The Wraparound, Video’s Package
In a previous lesson we learned that when a reporter gets information on an event or news assignment and shares that information with the audience, either live or recorded, that's called a voicer. The "voice" in a voicer is not the voice of the news source; it's the voice of the reporter. A voicer does not include an actuality. But suppose you have an actuality to make the story more authentic, more informative? If the studio newsreader introduces the reporter, and the reporter delivers a full write-up, an actuality (or two) and closes with a write-out and lockout, you have a wraparound, or video's package.
As was the case with the voicer, the newsreader will add your soft lead to the main news copy (script). After the soft lead, you'll write for the news reader: "Reporter (your name) has details." What follows will be your recorded voice picking up with the titled-source-says sentences. In a video package, appropriate video accompanies (and is edited to match) this voice-over.
Your write-up copy is no different from any phoner, but you get to record it yourself. You record your write-out, too. Then you place the actuality (or video's bite) between the two on the computer.
After the last sentence of the story, you tack on a lockout. That's all there is to the wraparound. It's wrapped up like a package. In fact, in TV broadcast journalism they call the video counterpart a package.
Since the original publication of Writing in Stereo II, I’ve improved on the complete wraparound and renamed it, “MicWriter.” Here’s the model as it appears today. I’ve added notes on the video package.
1. Soft lead: Active voice sentence, few details
The anchor has the soft lead and adds a toss to the reporter’s VO on digital recording: “Mary Jones has details, etc.”
2. Write-up: “(Position title) (source first and last name) says … ” (complete sentence: generalization or lead-in)
Edited video w/ or w/o mixed sound accompanies reporter’s VO into actuality (or throughout story).
In-cue: “(First few words) … ”
Out-cue: ” … (last few words).”
The actuality is the bite, the source on camera talking about the issue or event.
4. Write-out: (details)
“(Source) also says … ” (complete sentence)
(Where do we go from here: location or future of issue)
More edited video is matched to the reporter’s VO. OR this can be a stand-up close delivered by the reporter on camera.
5. Lock-out: “For K-W-X-L News, I’m … ”
The lock-out can be delivered VO or stand-up.
Of course, the formulaic nature of MicWriter is more evident in video form, but students will see how professionals use and vary the elements and experiment, themselves. I hope this is helpful. Do not hesitate to write Doug Potter at for help.
That completes our lessons in broadcast news writing, Writing in Stereo II. It’s been a pleasure sharing them with you here in School Video News. You can find these and all of my other lessons in broadcast journalism, radio dramatics and digital internet radio broadcasting on the blog, http://writinginstereo.podbean.com. Good shooting!
Doug Potter is a retired high school teacher. During his 30-year teaching career, he taught drama, English, writing, broadcast journalism and radio and video production. His proudest achievement is Pueblo Magnet High School's KWXL-LP, one of only two FCC-licensed low power FM radio stations in Tucson, Arizona.
Doug earned his bachelor's degree in radio/TV at Arizona State University and his masters in drama at the University of Arizona. He's been shooting and editing film and video since 1968. Drawing on years of research and teaching experience, Doug developed the Writing in Stereo program and the MicWriter (“mike writer”) broadcast news writing model for use in his radio broadcast journalism classes.