18. Structuring the news and building the newscast’s rundown

The rundown is built to make apparent the hierarchy of information and the rhythm of the newscast. It help visualize the newscast with all its sequences in the right order. It includes all editorial links given by the anchor or the jingles, segments and visual tricks. 

A rundown is NEVER over with

The rundown is written one to two hours before the broadcast. It’s given to all teams involved in the broadcast. Obviously it can be entirely rewritten if something huge happens. It switches between on set segments (intros, on set interviews, link ups…) and packages.

An example of rundown (pdf)

For each package, after the title or the name of the shooting team, the last two or three words in the voice-over are often written so that the broadcasting team can be ready to go back to the on set anchor quickly after the package is over.

Types of newscasts structures.

The “bumpy” newscast : short packages followed by longer segments in the middle then short scripts or packages when the end of the newscast is nearing.

The “hollow” newscast : the longer packages are at the beginning and the end.

The “wavy” newscast : the packages all last more or less the same.

The “all images” newscast, edited from the beginning to the end.

Segments are only separated by short jingles. The intro is included in the package, be careful on proximity effects, sometimes the viewer will ix up two packages.

Thanks to which criteria should you organize the newscast ?

Usually the most informative package is put at the beginning, the most anecdotic is put at the end. All variants are possible :

Fake openers at the beginning.

Long segments in the middle or at the end.

Link up to open or end the newscast

Coming next : a trailer in the middle of the newscast.

A reminder of the heads at the end of the newscast.

Two ways to open windows on the world straight from the set :

  • The link up which allows the anchor to interview from afar journalists, experts or guests.
  • The in-situ set which shows both journalistic work and the reality of the field. It brings additional info at the end of the package or helps cover the news live and on the field.