How to read WCAX-TV News Scripts

A news script contains a number of elements or pieces, including:

  1. The text read by the anchor person.
  2. Notations and instructions about video and audio.
  3. The director's instructions and segment timings.
  4. The text of reporter's stories.
  5. Summaries of taped interviews which appear within stories.

The scripts posted on our web site have been filtered to remove much of the purely technical material. They may; however, be difficult to read if you are not familiar with the terms used or the way stories are organized for broadcast.

Here are some of the commonly used abbreviations and terms. They are always enclosed in single parentheses. You might want to print this page from your browser for easy reference while reading scripts on-line.

(**LIVE SIDE**) The reporter is on the set and delivers the story or introduces taped material.

(**SOT**) "Sound On Tape": Video tape with audio.

(**VO**) "Voice Over": The anchor or reporter doing a live side continues to speak over video tape without audio.

(**NATSOT**) "Natural Sound On Tape": Video tape whose audio runs under the sound of the reporter or anchor speaking.

(**PKG**) "Package": a complete story with all its elements on video tape.

(*On Camera*) Tells the director to return to the anchor or reporter on set, usually from a VO.


(Name/Title) Indicates that character generator identification of an individual should be placed on the screen.

(Graphic) Calls for a graphic to be placed on the screen.

Text in double parentheses ((like this)) summarizes what someone has said on video tape.

A story usually consists of one, two or three elements, each preceded by what is called a slug. The slug is one word, usally in capital letters. A single element story will consist of the slug followed by the text read by the anchor, for instance: "TAXES

The legislature today voted to increase the personal income tax..."

If the anchor is introducing a package, the slug of the package will be preceded by a "P": "P-TAXES It was a close vote as anti-tax forces..."

The third element follows the package and is called a tag. Its slug is preceded by a "T": "T-TAXES A final word on today's legislative action..."

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