised.

If the translation we have been given has not been provided by a Reuters employee, but by a third party, e.g. the official translators at a summit or a broadcaster, then we should acknowledge that in the shotlist in this manner:

7. (SOUNDBITE) (Hungarian) HUNGARIAN PRIME MINISTER, VIKTOR ORBAN, SAYING: (OFFICIAL TRANSLATION)
....“I am particularly looking forward to travelling on one of your red buses and visiting Buckingham Palace.”

OR:

7. (SOUNDBITE) (Hungarian) HUNGARIAN PRIME MINISTER, VIKTOR ORBAN, SAYING: (TRANSLATION GIVEN BY AIDE)
....“I am particularly looking forward to travelling on one of your red buses and visiting Buckingham Palace.”

This gives us some protection if the translation is incorrect.

ACCURATE TRANSLATIONS:

We must devote effort to making sure translations we do ourselves are correct -- incorrect ones damage our credibility. Increasingly, clients are using our translations for captioning and sub-titling, so embarrassing errors stand out. If you only have an approximate translation for now, please mark it as below.


If you have a translation that you are not entirely confident about, and you are not able to check it with someone who speaks the language proficiently, then you should put (APPROXIMATE TRANSLATION). This should later be checked with a fluent speaker and the script updated.

What if we are using non-Reuters material where the soundbite is overlaid over other shots?

This often happens with pool or handout material. Here are some examples of how we might deal with it. Our main objective is to make it clear to the client that unlike a normal Reuters edit, the soundbite is not contained to a single shot of the person speaking, and they need to take care with their editing.

7. (SOUNDBITE) (English) MODERATOR, MARK LAWSON, SAYING: (SOUNDBITE ENDS ON SHOT OF ROWLING SEATED)
...."The last time you read in public there were 80,000 people in the Olympic Stadium, an estimated billion people watching worldwide. We don't know how many people are watching on the live-stream, but it's probably not a billion."

10. (SOUNDBITE) (English) AUTHOR OF THE NOVEL 'THE CASUAL VACANCY', J.K.ROWLING, SAYING: (SOUNDBITE CONTINUES OVER SEVERAL SHOTS OF AUDIENCE)
...."I had the idea for The Casual Vacancy while I was on tour in America for Deathly Hallows, and I had the idea on a plane. Yeah I know, something about me and vehicles, I have to be moving, clearly, to have an idea."

VOX POPS

Ideally with vox pops, we give the name of the person talking to us (possibly just their first name) and something about them, i.e., their profession, or what they are doing which is related to the story. So you would have:

(SOUNDBITE) (English) TESCO SHOPPER, DAVID, SAYING:
...."I am devastated to find I might have been eating horse meat all of this time."

Or

(SOUNDBITE) (Italian) BUSINESS OWNER, GIANNI TRICHILO, SAYING:
...."If Berlusconi wins this election, then I’m leaving the country."

They might also provide you with the age of the person you are speaking to. You do not need to include this as a matter of course. If the story is about pension cuts or unemployed youth, then the age would be relevant; write like this:

(SOUNDBITE) (Spain) 19-YEAR OLD UNEMPLOYED MECHANIC, JUAN FEREZ, SAYING:
...."I have been out of work for six months, and I have not been able to find anything."

If we do not have their name, please be clear if they did not want to supply us with the information, i.e.:

(SOUNDBITE) (French) PARIS RESIDENT, PIERRE FOUCAULT, SAYING:

If you do not have their name, please be clear if they did not want to supply us with the information, i.e.:

(SOUNDBITE) (French) MAN WHO DID NOT WISH TO BE IDENTIFIED, SAYING: - for someone who refused to give their name

OR

(SOUNDBITE) (French) UNIDENTIFIED MAN, SAYING: - for when we did not ask them their name.


What if there is more than one person speaking in the soundbite, or there is a reporter interjecting?

Here are two examples and how to deal with this if two people are speaking within a single shot. The main thing is to make it as clear as possible to the clients..

4. (SOUNDBITE) (Greek) PROTESTER, GEORGE KIADES, SAYING:
...."I’m here to make sure the politicians know how I feel."
....JOURNALIST ASKING: "How do you feel?"
...."I'm very angry."
.... JOURNALIST ASKING:"Who will you vote for in the election?”
...."I’m tempted not to vote at all."

5. (SOUNDBITE) (Greek) PROTESTERS GEORGE AND ANNA KIADES, SAYING:
....GEORGE: “We are very angry about this…”
....ANNA: “Very angry….”
....GEORGE: “I’m so angry I don’t think I will vote in the elections this time.”
....ANNA: “But you have to vote.”
....GEORGE: “I’m not going to.”


WHITE FLASHES IN EDITS

Sometimes we do not have cutaways, relevant b-roll or file to use in an edit but we must still separate our soundbites with something. As a last resort we use white flashes to do this.

When this happens it must be reflected in the shotlist, i.e.:

1. (SOUNDBITE)(German) GERMAN CHANCELLOR, ANGELA MERKEL, SAYING:
...."I am going to speak for a very long time without any cutaways."
2. WHITE FLASH
3. (SOUNDBITE)(German) GERMAN CHANCELLOR, ANGELA MERKEL, SAYING:
...."I am still speaking, and you haven't had a chance to move the camera away from my face."

RECENT AND FILE – WHEN TO USE WHAT?

While the majority of our edits deal with pictures shot on the same day we are putting them out, we often include video from previous days, months and years.

There are many different variables and circumstances to take into account when this happens, but here are some general guidelines to follow. If in doubt, seek advice from an editor.

RECENT
RECENT should only be used for news edits on templates and slates if you have too many dates to fit on. RECENT should be avoided altogether in shotlists – if something has been shot within the last month, the crew or bureau will know the exact date it was shot and will happily tell you if you ask them.

The only exceptions to this would be for instances where we have to protect the crew for some reason by not publishing the exact filming date, or for features where we do not want to advertise how long it has taken for us to put it together.

Basically: use the actual date shot in the shotlist wherever possible. It helps our clients and it helps us find and use material from our archive.

FILE
When you are putting video in your edit which is more than a month old, it will generally be material which is deliberately being added to illustrate a particular past event, place or person. In this case the story is FILE. When using FILE you should put in as much date information as you can.

For example – if you were adding video of the attack on the Twin Towers in New York, the shotlist should read:

NEW YORK, NEW YORK, UNITED STATES (FILE – SEPTEMBER 11, 2001) (REUTERS – ACCESS ALL)

But often when dealing with old material, you might not know the exact date. In this case you should include the month and/or year, so at least clients have some idea when the material was shot, e.g.:

MILAN, ITALY (FILE - OCTOBER 2012) (REUTERS - ACCESS ALL) 1. VARIOUS OF ITALIAN FORMER PRIME MINISTER, SILVIO BERLUSCONI, IN COURT

If this had just said (FILE) with no year, it makes it more difficult for clients to put the shot into context with other material they might have available to them.

When our FILE material shows someone in a position they no longer hold, don’t forget to spell that out:

WASHINGTON D.C., USA (FILE – JANUARY 23, 2014) (REUTERS-ACCESS ALL) 1. THEN U.S. PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA WALKING TOWARDS PODIUM

This often means updating the shotlist you have taken from the archive for your new edit.

In short: always include as full a date as possible for particular events, and at least a month or year for more general shots. Don’t forget – our material is archived, and in 10 years’ time, someone is going to want to have at least a rough idea of when the video was shot.

UNKNOWN DATE AND UNKNOWN LOCATION
If we have no indication of the date or location of material shot, these are acceptable terms to use in a dateline.

SHOTLISTING FOR STILL PHOTOGRAPHS

Sometimes you will be asked to include one or more still photographs in your edit which we have sourced from our colleagues on the picture desk.

This is how it should be written in the shotlist.

MONTREUIL, NEAR PARIS, FRANCE (FILE - FEBRUARY 5, 2018) (REUTERS - ACCESS ALL) (MUTE)
1. STILL PHOTOGRAPH OF BOTTLES OF COCA-COLA IN A STORE

If our stills colleagues have distributed third-party material it will be clear from the sourcing of the photograph. Make sure you pay attention to any restrictions, which may be worded differently from what we are used to. For example, it may say: FRANCE-OUT which we would change to be written in our usual style, i.e. NO USE FRANCE. Sometimes third-party restrictions will also have something like: FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY, NOT FOR SALE, FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS. We do not need to add these restrictions as our stories are always for editorial use only, not for sale or for use in marketing or advertising campaigns. But because the stills client base is different, they need to put that in.

If in doubt on stills restrictions, please check with your editor to confirm how they translate into restrictions for our stories

Even if the stills used in your edit have black sidebars, you do not treat it like converted 4:3 material in your shotlist. 4:3 and 16:9 are television aspect ratios, they do not refer to still photographs. You just write the dateline as above.

Audio over stills -- how to shotlist

As with everything, the idea is just to make the everything as clear as possible to clients. The following format is suggested to indicate when we need to lay audio over Reuters stills, but if there are any doubts then please don’t hesitate to pick up the phone.

MOSCOW, RUSSIA (FILE) (REUTERS - ACCESS ALL)
1. STILL PHOTOGRAPH OF KREMLIN SPOKESPERSON DMITRY PESKOV

AUDIO ONLY: UNIDENTIFIED LOCATION (AUGUST 27, 2018) (REUTERS - ACCESS ALL)
2. (SOUNDBITE) (Russian) KREMLIN SPOKESPERSON, DMITRY PESKOV, SAYING (PLEASE NOTE SOUNDBITE OVERLAYS SHOT 1):
"We must first understand how these measures, these restrictions so to speak, will be manifested in reality and what actions will they require in the interest of the Russian Federation. I will repeat once again, the President has on several occasions stated that his response to such unfriendly steps will be in line with our national interest."


ASPECT RATIO

On occasion we need to put 4:3 material in our edits, which are usually shot in 16:9.

We convert any 4:3 material into 16:9 by pillarboxing it, which produces black bars down the sides of the image. We never give the clients 4:3 material.

We make clear to clients when we are including converted 4:3 material in our edits in two ways:

  • IN THE TEMPLATE: In the SOURCE ASPECT field change the W to a P (pillarbox) if your edit is entirely made up of converted 4:3 material. Change it to an M (mixed) if your edit contains a mixture of both 16:9 and converted 4:3.
  • IN YOUR SHOTLIST: The dateline for the parts of your edit which includes the converted 4:3 material should read as follows:

PARIS, FRANCE (FILE – AUGUST 2009) (ORIGINALLY 4:3) (REUTERS – ACCESS ALL)

SOCIAL MEDIA FORMATS

With the rise of social media, you will have to process material which is not a standard broadcast format.

  • Please choose M or P in the template if appropriate, otherwise leave blank.
  • Add the information into the shotlist dateline, e.g.,

STAFA, CANTON OF ZURICH, SWITZERLAND (August 26, 2018) (ORIGINALLY SHOT IN PORTRAIT) (@OKINDHAUSER - NO RESALE/MUST ONSCREEN COURTESY @OKindhauser

  • When you send the shotlist write at the top (below the "VIDEO SHOWS" line):

SHOTLIST ONLY. COMPLETE SCRIPT TO FOLLOW.

New formats: shotlisting split screens and beyond

As we experiment with new formats we’ll have to keep coming up with ways to clearly indicate what we’re delivering to our customers.

A recent example was shotlisting split-screen still photographs – recommended format for the shotlist as below in this case:

SHOWS: (LEFT) ANKARA, TURKEY (FILE - MAY 4, 2018) (REUTERS - ACCESS ALL) / (CENTRE) ANKARA, TURKEY (FILE - OCTOBER 25, 2017) (REUTERS - ACCESS ALL) / (RIGHT) EDIRNE, TURKEY (FILE - UNKNOWN DATE) (HDP HANDOUT - ACCESS ALL) (MUTE)

Image:split images.jpg

1. SPLIT SCREEN OF STILL PHOTOGRAPHS OF (L-R) REPUBLICAN PEOPLE'S PARTY (CHP) LAWMAKER, MUHARREM INCE; TURKISH INTERIOR MINISTER MERAL AKSENER; AND BDP CO-LEADER SELAHATTIN DEMIRTAS

No doubt there’ll be other formats ahead we haven’t thought of yet – if you or your bureau come up with clear, easy-to-write and easy-to-read ways of conveying these in shotlists then please don’t hesitate to share them!


WRITING SCRIPTS

We are not writing a script for the client to voice up, we are writing a resource for the client to draw on as they write their own script, often in a language other than our working language, English. If your script doesn’t work as a resource, it fails.

YOUR SCRIPT MUST BE

  • Factual -- sourced
  • Accurate
  • Impartial
  • Clear
  • Simple
  • With impact
  • Without emotive terms or embellishments


STORY LENGTH

The STORY: we write after the shotlist needs to be brief, with just enough detail to make sense of the edit/shotlist (and story):

  • Breakings news (e.g., a bombing): one to three paragraphs
  • Updates: three to four paragraphs
  • Features/multimedia edits: likely to be more, but make sure every word counts
  • File edits/obits/profiles: may need to be considerably longer; again, every word needs to count
  • Don’t cut and paste soundbites into edit – it creates work and has little value for client
  • Do explain a bite in the script, if needed

EXAMPLE SCRIPT

We should be intelligent about how we use the ‘paragraphs’ guide above. A few short sentences can have more impact than one long one with sub clauses.

EXAMPLE

A suicide attack on an Iraqi police checkpoint south of Baghdad kills at least 60 people. Islamic State claims responsibility. Your edit contains shots of the scene, showing mangled vehicles and debris. It doesn’t have soundbites and shows only officials and bystanders on the scene.

One line of story will give enough for clients and leave you to get on to the update:

STORY: Islamic State claimed responsibility for a suicide attack with an explosive-laden truck on an Iraqi police checkpoint at an entrance of the city of Hilla, south of Baghdad on Sunday (March 6), killing at least 60 people, according to a toll provided by medical and security officials.

But a few terse lines could add impact/context to the story:

STORY: A suicide attack using an explosive-laden truck killed at least 60 people at a police checkpoint at Hilla, Iraq, on Sunday (March 6), medical and security officials said.

Hardline Sunni group Islamic State said it carried out the attack.

A security official said it was the largest bombing to date in the majority Shi’ite area, near Baghdad.

A later update script can tell clients more about the state of play in the Islamic State conflict and why it matters.

NOTE: These are GUIDELINES. There will be exceptions. One example is our niche services, such as SHOWBIZ, where in a fashion story a severely brief script would NOT give the client what they need. Double-check with an editor or colleague if you are not sure.

HOW TO WRITE YOUR STORY

After your shotlist, you should leave one blank line and then start your story, with the word STORY and a colon. Like this:

After your shotlist, you should leave one blank line and then start your story, with the word STORY and a colon. Like this:

STORY: Hundreds of people attended a rally in Madrid on Monday (October 15), calling for the resignation of the Spanish government.

The ‘STORY’ should answer the ‘W’ questions – Who, What, When, Where, Why, and How. The story should also tell clients why they should care about it.

Take a look at this shotlist:

SHOWS: VATICAN CITY (FEBRUARY 11, 2013) (REUTERS - ACCESS ALL)
1. VARIOUS OF PILGRIMS CARRYING LARGE WOODEN CROSS ARRIVING AT ST. PETER'S SQUARE
2. PILGRIMS SINGING AS THEY ENTER ST. PETER'S SQUARE
3. PILGRIM HOLDING BOOK WITH TITLE READING (English): “HE IS ALIVE!"
4. VARIOUS OF PILGRIMS CARRYING WOODEN CROSS ARRIVING AT ST. PETER'S SQUARE
5. (SOUNDBITE) (English) FRENCH PILGRIM, CECILLE, SAYING:
...."I want to pray for the pope, and first I want to thank God for all the grace he gave to the Church during his pontificate. And I want to pray to the Church to ask the Holy Spirit to work on the Catholic Church during the next few intense weeks that are going to happen."
6. (SOUNDBITE) (English) AUSTRALIAN TOURIST, MELANIE BOWERS, SAYING:
...."I just heard the news when I arrived at the station two hours ago, and I came straight here. I can’t believe this has happened on my first day here. I think it is fine that he has made the decision which is right for him. I wish him all the best for the future.”
7. PILGRIMS WITH WOODEN CROSS OUTSIDE ST. PETER'S BASILICA

For this we can use a general format which works for most scripts:

1. Your first line should tell us exactly what the main point of your story is. If you only had one line to tell your story, this would be it, e.g.

....Pilgrims began arriving at St. Peter’s Square on Monday (February 11), following an announcement by Pope Benedict that he would resign at the end of the month.

2. A line or two of background which provides context to your first line.

....The 85-year-old German-born pontiff said he no longer had the strength to fulfill the duties of his office, becoming the first pope since the Middle Ages to take such a step.

3. Go back to your pictures and what is happening in your story -- paraphrase the soundbite:

....As the news filtered out, hundreds of visitors and pilgrims began arriving at St. Peter’s Square. They offered to pray for the pope and wished him well.

4. End with another line or two of background that the client can use to help them tell the story, e.g.:

....A Vatican spokesman said the pope would step down from 1900 GMT on February 28.

Using text wires

Text stories are a great resource from our colleagues – by the time they are published and hit the wires, they are already subbed and we are confident in the facts being reported. But bear in mind text are humans too and can always make mistakes – have a good read through before you use them! And don’t feel obliged to copy and paste them word-for-word if they are not representative of your TV story, which may focus on different elements depending on our material.


WRITE TO THE PICTURES!

Make sure your story helps clients make sense of all the shots they see, including explaining any soundbites which might not be clear from just reading the shotlist. You know best why you included all the pictures in your edit, so make sure you explain them in a clear, concise way.

IT IS VITAL THAT A HEADLINE FOR A STORY WITH DRAMATIC PICTURES REFLECTS THE VIDEO CONTENT.

ACCURACY, SPELLING AND GRAMMAR

Check, check and recheck your facts and figures. Names, titles, dates, locations are all easy to get wrong. We must be consistent with our style and our spellings and we will appear unprofessional to clients if we cannot get this right.

Refer to a Reuters wire or the Reuters Handbook of Journalism if in any doubt about how we refer to a country which may be subject to territorial disputes, the way we spell certain words or grammatical queries.

Simple tenses

Our scripts have the main verb of the clause written in the English simple past tense, i.e., ‘said’, ‘ran’, ‘attacked’, ‘danced’, ‘hit’ etc. See below for a correct example:

STORY: Israeli forces fired tear gas and rubber bullets on Friday (August 31) at rock-throwing Palestinians protesting against land seizures for Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank.

(not ‘have fired’, ‘were firing’ or ‘are firing’.)

If your first paragraph is reported speech, the ‘said’ is your English simple past tense. The tenses of subclauses will follow depending on what the original statement was.

STORY: The European Union's chief executive said on Friday (August 31) the bloc was set to end the practice of switching between summer and winter time after a survey found most EU citizens against the practice.

This keeps the English clear and readable, as well as accurately indicating the sequence of events whenever this edit is found in the archive.


SOURCING/PLAGIARISM

Sometimes you may want to include something in your script which has not come from our Reuters colleagues, either on the ground or in the wires. Do this with caution.

Any material we did not gather ourselves MUST be clearly attributed in our scripts to the source, including when that source is a rival organisation. If we don't do this, we are open to charges of plagiarism. If the information comes from several sources, it is permissible to say: Reports said....

You must source every statement in every story, unless it is an established fact or is information clearly in the public domain, such as court documents or in instances when a Reuters reporter, photographer or camera crew was on the scene. We cannot make statements without supporting what we say. Opinion and editorialising are not fact and lay us open to litigation. We often use video uppicked from other broadcasters, and more often than not there will be no script provided. In this case you will have to say something like:

A suicide bomb blast killed at least 10 people in the centre of Damascus on Wednesday (March 8), Syrian Television said.

Do not write this statement as fact unless it has been verified by our own wire service.

If you decide a script you have been provided with by the bureau requires some extra information and you seek that information from other sources on the Internet, then follow this procedure:

1. If possible, send the script back to the originating bureau for checking or speak to them over the phone about the information you have added.
2. If that's not possible, get the script checked by the sub-editor or another colleague - and be sure to highlight the material you have added.

Use your common sense -- take great care to ensure the facts you add are correct, and get your script checked by someone who knows more about the subject than you do.

Sometimes you might receive a script from someone and you are suspicious as to whether the story they have written is their own work. This might be because the English is of a different style from their usual scripts, or it includes information you don’t think they could possibly know. If this happens, take a paragraph of their script and put the whole thing into a Google search. It will soon become clear if it has been lifted from another online publication.

NUMBERS IN SCRIPTS

Generally numbers from one to nine should be written out in full, while those from 10 upwards should be written as numerals. But when a sentence begins with a number, always write the number out in full, e.g.:“Fifteen people were killed in the Dagestan car bombing.”
Always write ‘percent’ in full, rather than using the % symbol.

OTHER THINGS TO NOTE

We need to be able to explain all of the pictures in our edit. If we have included pictures and then can’t think of anything to say about them, how do we think our clients are going to manage?

Many of our clients are not native English speakers.

Never use the terms “today”,” yesterday” or” tomorrow”. We are a 24-hour news agency serving many different time zones and this will make little sense in our archive. Use the day and date instead.

The first time a day is mentioned in the script, it should be followed by a date in parenthesis, i.e., on Thursday (April 8). After that, the date is not needed. But if you then mention another day, i.e. “Friday”, then it too should be followed by a date in parentheses the first time. Dates from earlier weeks, (i.e., not last Monday, Tuesday, etc.) should be referred to by the date alone, i.e., August 20, if writing on August 31.

Avoid the use of words with leading meanings or those that cast doubt on what someone says. For example: when quoting someone, always use ‘said’ or ‘told’. Using words such as ‘claimed’ or ‘asserted’ casts doubt on what they say.

Full names and titles must be used the first time they are mentioned. After that, just use the family name. Some exceptions to this rule would be if the subject is a child (in which the first name might be more appropriate), if there are two members of the same family with the same surname (you might need to use their first names to differentiate) or with some honorific titles – such as Prince William.

After a full stop, there is one space (not two) before starting the next sentence.

Paragraphs are indented by four spaces. But as text have recently changed their formatting to make their paragraphs inverted by five spaces, then either four or five is acceptable, just keep it consistent within a single story. This has no effect on how clients see our stories on Connect, but isn’t an entirely pointless exercise - it makes our stories easier to sub and read internally.

We use British spellings for our stories, unless the story is for the AMERICA feed. Make sure both your computer AND iNEWS are set to British English so any American spellings are picked up in the spell check. You can set the language in iNEWS by going to TOOLS – SET LANGUAGE – ENGLISH(UK).

Always assume your eyes are the last to see your story and no one else is going to correct it Never send the Sub a story you haven’t even spellchecked on the assumption that they do it anyway -- they will, but the most accurate a story is when it reaches them, the quicker clients will get it.

Keep a close eye on spell check -- we have often had occasions when it has replaced names with entirely inappropriate words, such as iNews favourite ‘donut’ for ‘don’t’.. .

Also read through thoroughly and check for sense, grammar etc.before handing your script over to be subbed.

  • Just before sending a script, write -- below the VIDEO SHOWS line: RESENDING WITH COMPLETE SCRIPT.

SUBBING

Our subbing system is a devolved one where most scripts will be subbed locally by a colleague. There is the additional resource of a dedicated sub in London.

For scripts that need subbing in London, please post your request in the RVN SUB LOG chatroom. The sub will monitor the chatroom and do the sub as soon as he or she can.

Here’s how to script sub an edit:

1. Open the edit on Connect, WNE monitor or download a version to your desktop (remember to delete afterwards).

2. Check slate information on the edit corresponds to the template.

3. Check all information in the template and the restrictions in the script. Most errors occur under the WHO, WHAT, WHERE WHEN categories, if you add SAYS WHO (source) and HOW TO THEY SAY IT (languages). If you check these through the template, script and shotlist, you’ll have already covered where 50 percent-plus of our errors come from.

4. Read the headline to yourself, check it word for word for spelling – that catches the one error area where mistakes shine like a beacon.

5. Scroll through the video, making sure the shotlist matches. Listen to the soundbites that are in English (or any other languages you understand) and make sure the transcriptions in the shotlist correspond.

6. Double-check the restrictions. If something appears odd about the restrictions (e.g., uppick material running as ACCESS ALL) double-check with producer.

7. If there is a relevant wire related to the story, have a read through the latest one to make sure the script you are subbing does not have information/spellings/titles etc which conflict with it or need updating.

8. Read through the story carefully. As a fresh pair of eyes you will pick up mistakes the producer may have missed. Check the following:
-- Does it make sense?
-- Are you left with questions which the story hasn't answered?
-- Check facts, including numbers and dates.
-- Check the spelling of names and places not featured in wire.
-- Check grammar.

9. Make sure "RESENDING WITH COMPLETE SCRIPT" and any other notes to editors are written below the restrictions and above the intro.

10. Put your initials (e.g., LM-R) in the next free initial box in the template, send the script, put the feed code in the TX’d box and copy (drag and drop) the whole script into the appropriate feed’s script queue.

11. Always run a spell check, you can find the iNews ‘Spelling’ checker under ‘Tools’. You can also set up Microsoft Word to proof and it’s faster than iNews and picks up more errors.

12. Some bureaux have the practice of subbing the template before it is sent. This is a good practice and we should all accommodate such subbing requests where we can.

13. The London subs are a very useful point of contact for gnarly style or detail questions; please reach out to them if you are stuck on an issue.

COMMUNICATING WITH LONDON

One of the most difficult jobs London has to do is keep track of what the Direct Inject (DI) bureaux and hubs are all working on. At any given time clients expect us to know what is happening across our global file and we need to be able to tell them.

Although you may well be largely self-sufficient, please be in touch with Intake by phone, topline, RM or email (the method of contact depending on the urgency of the situation!) for breaking news. Letting us know what you are planning helps us keep clients updated, and stops us from pestering you.

OTHER USEFUL STUFF

CORRECTIONS/WITHDRAWALS

Reuters is always transparent when there is a need to correct information related to a story. For video, this means informing the clients as quickly as possible when there is a mistake in an edit or script. The procedure will generally be managed by an editor, but as a producer you may be asked to do any or all of these steps.

CORRECTIONS

In the script: 1. Change the slug to add the word CORRECTION between the story number and the slug itself, like this:

1234-CORRECTION-IRAN NUCLEAR/IAEA/SPOKESMAN

2. Add, to the top of the script, an explanation of why the story has been resent, e.g.:

EDITORS PLEASE NOTE: RESENDING THIS STORY TO CORRECT THE DATE IN THE SHOTLIST TO JANUARY 11, 2016 (SHOTLIST ORIGINALLY SAID JANUARY 11, 2015)

3. Send the script to the original feed(s). Then, dupe your script to the OUTPUT.CORRECTIONS queue, where it will act as a record of the incident.

If it is a significant correction, we must also do the following:

4. Issue an advisory telling clients the story has been corrected and why, and continue to carry the message on rolling advisories for the next 12 hours.

5. Send an email to the email group ‘Global-TV-Corrections’ with the subject line: ATTENTION PACKAGING PRODUCERS/EDITORS – REF. (for example) EDIT NUMBER 1100WD-CORRECTION-SPAIN-ECONOMY.

This is an internal group of anyone who needs to be informed – such as packaging producers.

WITHDRAWALS

Sometimes the problem with the story is so severe the story must be withdrawn completely. The procedure is similar: 1. Change the slug to add the word WITHDRAWAL between the story number and the slug itself, like this:

1234-WITHDRAWAL-IRAN NUCLEAR/IAEA/SPOKESMAN

2. Add to the top of the script an explanation of why the story has been withdrawn, i.e.:
EDITORS PLEASE NOTE: THIS STORY HAS BEEN WITHDRAWN BECAUSE (here add the reason for the withdrawal – be transparent). PLEASE MAKE NO FURTHER USE OF THIS VIDEO

Also add, if applicable: A REPLACEMENT STORY WILL BE SENT AS EDIT – here add the number and slug for the new story.

You must check the wording of the withdrawal information on the script with an editor or the Sub before resending your script.

3. Send the script to the original feed(s). Then, dupe the withdrawn script into the OUTPUT.CORRECTIONS queue, where it will act as a record of the incident.

4. Overwrite the video with black. For details on how to do this please see the OUTPUT.PROCEDURES queue and look for CORRECTIONS/WITHDRAWALS, or speak to the Picture Supervisor.

CONTACTING A BUREAU/FIELD PRODUCER

There will be times when a producer in London or DI bureaux/hubs may want to contact someone in another bureau or in the field to clarify something about one of their scripts. If the person who has written the script is logged into iNEWS, then send him or her a brief topline with your question, or if it is complicated, ask if it is ok to give a call. Remember, they are often very busy, and you must be conscious of that.

If they are not logged into iNEWS then you should be able to find their phone number in CONTACTS.ALL under the country name. But in this case, it is advisable to have a discussion with the Intake, Output editor (in London) or local editor first, so you can check whether it is ok to ring them. It is possible the person on the ground has been working 18 hours straight, and has a very short time in which he or she is able to get some sleep before starting again the next day. Always be conscious of the time zone in which the producer is working. If she left the office for the day, or is working in the field, then calling her might be inappropriate.

QUALITY AS INCOMING/AUDIO AS INCOMING

Sometimes we need to put out material that we don’t feel reaches our standard level of quality – this is generally third-party material that we consider so important, that even though it is of low quality, it is of use to the clients. When this happens, we like to warn the clients of the situation. We do this by:

1. Putting the phrase QUALITY AS INCOMING on the slate
2. Putting the phrase EDITORS PLEASE NOTE: QUALITY AS INCOMING at the top of the script

Sometimes the quality of the pictures is fine, but there are problems with the audio. In this case, replace the word QUALITY with AUDIO, so that it says: AUDIO AS INCOMING.

This way the clients know that the problems with the sound are inherent to the story, and not a result of the way it has been transmitted to them.

GRAPHIC CONTENT

When an edit contains graphic images, such as severe injury, mutilation, body parts or bodies, we should place the following warning on the script:

EDITORS PLEASE NOTE

If there is something editorially you need to draw attention towards, write at the top of the script – below VIDEO SHOWS – and above script status messages (e.g.: RESENDING WITH COMPLETE SCRIPT):

EDITORS PLEASE NOTE: (INSERT INFORMATION)

We no longer need such notes for technical information such as CONTAINS VIDEO WHICH WAS ORIGINALLY 4:3 or CONTAINS WHITE FLASHES TO SEPARATE SOUNDBITES. But keep that information in the template and shotlist.

GRAPHIC CONTENT

When an edit contains graphic images, such as severe injury, mutilation, body parts, bodies or large amounts of blood, we need to make this very clear to clients by doing the following:

1. Tick the ‘Graphic’ checkbox in your iNEWS template
2. Put the following warning above the intro of your script:
EDITORS PLEASE NOTE: THIS EDIT CONTAINS GRAPHIC IMAGES
3. Write the following on your slate, using this exact wording and style (with the asterisks/stars):
**CONTAINS GRAPHIC IMAGES**

This warning should appear at the bottom of the slate after all other details.

Set a low bar for these warnings of graphic imagery: clients need to know anything that might affect their workflow as they process our material.

If in doubt, do not hesitate to consult the Output editor, Duty editor or any senior colleague. Never send a story containing images you have the slightest doubt about without seeking a second pair of eyes.

TASTE WARNINGS

We also need to add warnings when an edit contains images that some clients may consider to be in poor taste. Typically, an edit may contain nudity, profane language or obscene gestures. The warnings should be as follows: 1. Tick the ‘Nudity’ or ‘Profanity’ checkbox in your iNEWS template (whichever is appropriate)
2. Put the following warning above the intro of your script, choosing the particular taste issue that applies:

EDITORS PLEASE NOTE: THIS EDIT CONTAINS NUDITY/ PARTIAL NUDITY/ DEPICTIONS OF NUDITY/ PROFANE LANGUAGE/ OBSCENE GESTURES

Be precise about the nature of the images concerned. Do not confuse nudity with partial nudity, or with a depiction of nudity, for example. 3. Write a warning on your slate, using the precise nature of the images concerned and the following style (with the asterisks/stars), i.e.:

**CONTAINS NUDITY**

Or:,

**CONTAINS PROFANE LANGUAGE**

This warning should appear at the bottom of the slate after all other details.

Set a low bar for warnings concerning taste: clients need to know anything that might affect their workflow as they process our material.

TERROR/TERRORISM

We need to be very careful about using the words ‘terror’ and/or ‘terrorism’ in our headlines, intros, shotlists and scripts. Our guidelines are as follows:

“We may refer without attribution to terrorism and counter-terrorism in general, but do not refer to specific events as terrorism. Nor do we use the adjective "terrorist" without attribution to describe specific individuals, groups or events. Terrorism and terrorist must be retained when quoting someone in direct speech. When quoting someone in indirect speech, care must be taken with sentence structure to ensure it is entirely clear that they are the source's words and not a Reuters label. Terrorism and terrorist should not be used as single words in quotation marks (e.g. "terrorist") or preceded by so-called (e.g. a "so-called terrorist attack"), since that can be taken to imply that Reuters is making a value judgment.”

Unless actually quoting someone, try to find an alternative word or expression. For example, an attack on the Chechen parliament is best described as a "suicide attack", or an "attack by armed insurgents". In many cases an “attack” is all that is needed.

NEWS CONFERENCES

Reuters does not use ‘press conference’ or ‘presser’ in our stories or shotlists. Instead, it should be referred to as a ‘news conference’. Neither do we refer to our colleagues as ‘the press’. Instead use ‘the media’ ‘journalists’ or ‘camera crews’ – whichever is appropriate.

ABBREVIATIONS

Please make sure that the first time an organisation is mentioned in a shotlist, it is given its full title with its abbreviation in parenthesis. After that, just the abbreviation is fine, i.e.

1. FLAGS FLYING OUTSIDE EUROPEAN UNION (EU) BUILDING
2. EU LEADERS GATHERING OUTSIDE FRONT OF BUILDING

But please revert to the full name when giving someone’s title, i.e.:
PRESIDENT OF THE EUROPEAN COUNCIL, DONALD TUSK, WALKING INTO ROOM

Like our text colleagues we abbreviate the United States as U.S. and the United Nations as U.N. with full stops in our scripts. But in our slugs it would be USA and UN, with no full stops.

NO ACCENTS OR SPECIAL CHARACTERS

Please note: We cannot use special characters such as accents and umlauts in any part of our scripting process, as these can become corrupted.

CURRENCY

When we refer to $ in our script, we mean U.S. dollars. There was a time when the $ corrupted our scripts, but this is no longer the case, so we should use the $ rather than write it out as "U.S. dollars" as previously instructed. It is also ok to use "pound" to refer to the British currency, "euros" for the European currency, and "yen" for the Japanese currency, but with other currencies please make sure you also refer to the countries they belong to, e.g., Australian dollars or A$, Algerian dinars or Philippine pesos.

Please note the word being used for the currency should not have a capital letter at the beginning, so it should be "euro" not "Euro".

Convert all currencies into an approximate U.S. dollar equivalent in brackets, i.e., 100 pounds ($155 approx.) to help clients understand the values we are talking about.

METRIC VERSUS IMPERIAL

Use metric measurements in scripts (i.e., kilometres, kilograms, litres, etc.) OR include metric equivalent for your local measurement standard and provide an imperial measurement in brackets afterwards if you feel it is an essential element to the story, e.g.: the record weight of a gold nugget.

WHAT IF I'M NOT IN iNEWS?

If you are working in a situation where you are not on iNEWS or if you are a stringer who does not have access to iNEWS, please follow the same procedure as best you can using email. If you are dealing directly with London the email address to send all script information to is tvintake@thomsonreuters.com. If you are filing elsewhere find out the relevant email group.

Please do NOT send your scripts as attachments, they should be in the body of the email.

Please try as far as possible to stick to the following workflow – do not wait to send the full script while producers are waiting unable to process your edit because they lack key template information.

1. Send the template information as soon as you can in the following format, so that producers can prepare the iNEWS template at their end. Remember – they cannot send the video to the clients without this information, and that is why it is needed ASAP.

SLUG: ROMANIA-PROTEST
HEADLINE: Bucharest residents protest against austerity measures
DURATION: 2:35
LOCATIONS: BUCHAREST, ROMANIA
DATE SHOT: JUNE 27, 2013
SOUND: NATURAL WITH ROMANIAN AND ENGLISH SPEECH
SOURCE ASPECT: W
SOURCE DEFINITION: HD
SOURCE: REUTERS
RESTRICTIONS: NONE'

2. Send the shotlist via email. If any translations are still approximate then mark them as such.
3. Send in the script via email.

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