• Put stress and emphasis on words to give them meaning
  • A reporter’s voice affects the meaning of a report. How a reporter says something creates a certain tone and clearly points out key facts.

    It is important for the reporter to give value and meaning to their words.

    Main points of the report may not be clear if the reporter does not put emphasis on key words by changing the pitch, tone, or inflection of their voice.

    Lowering your voice, or using a downward inflection, when saying a key word stresses certainty and conveys a more serious tone. Raising your voice, or using an upward inflection, when saying a key word conveys doubt, uncertainty or excitement.

    Speaking in a monotone voice will lose the audiences’ attention, as there is no variation or excitement portrayed in the report. If a reporter speaks in a monotone voice, viewers may perceive the reporter as uninterested in the story.

  • Use a conversational, but authoritative voice
  • Voice coach Ann Utterback recommends broadcasters to speak like they are talking to a good friend. This conversational tone creates a better relationship with the audience because the reporter sounds like he or she is engaging in a personal conversation with the viewer.

    Reporters should also speak with a lower pitch to sound more authoritative so audience members feel confident in their reporting abilities and credibility.

    However, be careful not to completely abandon your natural voice, because an obnoxious theatrical news voice can distract the viewer from the story, which is the main focus.

  • Vary speaking pace and always articulate
  • Talking quickly portrays an excited tone. Talking slowly portrays a more serious tone.
    A reporter’s pace should reflect the moods of a story.

    Broadcast reporters must be careful not talk too quickly that the audience does not understand what the reporter is saying or too slowly as they might sound boring.

    Broadcast reporters only have one chance to present their message because the viewer does not always have the option to watch the report again, unlike print where the reader can reread a sentence as many times as they desire.

    Articulating will help ensure viewers understand every word.

  • Example of good use of voice:
  • Reporter Elissa Harrington effectively uses her voice to emphasis certain words to highlight the intensity of the San Bruno gas line explosion in California.

    In Harrington’s live shot, she puts emphasis on the location and time of the explosion so it is clear to viewers where and when the explosion occurred, so they know if the explosion affects them or anyone they know.

    When she says the authorities are not letting anyone back into the area of the explosion, she raises her voice on the word “anyone.” By emphasizing the word “anyone,” Harrington has made it clear people should not return to the area as it is still unsafe.

    She also emphasizes words such as “huge,” “loud,” “giant, and the word “never” in the phrase “things will never be the same,” by slowing her pace of voice and using inflection, giving the viewers a clear understanding of the devastating magnitude of the explosion.

    Harrington effectively tells the urgency of the situation when she stresses the word “seconds” when she describes how much time people in the area had time to evacuate.

    Throughout the live shot Harrington speaks in an authoritative tone by using a lower pitch of voice, establishing herself as a credible source for information.