At its core, journalism is the “art of telling a story” and telling it well. However, not all stories are told the same way. Radio and television stories are usually made up of short, informative reports: they cover the major details of an event or issue in one or two minutes. Newspaper or online stories can be short or extended, depending on the issue and details available. Magazine and feature articles, or documentaries, tend to give a more detailed, investigative portrait of the subject of the story.
Despite these differences there are a few guidelines that a journalist must keep in mind, no matter their medium:
Radio and television stories are often accompanied by a collection of images and/or sounds, but this isn’t always the case. In broadcast journalism, copy stories are short reports that tell the main or only details available for a story. See our attached pdf for an annotated example of a copy story that could be used for radio or television.
In addition to copy stories, there are three types of longer stories that are used in broadcast writing and reporting: the Voicer or Voice Report, the PAC and theVO/SOT or Field Report. See our attached pdf for an example of a voice report introduction, as well as an example of a VO/SOT template.
We've used a single sample story, about a bridge replacement in rural Nova Scotia, so that you can see how the same story is presented differently as you move from one form to another -- copy story, voicer, or feature.