Television Scripts


Contents

COMMUNICATION

Before starting on our scripting process and guidelines, this is just a brief note about communication with the Direct Inject (DI) bureau which handles your edits and/or London.

One of the most difficult jobs London has to do is keep track of what the different bureaux 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.

This means that consistent communication with London and/or your DI bureau is vital, and various systems have been put in place to help make that happen.

The information we ask for is used to form several advisories, logs and archive lists – as well as to answer the multitude of questions and requests received from clients via phone, email and the Media Express chatroom.

At times it will feel like you are repeating yourselves, but this is because different parts of the machine need access to the information at different times and in different ways. We are very aware of how busy you are, but your co-operation and adherence to the procedures is much appreciated. It is hoped that this way we can avoid bothering you with too many questions throughout the day and let you get on with what you do best.

Below are some of the situations when you must contact the intake desk of your DI bureau directly via phone, topline, RM or email (the method of contact depending on the urgency of the situation!) Hopefully this conversation will prevent you doing unnecessary work and the information you provide will assist us in being competitive for Eurovision.

BREAKING NEWS – Your intake desk needs to know as soon as possible what you are planning in relation to breaking news. The desk will be aware of what the clients are asking for and will be able to assist with ideas and decision-making. They also need to know about any live opportunities as soon as possible.

MULTI-ELEMENT STORIES – Even if a story is diaried, please have a discussion with your intake desk as to whether various elements should be sent separately, or held for a wrap. Do not just assume elements of the story should be sent as they happen.

NOT IN NEWSPLANNER - If there are stories that have not been entered into News Planner or information is missing, then please also update these directly with your intake desk. For example, the desk needs to know at what time it should expect the stories you have outlooked.

For other diaried events there is often no need for a direct conversation, but please check with your own intake desk whether this is necessary.

If you are sending your story to London, please call the Intake Producer (DNO) on 0207 542 4972 or 0207 542 4966 to let them know the story is on its way and where they will be able to find it. i.e London 1, Dirty Server etc. If appropriate you should also call the Eurovision desk on 0207 542 4299 or 0207 542 4963. If you are sending to a bureau other than London, make sure you are aware of how they like to be informed when a story is on its way. Do not just send stories without contacting your DI bureau and letting them know what is happening, otherwise the story could be lost on the way and no-one will know it has been sent. You must also check the edit has arrived safely before leaving the place from where you are filing, make sure desk editors know when to expect your shotlist and script and where it will be.

Please remember Intake Editors are extremely busy. While they would love to chat, they generally don’t have time and are being inundated with information from all angles. Please be brief and concise when speaking to them, especially by phone or topline. It will make their day easier if you just give them the vital information they need, without too much of a preamble!

PRODUCER SCRIPT WORKFLOW

This is a general overview of how our scripting process works. Please see the more detailed information which follows for guidelines on how to fill in templates, write shotlists, structure stories etc.

FILL IN YOUR TEMPLATE

• As soon as possible fill in the details of your template. The Direct Inject (DI) bureau handling your story will be looking for that information from a very early stage to help them with advisories, story naming, Eurovision offers etc – even before you send your video, so the earlier you have information in there the more helpful it will be. Even the headline is useful and should be included.

• Please don’t include information unless you know it is correct. i.e. do not put NATURAL WITH FRENCH SPEECH unless you are absolutely sure it is going to be French. This might sound obvious, but it is not unusual for people to do this, then later when they do the edit, decide to use English bites instead. In the meantime, the London Helpdesk may have checked your template and told clients to expect French bites, and we risk disappointing them once they get the edit if you change it. It is better to leave that part of the template blank if there is any doubt and then fill it in when you are sure. But if you are sure, then go for it. The earlier we have the info, the better.

• Make sure you put your initials in the CHK1 box with the letter ‘P’. That way we know that the script is in PREPARATION and is not finished.

DO YOUR SHOTLIST

• Work on your shotlist. Please save it as you go so that other bureaux can see what you are working on. Sometimes they desperately need to see the name of the first person in your soundbite, or some details of the first few shots and if you save it a few times as you are working on it, this will allow them to do so. This is especially true if you have a long shotlist or are waiting for some information before it’s complete. Give us anything you have, as soon as you have it.

• Once the shotlist is complete, spell check and then let someone in the DI bureaux know that they can take it. We send the shotlists to clients before the full script is finished, so that they have something to work with as soon as they have their video.

What if I don’t have all the information I need for the shotlist?

There are times when you might be missing a crucial piece of information for your shotlist i.e. you may be waiting for a translation of a soundbite, or need to check on the name or position of someone speaking and it’s going to take some time. In this case, do not wait to do the rest of the shotlist, do everything you can and draw attention to the missing information.

Here are two examples:

1. (SOUNDBITE) (German) GERMAN DEFENCE MINISTER, THOMAS DE MAIZIERE, SAYING:
...."TRANSLATION TO FOLLOW”

2. (SOUNDBITE)(Arabic) SHOP OWNER, (NAME TO FOLLOW), SAYING:
...."Profits were meagre and there were no demands on this industry."

Our clients are often desperate to get started on their stories, and would prefer to have incomplete information rather than having to wait for a very small part of the shotlist to be finalised. So keep the DI bureau informed. Tell them that the shotlist is as finished as it can be for now, and that you will let them know as soon as it is updated with the missing info. That way they can still send it to the clients, and then update them when it’s finished.


WRITE YOUR STORY

• Work on your story

• Spell check your story

• Double check your headline and template for accuracy as this will not be included in the standard spell check

• Change your ‘P’ to an ‘R’ (for READY). This R lets everyone know that you are happy for the script to be taken. There may be occasions when you have not been able to let your DI bureau know that the script is ready. If they see an R then they will assume it is ok for them to take it, and then they will not need to chase you to check.

• Let your DI bureau know it is ready

What if I'm not on 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 addresses to send all script information to are: tvintake@thomsonreuters.com and tvnewsdesk@thomsonreuters.com Please send to both as they both serve different purposes at the London end. Please do NOT send your scripts as attachments, they should be in the body of the email.

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 APECT: W
SOURCE DEFINITION: S
SOURCE: REUTERS
RESTRICTIONS: NONE

Your next email should include both the template information, intro and shotlist – as well as a note saying that the story is to follow.

The third email should have the template information, intro, shotlist, and story.

You should ALWAYS send a story unless for some reason it has been agreed with intake that you do not need to send one for that particular edit. If that is the case, please be sure to give an explanation under your shotlist as to why no script is required and who it was agreed with, otherwise producers in the bureau/London will always be expecting one and will be waiting for it.

The rest of this document will refer to iNEWS often – but please adapt the information to suit your own circumstances.

FILLING IN THE TEMPLATE

SLUG FIELD

Below are some important things to remember when filling in the slug box (naming your story)

Please use this format: COUNTRY-STORY NAME

Does your edit include pictures from two different places? Then this must be reflected in the country name i.e. AUSTRALIA/INDONESIA-ABBOTT

If the pictures from Indonesia were actually archive rather than ‘today’ or ‘recent’ pictures, then you would express this as FILE rather than INDONESIA i.e. AUSTRALIA/FILE-ABBOTT In this case the archive could come from any number of countries and you would be covered.

If your edit includes ‘today’ or ‘recent’ pictures from more than two countries, or it is two countries + File, then call your story VARIOUS-ABBOTT so that the name doesn’t get out of hand.

If your edit is entirely file material (from any number of countries) then the story would simply be: FILE-ABBOTT.

Putting FILE in the slug when required is not only a matter of being accurate, it also helps clients predict what kind of edit they are likely to receive. Many find it useful to be forewarned that the edit will contain archive material.

Please make sure your story name is accurate as your DI bureau will be outlooking this to clients, and the information must be as accurate as possible.

When we are dealing with material from disputed territories, we often name the place regionally, rather than by country, to avoid appearing to ‘take sides’ in our country names. For example – GAZA, JERUSALEM, or WEST BANK rather than ISRAEL or PALESTINIAN TERRITORIES For a mix of any of the above we say: MIDEAST

If our location is an overseas territory or region of somewhere far away, we would generally go with the name of the territory/region as the slug rather than using the name of the ‘mother country’. i.e. It would be GUADELOUPE rather than FRANCE or FRANCE-GUADELOUPE in the slug, but you would need an explanation somewhere in the script that Guadeloupe is an overseas region of France.

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

Examples of other location conventions include:
UN - 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 SWITZERLAND
VATICAN
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. i.e. Your location would be OFF PLYMOUTH, ENGLAND, UK, with UK as the country name for the slug. Please use the generic AT SEA as the slug, rather than naming the particular sea where the action happens. In the shotlist, it is fine to narrow the location down further if you definitely know which sea/ocean it is. i.e. PACIFIC OCEAN or EAST CHINA SEA. If you are not sure, then leave it as AT SEA in the shotlist.
INTERNET - for websites such as facebook, blogs, a government website etc.
ANIMATION - for animated sequences

FEED FIELD

If your story is for a niche feed, it is important you write the name here, to make it clear it is not for news. Producers in DI bureux will need to put the specific news feed name i.e. WORLD, EUROPE, ASIA etc.

HEADLINE FIELD

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.

Consider this situation: George Clooney has appeared in a court in Milan in which he testifies in a fraud case. In our edit, we see Clooney leaving the court. He does not say anything as he walks through the media pack gets into a car and drives away.

Text ran the headline: “Clooney testifies in Milan fashion fraud case”

We would not want to use this headline as it suggests to our clients that our pictures would show Clooney giving his testimony. We would need to say something like:

“Clooney departs Milan court after fraud case testimony”

Refer to a country, city or well-known figure in your headline so that a client is able to tell in which country the story is likely to be located. All of these would work:

“Baghdad bomb kills seven” “William and Kate visit Egypt pyramids” “Obama celebrates Congress health-care win” - In this case there is no need to say that this occurred in the U.S. as it is fairly evident by the reference to Obama and the subject matter of the headline.

There is good reason for this. When clients view a list of stories on Media Express, they can either view it by slug or by headline, but they can’t see both. As many will choose to view the stories by headline, then they will need to have an indication of where that story is from.

Headline Basics

  • Try to keep the headline down to around six words if possible
  • Headlines should be written in the present tense i.e. “Cuba condemns Honduras coup” not “Cuba has condemned Honduras coup”
  • Use the active voice i.e. “Pakistan earthquake kills 10” not “Ten are killed in Pakistan quake”
  • Refer to the name of a country, city or well-known figure to indicate location of story
  • Generally ‘subject verb object’ works well, or in other words ‘who does what’
  • Don’t try to be too clever (especially on hard news scripts). Clients who have limited English may not understand a play on words, pun or double-entendre!
  • We no longer put full stops at the end of our headlines
  • You do not need full names for major world figures i.e. “Obama”, “Berlusconi”
  • Use titles for those who are less well known i.e. “U.N. security chief criticises Israeli army report”
  • Do not use times or dates unless crucial to the story
  • Try to avoid clichés and weak verbs such as ‘to be’ i.e. is, am, are, was, be, being, been
  • Be wary of using humour in straight news stories

Examples of good headlines:
"Greek civil servants oppose layoffs”
"Norway runs out of butter”
"Building burns in Cairo clashes”

Examples of not-so-good headlines:
"Scuffles break out between police and protesters as nuclear train gets closer to its storage destination." (Too long)
"British Prime Minister talks about latest developments in euro crisis” (Doesn’t tell us anything. What does he actually say?)
"Soyuz-TMA-02M crew wave goodbye before lift-off." (Don’t need the TMA-02M in there – it’s too much detail and too distracting)

The content of soundbites is often helpful when trying to decide on a headline. i.e. – if one of your soundbites is the following:

9. (SOUNDBITE) (English) BRITISH PRIME MINISTER, DAVID CAMERON, SAYING:
...."We are in a global race today. And that means an hour of reckoning for countries like ours. Sink or swim. Do or decline."

The headline could be: Cameron warns Britain must “sink or swim”

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 Media Express, so you must be sure you have it right. If you have any doubts, ask a fellow producer or the Sub.

INTRO FIELD

Leave the INTRO field blank in the template

TXDATE FIELD

This is the date the story is being transmitted, i.e. ‘today’s’ date. It should be written as three letters and two numbers with no spaces. i.e. MAR01, APR15 or NOV12

If this is not done correctly, the script may not process correctly through the system.

NOTE: This is the ONLY place in which a zero is used as part of a single digit date – i.e. MAR01. In all other places in the template, shotlist and script, single digit dates would not contain a zero.
i.e. it would be MARCH 1, 2013 rather than MARCH 01, 2013

DURATION FIELD

Must be written like this: 2:03 or 3:15. You need to use a colon between the minutes and seconds otherwise it will not accept it. It is very helpful for you DI bureau if you include a duration. That way, when they receive the video, they can be sure all the material has arrived safely. It also helps them decide if your story could be wrapped with something else, and with Eurovision offers.

CHK1 FIELD

If you are writing the original script then put in your own initials. While you are working on the script, you should put a ‘P’ next to your initials. When you have finished, you should put an ‘R’. So it would be something like: SB-P or SB-R.

Please keep in mind that if there is an ‘R’ in the template, your DI bureau will assume it is ready for the taking. Be absolutely sure you are ready for them to take the script before putting an ‘R’. If someone else worked on the script before you, put their initials in CHK1 and your initials in CHK2.

PLEASE NOTE: It is important to include your initials. If a problem is raised with the script, even several months down the track, we need to be able to see who worked on it – from beginning to end.

TX'D FIELD

Ignore this field

ARVD FIELD

Ignore this field

LOCATIONS FIELD

Write in upper case the location(s) where the story was shot. This will invariably be 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.

TYPE/SPORT FIELD

Ignore this box

SLATE FIELD

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

DIST FIELD

This will be pre-populated with B. Leave as is.

KEY FRAME FIELD

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

SOURCEASPECT FIELD

This is where we make clear what aspect ratio the video in the edit has been filmed 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 change this to a ‘P’ (pillarboxed).
If your edit has a mixture of both, then put ‘M’ (mixed).

SOURCEDEFINITION FIELD

Enter ‘H’ if the original source content is entirely HD, ‘S’ if all content is entirely SD or ‘M’ if it is mixed.

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.

COMPANIES FIELD

Ignore this field.

SYMBOLS FIELD

Ignore this field.

CODES FIELD

Ignore this field.

DATES FIELD

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. MAY 18, 2013 or FEBRUARY 15, 2013
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 boxes, rather than all of the exact dates.
If your edit contains FILE from one or more dates, just put FILE in one of the boxes, rather than the exact dates.
Have a look at the template example at the beginning of this section to see how the date fields might look.

SOUND FIELD

Always use the following style: 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. i.e. 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 FIELD

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, not RTV, RVN, or any other acronym. If your edit contains material from different sources you would write it like this:
REUTERS/NBC/ITN/ANI

MISC FIELD

Ignore this field.

RESTRICTIONS FIELD

This is just below the template, but must be filled in as soon as possible. The following will appear automatically on your script
TV AND WEB RESTRICTIONS~** **~
You need to fill in the space between the stars with the restrictions. To check restrictions for particular broadcasters, go to INTAKE.UPPICKS.RESTRICTIONS in iNEWS and search by country. 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. If there are no restrictions it would be:
TV AND WEB RESTRICTIONS~**NONE**~
If it is Sky Italia material, for example, it would be:
TV AND WEB RESTRICTIONS~**NO ACCESS ITALY AND .IT WEBSITES**~
If only some of the edit is Sky Italia and the rest is Reuters, it would be:
TV AND WEB RESTRICTIONS~**PART NO ACCESS ITALY AND .IT WEBSITES**~
If we have material from both Sky Italia and NBC for example, it would be:
TV AND WEB RESTRICTIONS~**PART NO ACCESS ITALY AND .IT WEBSITES. PART NO ACCESS USA/CNN/YAHOO/AOL/WIRELESS**~

INTROS

The intro appears before your shotlist. It expands and adds details to your headline, giving the clients a summary of the story to come.

Think of it like the introduction a news anchor reads before crossing to a video news package. Decide on what the main point of the story is and put it into context. It should not just be a repeat of the headline.

Here are some examples of good intros and the headlines they follow:

HEADLINE: Chinese surgeons carry out free cataract operations in Zimbabwe
INTRO: Chinese eye surgeons carry out free cataract operations on elderly patients in a hospital outside Harare, as the two countries continue to strengthen their economic and political friendship.

HEADLINE: Rare Islamic miniature sets new sales record in London
INTRO: An illustrated page from a rare 500-year-old manuscript detailing the early history of Persia sells for 7.4 million pounds, the equivalent of $12 million, at a Sotheby’s auction.

A client can get a pretty good idea of what the story is about, just from the headline and intro.

Some common mistakes are revealed in these examples of intros:

“The Pussy Riot three address the appeal court, say their action was political and not anti-religious, demand acquittal.”

This assumes a certain amount of knowledge about Pussy Riot which the client may not have, and is written in more of a headline style, not as a full, grammatical sentence.

It should be something like: “The jailed members of Russian punk band Pussy Riot demand to be acquitted as they tell an appeal court their actions were political, not anti-religious.”

And….

“Romanian FM Titus Corlatean meets President Peres during two day visit to the region.”

This is typical of many of the ‘handshake’ type stories we often have to deal with at Reuters, sometimes with very little to go on in terms of the story. But in this case we had some soundbites that could have been drawn on to spice up the intro. We also need to give an indication of where the action is happening, which is not evident from the original version. While not exactly exciting, this next version tells us a bit more:

“Israeli President Shimon Peres says Romania is heading in the right direction as he meets the Balkan country’s foreign minister in Jerusalem.”

Be wary of what you promise clients in your intro. Look at this example:

“Some 101,834 Syrian refugees have now fled to Turkey the country's Disaster Management Agency says in a written statement posted on its website.”

If you were a client reading this intro, you might be expecting to see video of the Disaster Management Agency’s website showing the figures quoted. But actually – this was our shotlist.

SHOWS:
SYRIA (FILMED FROM CILVEGOZU, TURKEY) (OCTOBER 17, 2012) (REUTERS - ACCESS ALL)
1. SYRIAN TOWN
2. VARIOUS OF HOUSES

CILVEGOZU, TURKEY (OCTOBER 17, 2012) (REUTERS - ACCESS ALL)
3. VARIOUS OF CARS CROSSING CILVEGOZU BORDER GATE ACROSS SYRIA'S BAB AL-HAWA CROSSING
4. SYRIAN WOMEN WAITING AT BORDER GATE FOR PASSPORT CONTROL
5. AMBULANCE CROSSING INTO TURKEY
6. VARIOUS OF NEWLY ARRIVED REFUGEES PASSING THROUGH GATE
7. (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) SYRIAN REFUGEE, MOHAMMAD, SAYING:
...."We just want to stop the fighting and plane attacks against civilians. If people really care they should ask the regime to put an end to air assaults. What is happening in Syria is unbelievable. People don't realise that one day what's happening there and all those killings might happen to them as well."
8. VARIOUS OF WOMEN AT GATE
9. VARIOUS OF CAR WITH A SYRIAN PLATE
10. GIRL AT GATE
11. NEWLY ARRIVED REFUGEES TALKING
12. AMBULANCE LEAVING

Better perhaps to have an intro like the one below which is more reflective of what clients will see in the edit, yet still mentions the new figures.

“Syrian refugees call for an end to fighting against civilians as latest figures show more than 100,000 have fled to Turkey.”

SHOTLISTS

Here is an example of a Reuters shotlist:

SHOWS:
RUSTENBURG, SOUTH AFRICA (OCTOBER 11, 2012) (REUTERS - ACCESS ALL)
1. VARIOUS OF BURNED MINIBUS TAXI
2. VARIOUS OF POLICE AT SCENE
3. POLICE WITH INJURED MAN ON GROUND
4. PEOPLE WATCHING SCENE
5. (SOUNDBITE) (English) WITNESS, ISHMAEL THLORIFONONG, SAYING:
...."The police came. They dispersed those people, the miners, those striking miners."
6. VARIOUS OF POLICE INVESTIGATING SCENE

JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA (OCTOBER 11, 2012) (SABC - NO ACCESS SOUTH AFRICA)
7. DELEGATES AT BREAKFAST MEETING LISTENING
8. (SOUNDBITE) (English) SOUTH AFRICAN PRESIDENT, JACOB ZUMA, SAYING:
...."The culture of violence in strikes and demonstrations does not tally with our principles of democracy. The right to demonstrate and strike is a respected right, is enshrined in our constitution."
9. DELEGATES CLAPPING

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. It is a list of the shots in the edit, in the order in which they appear.

Please make sure your shotlist matches your pictures, shot for shot.

When you have several shots of the same thing all together then condense the shotlist by saying: VARIOUS OF REFUGEES WALKING rather than detailing each shot. Just make sure you are not hiding any significant shots in there that clients might want to know about i.e. WOMAN CARRYING BABY or MAN WIPING BLOOD FROM HEAD WOUND

DATELINE

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

RUSTENBURG, SOUTH AFRICA (OCTOBER 11, 2012) (REUTERS - ACCESS ALL)
This tells the clients that all the video which appears underneath that dateline was shot in Rustenburg on October 11 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. i.e.

JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA (OCTOBER 11, 2012) (SABC - NO ACCESS SOUTH AFRICA)
This tells the client that the location, source and restrictions have now changed, and any shots appearing under this dateline were shot in Johannesburg on October 11 by SABC, and that these shots may not be used by broadcasters in South Africa.

You only need to break the shotlist up like this if there are changes.

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.


DESCRIBING THE SHOTS

As much as possible someone should be ‘doing’ something in the shotlist. Do not just say:
U.S. PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA – rather you should describe what he is doing. i.e.
U.S. PRESIDENT, BARACK OBAMA, WALKING TOWARDS ENTRANCE OF OFFICE

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

WIDE OF NEWS CONFERENCE should be something like NEWS CONFERENCE IN PROGRESS
PAN FROM FLOWERS ON TABLE TO POSTER should be FLOWERS ON TABLE/POSTER
CUTAWAY OF OBAMA should be OBAMA TALKING TO JOURNALIST

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 therefore it should just be:
10. MAN WALKING ALONG STREET

TITLES AND NAMES

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

BRITISH PRIME MINISTER, DAVID CAMERON, 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 clarifies 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

You would not do this in the story part of your script, as it is not grammatically correct, but it is useful for clarification purposes in shotlists.

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. So you would have this:

1. BRITISH PRIME MINISTER, DAVID CAMERON, ENTERING ROOM
2. CAMERON TAKING SEAT
3. HUNGARIAN PRIME MINISTER, VIKTOR ORBAN, ENTERING ROOM
4. CAMERON STANDING UP
5. CAMERON AND ORBAN SHAKING HANDS
6. (SOUNDBITE) (English) BRITISH PRIME MINISTER, DAVID CAMERON, SAYING:
...."I welcome Mr. Orban to London and encourage him to see the city."
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."
8. CAMERON AND ORBAN LEAVING THE ROOM

Please do not say THE TWO PRIME MINISTERS SHAKING HANDS, always use the family names of the protagonists unless it is a large group. i.e. you could say:

9. EUROPEAN LEADERS GATHERED FOR FAMILY PHOTO - when there are, for example, 20 leaders in the group. Use your common sense here.

It is important that you use the standard Reuters spelling of someone’s name, not just for accuracy and consistency, but also for archive purposes. If someone is searching the archive using the Reuters spelling and you have used a different spelling, then your edit will not appear in their search.

This is also another reason to actually identify and name as many people as possible in your shotlist – so we can find them in the archive. Your edit might contain the only pictures we have of someone we rarely film, like Algerian Minister of Culture Khalida Toumi for example. If she then went on to win a major human rights award five years later and we needed file pictures of her quickly, we would search the archive by her name and your edit would come up.

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. i.e.

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. We need to make the clients aware of this in the 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. In the SOUND section of the template it should be something like this: NATURAL/PART MUTE or NATURAL WITH ENGLISH 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
3. WOMAN BEING HELPED ASHORE

SYRACUSE, SICILY, ITALY (OCTOBER 6, 2013) (REUTERS - ACCESS ALL)
4. VARIOUS OF MIGRANTS IN HOSPITAL

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

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

SYRACUSE, SICILY, ITALY (OCTOBER 6, 2013) (REUTERS - ACCESS ALL)
4. VARIOUS OF MIGRANTS IN HOSPITAL

If the entire edit is mute, then this must also be expressed in your template. In the SOUND section please write: MUTE

And 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
3. WOMAN BEING HELPED ASHORE

NIGHT SHOTS

We also like to draw our clients’ attention to when we have included night shots in the edit. There is no need to put this in the template, but we DO include it in the shotlist. As you can see in this example, the middle section is where the night shots appear.

SHOWS:
CAIRO, EGYPT (SEPTEMBER 15, 2013) (REUTERS – ACCESS ALL)
1. PROTESTERS GATHERING AT TAHRIR SQUARE
2. VARIOUS OF PROTESTING SHOUTING AND HOLDING BANNERS
3, PROTESTERS GATHERED IN FRONT OF STAGE
4. MAN TALKING ON STAGE

CAIRO, EGYPT (SEPTEMBER 15, 2013) (REUTERS – ACCESS ALL) (NIGHT SHOTS)
5. POLICE VEHICLES ARRIVING
6. PROTESTERS CLASHING WITH POLICE
7. POLICE SPRAYING WATER CANNON AT PROTESTERS
8. WOUNDED PROTESTER BEING CARRIED AWAY

CAIRO, EGYPT (SEPTEMBER 16, 2013) (REUTERS – ACCESS ALL)
9. PROTESTERS CLEANING UP TAHRIR SQUARE
10. TRAFFIC MOVING AROUND TAHRIR SQUARE

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

SHOWS:
CAIRO, EGYPT (SEPTEMBER 15, 2013) (REUTERS – ACCESS ALL)
1. PROTESTERS GATHERING AT TAHRIR SQUARE
2. VARIOUS OF PROTESTING SHOUTING AND HOLDING BANNERS
3, PROTESTERS GATHERED IN FRONT OF STAGE
4. MAN TALKING ON STAGE
5. (NIGHT SHOT) POLICE CLASHING WITH PROTESTERS

CAIRO, EGYPT (SEPTEMBER 16, 2013) (REUTERS – ACCESS ALL)
9. PROTESTERS CLEANING UP TAHRIR SQUARE
10. TRAFFIC MOVING AROUND TAHRIR SQUARE

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:

MALEMA SUPPORTERS CARRYING PLACARDS READING (English): "HANDS OFF OUR LEADER"

If you know the language of the text, then include it, as above. Write the text itself in uppercase, to differentiate it from soundbites.

SOUNDBITES

It is essential we provide our clients with accurate transcriptions of soundbites.

  • Make sure the language is correct. If you are normally dealing with English soundbites, it can be very easy to write (ENGLISH) automatically, when in fact, this particular soundbite may be in French. Just take a moment to double check.
  • If the soundbite is in English, you must listen to it and make sure we have a word for word transcription. Clients often complain that our transcriptions are incorrect. You should transcribe it exactly as it is said, even if in places it seems ungrammatical. It helps the clients to know what someone actually said, not the cleaned up version. Report the soundbite as it is spoken and please don’t add words you may think are missing in parentheses. If we need to clarify what the speaker is saying, explain it in the main body of the script.
  • If the soundbite is in a language OTHER than English, then it is different. We are providing a translation of what the person said, so it must make sense in English, so it gives you a little more leeway.
  • You may need to add in some punctuation to your bites. People often speak in one rambling sentence, but this is difficult to read. Please add some commas and full stops in the logical places to help the clients, obviously not changing the meaning of what is said.

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 i.e. 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: (ITN TRANSLATION)
...."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.

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).

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

When using vox pops please include the name of the person spoken to (possibly just their first name if they do not want to give their full name) and something about them that will help you when scripting 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."

If you do not have any information about their profession or something relevant to the story, then please find out where they are from so you can write:

(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.

Please keep in mind that it is very difficult to write a script without some information about the people you are talking to, so it is imperative you do what you can to find out when collecting vox pops.

There is no need to include the age of the person unless it is relevant to the story. If the story is about pension cuts or unemployed youth, then the age would be relevant, but in a story about horsemeat replacing beef, then it would not be needed. For an age-relevant story, you would write:

(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."

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

Again, this sometimes happens with non-Reuters material. 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.”


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.

RECENT
If the pictures are from within the last month and you know the date, put the actual date on the slate, template and in the shotlist.
If the pictures are believed to be from within the last month, but you don’t know the exact date, put RECENT on the slate, template and in the shotlist.
If there is more than one date from the last month, then put RECENT on the slate and template to reflect all of those dates, but please use the actual dates in the shotlist whenever possible.
If you are writing the exact date in the shotlist, there is no need to also write the word RECENT. i.e. just put (OCTOBER 10, 2012) rather than (RECENT – OCTOBER 10, 2012).

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. i.e.

IZMIT, TURKEY (FILE – 2000) (REUTERS – ACCESS ALL)
1. REFUGEES RETURNING TO THE RUBBLE OF THEIR HOMES AFTER EARTHQUAKE

It would not have been very useful for clients if this had just said (FILE) with no year, as it makes it difficult for them to put the shot into context with other material they might have available to them.

This is also true of exteriors of buildings, something we often have FILE of.

If you are preparing a profile on Microsoft founder Bill Gates, and want to include some file video of the exterior of Microsoft headquarters, it is much more useful if you know the exteriors are (FILE - 2005) rather than just (FILE) which could be from any time in the past thirty years.

So, please 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 ten years time, someone is going to want to have at least a rough idea of when the video was shot.

EXCEPTIONS FOR FEATURES
If your story is a feature in which the dates are not important (and possibly shot over several days or weeks) then it is permissible to use RECENT for the slate, template and shotlist. This is true even if the story is more than a month old. There is no need to advertise that the feature may have been prepared several weeks, or even months in advance, by putting the exact dates. But, if that feature includes archive material then it should be handled as FILE as above and if any of the more recently shot material refers to a specific event when the date is important, then you must use the actual date in the shotlist. Put yourself in the position of the client and use common sense as to when the date is important, and when it isn’t.

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.

PARIS, FRANCE (OCTOBER 15, 2012) (REUTERS - ACCESS ALL) (MUTE)
1. STILL PHOTOGRAPH OF FRENCH PRESIDENT, FRANCOIS HOLLANDE, ARRIVING AT AIRPORT

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 ACCESS 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.

You will also probably find that when you add a still photograph to the timeline in your edit, that it will be stretched and you need to “convert it to 16:9”. Even if you do this, 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.

ASPECT RATIO

Since the beginning of 2010, Reuters has been providing video to our clients in the 16:9 aspect ratio.

This presented us with a problem, as some of our clients broadcast in 16:9 and some in 4:3. And while it is now our standard to shoot video in 16:9, on occasions we need to put 4:3 material in our edits. This is generally third party material or file, but may also be because it has come from a stringer who has an old camera which only shoots 4:3.

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. It is ALWAYS converted. This can be a confusing concept, so please feel free to discuss this with a senior colleague if it does not make sense to you.

It is imperative we make it very clear to clients when we are including converted 4:3 material in our edits. There are three things you must remember in terms of scripting.

1) 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.
This is because clients ingest our material in different ways, and this field tells the ingesting machines some clients use which format they should use to do so. It is extremely important for those clients that we do this every time.

2) AT THE TOP OF YOUR SCRIPT
You must write the following after your restrictions and before the intro.
EDITORS PLEASE NOTE: THIS EDIT CONTAINS MATERIAL WHICH WAS ORIGINALLY 4:3

(Please note: this is a change from previous practice when we used to say: THIS EDIT CONTAINS CONVERTED 4:3 MATERIAL – we are making the change to avoid the confusion this phrase sometimes causes.)

Make sure you use the exact wording above. We do not say any of the following:
THIS EDIT CONTAINS 4:3 MATERIAL
THIS EDIT IS 4:3
THIS EDIT CONTAINS ORIGINAL 4:3 MATERIAL
THIS EDIT CONTAINS 4:3 AND 16:9 MATERIAL

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)

These are some of the things we see which are all incorrect:
PARIS, FRANCE (FILE – AUGUST 2009) (4:3) (REUTERS – ACCESS ALL)
PARIS, FRANCE (FILE – AUGUST 2009) (REUTERS – ACCESS ALL) (4:3)
PARIS, FRANCE (ORIGINALLY 4:3) (FILE – AUGUST 2009) (REUTERS – ACCESS ALL)
PARIS, FRANCE (FILE – AUGUST 2009) (CONVERTED 4:3) (REUTERS – ACCESS ALL)

BEFORE SENDING YOUR SHOTLIST, DOUBLE CHECK YOU HAVE DONE ALL THREE OF THESE THINGS

STORY

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

13. MAN WITH FIST RAISED IN THE AIR
14. VARIOUS OF PROTEST IN PROGRESS

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

The story is not intended to be a voice-over but it should explain our edit and provide all the information our clients need to produce their own packages. It should answer the ‘W’ questions – who, what, when, where, why, and how, so they have enough information to tell the story without having to embark on extensive research to make sense of the pictures we have sent them. The story should also have enough contextual information to answer the “so what?” or “why should we care?” questions that clients will be asking before they broadcast our pictures.

Let’s assume we have the following 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. i.e.

....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

....As the news filtered out, hundreds of visitors and pilgrims began arriving at St. Peter’s Square to express their gratitude and support.

4) Add in your soundbites, in the order they appear in the script, making sure you introduce who is speaking, before they speak. i.e.

....French visitor Cecille came with other pilgrims who were singing as they carried a large wooden cross towards the square.
...."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," she said.
....Australian tourist Melanie Bowers said she had only heard the news of Benedict’s resignation on her arrival in Rome two hours earlier, and had decided to go straight to St. Peter’s Square to see what was going on.
....“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,” she said, still carrying her large rucksack on her back.

5) End with another line or two of background that the client can use to help them tell the story. i.e.

....A Vatican spokesman said the pope would step down from 1900 GMT on February 28, leaving the office vacant until a successor is chosen.
....It is the first time a pontiff has abdicated in 700 years.

WRITE TO THE PICTURES

Write to the pictures. If our pictures show pilgrims/tourists arriving at St. Peter’s Square, do not make your story all about which cardinal is likely to replace the pope or a long discussion on the reason for his resignation – it is about the pilgrims and tourists. The emphasis of our video story might be different from the emphasis of the text story you are using for background, so you cannot always use the text story without re-working it. This is particularly true on a big story like the pope’s resignation. We will do a multitude of edits on this, and so the script must relate to the particular edit it belongs to. You cannot possibly tell the whole story in one script, so don’t try to.

MATCH THE EDIT SEQUENCE

The order of the script should match the sequence of the edit. It is not acceptable to write a script where the soundbite order does not match the order in which the same soundbites appear in the edit. This will confuse our clients.

USING SOUNDBITES IN YOUR STORY

In the main script we should introduce the speaker first, even paraphrase what he or she will be talking about, and then write out the selected verbatim quote of what is said.

For example:
....In her acceptance speech Dlamini-Zuma said nobody would ignore the African Union if its participating nations stood together.
...."We are a formidable force if we are united. But if we are divided, we are very weak. Nobody can ignore us united," she said.

Sometimes the easiest way to do this is to use the first line of a soundbite as the introduction, and then remove it from the direct quote. i.e. if the soundbite was:

15. (SOUNDBITE) (Mandarin) RETIRED DIPLOMAT, ZHANG CHENGLI, SAYING:
...."This king was a legendary figure. He had a lot of stories that nobody knows. Chinese people know a lot, but Chinese people all have friendly feelings towards him. He loved his country, and he was friendly to the Chinese people."

You could write the following:

....Retired diplomat Zhang Chengli said the king was a legendary figure.
....“He had a lot of stories that nobody knows. Chinese people know a lot, but Chinese people all have friendly feelings towards him. He loved his country, and he was friendly to the Chinese people,” he said.

You do not need to use the entire verbatim quote. You might find that you only want to use a small part of it. i.e.

....Retired diplomat Zhang Chengli said the king was a legendary figure.
....“He loved his country, and he was friendly to the Chinese people,” he said.

If for some reason it is impossible to introduce the speaker first, break the soundbite up to get in the name of the person speaking as soon as possible. i.e.

...."This king was a legendary figure,” said retired diplomat Zhang Chengli.
....“He had a lot of stories that nobody knows. Chinese people know a lot, but Chinese people all have friendly feelings towards him. He loved his country, and he was friendly to the Chinese people," he added.

Clients should not have to read a quote before knowing who said it. They need to know who said something before they find out what was said.

It is not essential to reproduce in the script every single soundbite which is in the edit as a verbatim quote. You can paraphrase some of the soundbites, but they must still be put into context, otherwise they are useless to the client. While some are self-evident, many are not. For example, there would be no point in putting the following soundbite in an edit if you did not explain the circumstances in which it was said.

10. (SOUNDBITE) (English) BRITISH PRIME MINISTER, DAVID CAMERON, SAYING:
...."That’s exactly what I told him, and he didn’t take it very well."

How can the client possibly use this soundbite if you do not help them in the script by explaining who or what Cameron is referring to? This is an extreme example, but some are not so obvious, so double check your soundbites all have enough context to be useful. Most of the time, you will want to use your soundbites in your script as direct quotes. If it is not a very good quote, it should not have been included in the edit.

If you see a quote running in a Reuters wire, but don't have it in your edit (it may not have been said on camera), but you think it essential to our clients understanding of the story, find a way to paraphrase it in the script instead.

Direct quotes should only appear in scripts if we have the corresponding soundbite in the edit. An exception to this is if it is made very clear in the story that a particular quote was made in a statement, or over the phone, when it would never have been possible to have the quote on camera.

Do not start a story with a direct quote. Using a quote at the end of the story is acceptable if it is a ‘kicker’ – that is, rounds the story off well with no need of further explanation.

USING VOX POPS IN STORIES

We often include vox pops in our stories. In these cases be careful not to make a generalisation about what the whole population feels on the basis of one or two comments from people in the street. Rather than saying:

....The people of Athens are angry at the budget cuts.
...."I don't know how I will survive if these austerity measures continue," said Giorgio Yanopolous, who has been unemployed for three years.

It would be better to just keep Giorgio's opinion as his alone. i.e.

....Athens resident Giorgio Yanopolous has been unemployed for three years.
...."I don't know how I will survive if these austerity measures continue," he said.

Or make your lead into the vox pops more generic. i.e.

....On the streets of Athens, opinion is divided as to whether the budget cuts are good for Greece.
...."I don't know how I will survive if these austerity measures continue," said Giorgio Yanopolous, who has been unemployed for three years.
...."The cuts are essential," said business woman Maria Samaras.
...."Greece has to swallow some tough medicine to move forward," she added.

With vox pops, we are simply reflecting a snap shot of opinion held by members of the public. Try and reflect a range of opinion if possible and use at least three of them.

BACKGROUND

Unless our story is a feature that demands a lot of context, we don’t need to give too much background. One or two paragraphs should be enough. If possible weave the background through the main body of the script, giving additional information whilst telling the story.

STORY LENGTH

Different stories demand different lengths. A one-run breaking story may only require one or two paragraphs, but will then need updating and fleshing out with more detail as it develops through the day. An average story of arrivals at a summit should only require a maximum of four or five paragraphs, including any background. A bomb in Baghdad may only need one or two paragraphs, with a wrap of the day’s violence in Iraq needing five or six. On the other hand, two paragraphs of script for a 4.00 edit are clearly insufficient.
Features and backgrounders ahead of major news events need more writing but every word must justify its place.

ACCURACY, SPELLING AND GRAMMAR

Check, check and recheck your facts and figures. Reuters cannot be compromised by a lack of attention to basic facts and journalistic detail.
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 - http://handbook.reuters.com/index.php?title=A - 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.

SOURCING/PLAGIARISM

Sometimes you may want to include something in your script which you did not witness yourself or has not come from any of 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 same 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. It goes without saying that you cannot just copy big chunks of text from Wikipedia or other sources on the internet, and act as if it is our own. Not only would we be plagiarising, we have no way of knowing if the information is accurate.

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:

“Syrian Television is reporting that a suicide bomb blast in the centre of Damascus has killed at least 10 people.”

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

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. i.e. “Fifteen people were killed in the Dagestan car bombing.”
Always write ‘percent’ in full, rather than using the % symbol.
For someone’s age, the wires will say the following: “Joe Bloggs, 60, was arrested.” This is not the way people actually speak, and in television we prefer to follow a ‘spoken’ style in our scripts so you would need to change it to: “Sixty-year old Joe Bloggs was arrested.”
Keep in mind that you only need to include the person’s age if it is relevant to the story, whereas text often include it as a matter of course. Use your judgment here.

OTHER THINGS TO NOTE

  • The first line of your story should not be exactly the same as your headline or intro
  • 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?
  • Keep it simple. It is our job to write factual, accurate scripts which give the clients the information they need as quickly as possible. The scripts do not need to be beautiful works of art. Clarity is more important than poetic phrases. As much as we may all like to be writing an award-winning piece of stunning prose, that is not what our clients need from us. Avoid complicated or difficult words. Many of our clients are not native English speakers so we don’t want to make it more challenging for them than it needs to be.
  • Avoid emotive terms and excessive use of adjectives. Stick to the facts.
  • Do not editorialise within the script. We must be impartial and seen to be objective. Clients are not interested in our opinions, just our pictures and accurate reporting of the facts. They must be able to rely on what we write or our credibility is lost.
  • Never use the terms “today”,” yesterday” or” tomorrow”. We are a 24-hour news agency serving many different time zones. 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 parenthesis the first time.
  • 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.
  • 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)
  • Do not put ‘ENDS’ at the end of your script. This is an old newspaper protocol and is not necessary. There is also no need to put your initials at the end of your script as they appear in the template.
  • Always assume your eyes are the last to see your story and no-one else is going to correct it.
  • Make sure you spell check, but keep a close eye on it – we have often had occasions when the spell check has replaced names with entirely inappropriate words.
  • Also read through thoroughly and check for sense, grammar etc before sending to your DI bureau.

SUBBING

There may be times when you will be asked to sub your colleagues’ scripts. It is important that you do more than just give them a cursory glance. Remember – as the sub, your initials will be on the scripts and you are considered as responsible for their accuracy as the producer is.

These are the steps which should be taken:

1) Have the edit open in front of you.

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

3) Check all information in the template is there and correct. People often forget dates, locations and to change the Source Aspect when necessary.

4) Scroll through the video, making sure the shotlist matches. It is not uncommon for producers to miss out shots. Listen to the soundbites that are in English (or any other languages you understand) and make sure the transcriptions in the shotlist correspond. If there are just a couple of missed words now and again, fix them. If the producer has not done this part of their job properly and the transcription is way off, send it back to them to do again. You should not have to do their job for them.

5) Double check the restrictions. If something appears odd about the restrictions (i.e. uppick material running as 'access all') double check with the producer that this is correct.

6) 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.

7) 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 at the end which the story hasn't answered?
- Has the producer repeated themselves? This can often happen when copying and pasting into the script from different wires.
- Is it grammatically correct?
- Check the spelling of names and places. You would be surprised how often the names in the story don't even correspond to those in the shotlist. Sometimes there are different spellings around for the same person. Just a simple google search of 'Reuters XXX', where XXX is the name you are checking, should bring up a previous wire with our standard spelling. Do make sure it is a Reuters wire you refer to though, as the search will bring up other non-Reuters results as well.
- Is the script far too long? If so, discuss with the producer about what can be cut.
- Check as many dates/facts etc as you can either against the wire, or other reputable sources. You may not be able to get to all of them, but please make an effort to check the main ones.
- If anything jumps out at you, or bothers you about the script, discuss it with the producer. Trust your instincts, and if you are uncomfortable with anything that is written, follow it up.
- Now that you are familiar with the story, have a read through of the intro and headline and satisfy yourself they are right for the script. Do they reflect our pictures as well as the story? Are they accurate? Do they make assumptions they shouldn't?
- Spell check. It's a great way to find typos and names being spelled in more than one way.
- Have another read of the headline noting the spelling, as the spell checker does not check the template.
- Put your initials in the next free initial box in the template.

OTHER BITS AND PIECES

PROCEDURES QUEUE

The PROCEDURES queue in inews contains a wealth of information on what we do and how we do it. You should make yourself familiar with this queue. When we have a change in policy on how to do something, this is where you will find the information. From how to book a company taxi to how to source material by our stringers in conflict zones, this is the place to look. It sits just under the OUTPUT folder.

THIRD PARTY CONTENT/SOCIAL MEDIA GUIDELINES

As a television news agency we are working in a constantly changing news environment, and video comes to us in many different ways. As a result, senior editors must make decisions on third party material and how we handle it. If you are asked to do a story which includes material sourced via a social media website such as YouTube, or video from a non-broadcast third party you should check the PROCEDURES queue for the latest decisions by managers on how to source and use it.

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: THIS EDIT CONTAINS GRAPHIC IMAGES

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.

TASTE WARNINGS

We also need to add a warning 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 warning should look like this, 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.

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. The word ‘press’ refers to newspaper journalists only.

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 COMMISSION, JOSE MANUEL BARROSO, WALKING INTO ROOM rather than EC PRESIDENT, JOSE MANUEL BARROSO, 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

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 US dollars. There was a time when the $ sign corrupted our scripts, but this is no longer the case, so we should use the $ sign 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. i.e. 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) and provide an imperial measurement in brackets afterwards if you feel it is an essential element to the story. i.e. the record weight of a gold nugget.

AND FINALLY…

This document should cover most of the everyday scripting situations you will face as a Reuters TV news producer. But please remember, our workflow often needs to change in response to the evolving news environment. Please check back to this document from time to time, as it will be updated regularly. If you have iNews check the PROCEDURES queue for anything you are not sure of and make use of the alphabetical General Style Guide for details of particular words and phrases. The Style Guide is available here: http://handbook.reuters.com/index.php?title=A Just click on the letter your word or phrase starts with, and with a bit of luck it will be listed.

If you have other questions – your senior editor and the London Sub, Output Editor and EOD will always be willing to help.

This page was last modified 13:08, 16 July 2014.

Powered by MediaWiki
GNU Free Documentation License 1.2