13. Structuring your bulletin

We've talked previously, in 5 – Sources and fact-checking – of how to pick and choose out of the news we receive. Here is some additional advice that teaches you the reflexes you need to have  when anchoring, once you've written all the anchor intros and the copies. You'll notice we're not talking about headlines, as you should write your headlines last.  


Structuring is defining the order in which an anchor is going to give out the news. It’s about putting your news in a precise order, by order of importance of the subjects treated. It’s logical and organizational work, and will allow the listeners to properly understand and follow the broadcast.

How to structure your bulletin ?

There are a few techniques. With experience, each anchor will come to choose the one that works best for him/her. An easy way is carefully examining each news item while taking into account three criteria :

1. Freshness of the information

The more recent the news is, the more important it is. Why ? Because a bulletin deals with the news of the day, the things that are happening that very same day. It’s about sticking as close to the news as you can, shortening the delay between the moment the event occurs and the moment your listeners hear about it in the bulletin. Your listeners are interested in today’s news, not yesterday’s nor last week’s. The second reason is that freshness of information is indisputably an objective criterion. You can rearrange the stories in chronological orders without getting things wrong nor opening yourself up to criticism. 

2. How relevant it is to your listeners’s interest.

You need to know your listeners and their stories of interests. They are the ones you’re talking to. For example: something that matters in their daily lives, such as taxes. Such news is relevant for everyone.

3. How important the news is.

The more important the news item, the higher it should be in the bulletin. To judge more easily how important a story is, check it against the station’s editorial line and ask your editor-in-chief for advice.

The lead story

Examining the news with regards to these criteria must lead you to make a choice: the news you’ll start your bulletin with, the lead story. Once you’ve chosen it, you will have to structure the rest of the bulletin in different chapters. Let’s imagine for example that your bulletin starts with politics. You must therefore follow up with the rest of the news in politics. If you think that economics must come afterwards, put all of the news item regarding economics. Repeat this manoeuvre until you’ve fully structured the bulletin.