SNN Newsroom

Reporting for Radio

man with microphoneThe purpose of radio is to take people where they can't go or bring that place to them
~ inside their car, inside their bathroom, inside their kitchen....

Radio uses voices and sounds as newspapers use pictures - to illustrate or emphasize a story. News can be more interesting and more effective when the listeners hear the event taking place or hear the voices of those making it "happen."

Radio is intimate - you're talking to one person at a time. When you hear someone’s voice on the radio, it feels as if they're talking directly to you. It's like having a conversation with a friend.

Audio clips help to paint a picture with sounds. Of course, one of the major benefits of using audio tape is that you can hear people's voices. On radio, tape clips are used to help tell a story. The announcer will read part of a story, then he pauses to play a piece of tape of a person involved in the story.

How does radio compare to print and television:

  • Unlike print, radio listeners can't go back to the part they've missed. It has to be clear the first time, because there is no second chance.
  • Unlike TV, there are no pictures to reinforce your words. That means your script has to do all the describing. It also has to grab the listener's attention. You can't back into the main point - you have to get to it quickly without a long preamble.

Preparing your radio (audio) story

Radio stories can come out of a conference you've been to, a youth group you'd like to profile, an event that has happened in your school or community OR opinions you gather on teen issues. You can interview people, record a speech. You can also record sounds of the crowd to go with a story. A sporting event or concert has its own unique sounds and those sounds will add to your story about the event.

To do a radio story, here's what you need to know:

  • Ensure you have the equipment you need and it is in good working order.

  • Review the Doing a radio story and Radio Reporting Tips sections of the Reporters Toolbox (MultiMedia section)

  • Download the audio editing and encoding software you will need to capture your audio story (You'll find that in our MultiMedia Section).

  • Prepare for your story: Come up with an idea, write a list of themes/topics from that idea and flush those ideas out before you begin.

  • Take your equipment and practice with someone you are comfortable with: interview your parents or friends. Choose one question and begin there.

  • Once you are comfortable with using the equipment and interviewing with a recorder and mic, do your story.

  • Review your tape before you begin editing.

  • Show it to someone for a second opinion - a teacher, friend or parent.

  • When you are happy with your tape and story, use CoolEdit to capture it on your computer and Real Media Encoder to prepare it for the internet.


    • take care not to repeat what someone has just said in your tape and insert in your writing.
    • keep your audio clips to 20 seconds in length.



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