Giant broadcasting mistakes: You and they will get over it

In June, a young broadcaster achieved instant infamy by dropping a four-letter word among his first utterances as a newscaster in North Dakota.    Thanks to YouTube, hundreds of thousands know about it.

The obvious lesson to be learned is among the top commandments in the broadcast performers credo: never say anything around a microphone that you wouldn’t want to say over the air.  But beyond that, this young man–if he has the determination and fortitude–will be able to rise again.

People make mistakes.  All people make mistakes.  And while the downright mortification suffered by the young North Dakota broadcaster might seem overwhelming, he, along with the rest of the world, can get over it.

The first thing for him to remember is what we just said, all people, all broadcasters make mistakes.  Most broadcasters have moments of infamy they’d like to permanently erase, and we are talking about prominent broadcasters–MYSELF INCLUDED!  And they (and me) all continue, for the most part, to be broadcasters.

The best thing to do when making a serious on-air gaffe is to acknowledge what happened, learn from it and not only move on from it but embrace it.  In other words, freely acknowledge that yes, “I’m the one that did that.”  Own it.  Show people you’re not afraid of the fact that, well, you did something stupid.  And better yet, use that experience to teach yourself as well as other young, aspiring broadcasters not to do the same thing.

In time, the hope is, that you will indeed resume your broadcasting career.  And you won’t do it in spite of what happened.  You’ll do it because of what happened.

 

 

 

Sportscasters: take writing seriously

There are fundamental differences in writing for the ear as opposed to writing for the eye.  Adhering to these precepts is critical to writing good broadcast copy.  But style is nothing without substance and nothing is more substantive than the need to be accurate in your research.  This has to be your first rule in writing as well.  So, it tops our list of the many things to keep in mind when writing your sportscast, be it for television or radio:

  • Accuracy is paramount
  • The journalistic precepts of the Five W’s and the H (Who? What? Where? When? Why? and How?)
  • Attribution/direct quotes
  • Correct pronunciations
  • Correct grammar
  • Short sentences
  • Active tense
  • Take an angle
  • When applicable, lead with the latest
  • Giving each story its own individual treatment through writing
  • Give the background
  • Write conversationally
  • Use contractions
  • Mostly simple word usage
  • Write personably
  • Have fun and be entertaining
  • Write with the visuals in mind
  • Compliment the video
  • Don’t write redundantly into a voice-cut
  • Avoid clichés
  • Judicial use of numbers
  • Titles come first
  • Use transitions between stories
  • When writing for someone else make it “reader-proof”
  • Keep it professional, not personal
  • K.I.S.S.– Keep It Simple Stupid
  • When in doubt, leave it out (crossing the line)
  • It’s sports: make it entertaining and fun!

Job Openings as of January 22, 2012

Occasionally I hear from my contacts around the country about openings for newscasters and sportscasters. One of my contacts says there is an opening for a news reporter at a Top 30 market and there may soon be an opening for a traffic reporter as well. Click here and email me if you have an interest. For more information on Marc Zumoff, Broadcast Coach please visit my web site, marczumoff.com.

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SPORTSTVJOBS.COM

Brian Clapp used to hire sportscasters.  Now, he’s helping them to get hired.

Born in Boston, Clapp is based in Seattle, where he was the former news director of the city’s Fox affiliate.  His aptly named website, www.sportstvjobs.com, is a treasure for those who aspire to cover the events they love watching as fans.  Clapp says the site is designed to “help 15 to 25 year olds (and older) to see what it’s like to work in TV (sports) or for anyone who’s trying to make a career of it.”

There’s career advice, resources, videos, blog links and yes, actual employment opportunities.  And the ads aren’t just for those who want to be on camera.  A slew of behind-the-scenes options are also available.

While it still pays to network and personally develop contacts in the industry, www.sportstvjobs.com is a more than worthwhile option for those who want to explore, in depth, what it takes to get a job in TV sports.

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The Marc Zumoff Temple University Interview – Part 6

This is part 6 of a 6 part series.

I always consider myself fortunate for having attended and graduated from Temple University’s School of Communications. Recently I was interviewed, on camera, by a Temple University School of Communications student, Amina Malik. We covered topics including my careers in sports casting and broadcasting coaching.

Click the play button to watch.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BlovTDlb2ms?rel=0&w=560&h=315]

The Marc Zumoff Temple University Interview – Part 5

This is part 5 of a 6 part series.

I always consider myself fortunate for having attended and graduated from Temple University’s School of Communications. Recently I was interviewed, on camera, by a Temple University School of Communications student, Amina Malik. We covered topics including my careers in sports casting and broadcasting coaching.

Click the play button to watch.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6dggpocfMRY?rel=0&w=560&h=315]

The Marc Zumoff Temple University Interview – Part 4

This is part 4 of a 6 part series.

I always consider myself fortunate for having attended and graduated from Temple University’s School of Communications. Recently I was interviewed, on camera, by a Temple University School of Communications student, Amina Malik. We covered topics including my careers in sports casting and broadcasting coaching.

Click the play button to watch.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wliGAU5M2bU]

The Marc Zumoff Temple University Interview – Part 3

This is part 3 of a 6 part series.

I always consider myself fortunate for having attended and graduated from Temple University’s School of Communications. Recently I was interviewed, on camera, by a Temple University School of Communications student, Amina Malik. We covered topics including my careers in sports casting and broadcasting coaching.

Click the play button to watch.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tMELrYKxZtM]

The Marc Zumoff Temple University Interview – Part 2

This is part 2 of a 6 part series.

I always consider myself fortunate for having attended and graduated from Temple University’s School of Communications. Recently I was interviewed, on camera, by a Temple University School of Communications student, Amina Malik. We covered topics including my careers in sports casting and broadcasting coaching.

Click the play button to watch.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VkEwZLnh0fI]

The Marc Zumoff Temple University Interview – Part 1

This is part 1 of a 6 part series.

I always consider myself fortunate for having attended and graduated from Temple University’s School of Communications. Recently I was interviewed, on camera, by a Temple University School of Communications student, Amina Malik. We covered topics including my careers in sports casting and broadcasting coaching.

Click the play button to watch.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nXwtGPzdA5M?rel=0]