Reading Aloud for the Future Newscaster

Reading Aloud
Reading aloud serves many purposes for various types of people, regardless of age or skill level of reading and writing that they may have. This skill will allow an individual to improve their reading, writing, editing, and other tactics. In addition to these techniques, reading aloud will benefit those individuals with ambitions to become a newscaster.

Peter Elbow, who is the author of Revising by Reading Aloud: What the Mouth and Ear Know and an English emeritus at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, formulates how writing and reading contribute to overall success as an author. He specifically compares reading aloud to ordinary speaking. The two are very different from each other and usually reading aloud pertains to a formal and well-formed piece, whereas ordinary speaking is informal. In this sense, Elbow compares ordinary speaking to everyday speech. Newscasting is ultimately formal and the ability to read the well-formed piece aloud is critical.

Reading aloud not only connects to the writer’s voice, but it generally can help edit and correct simple, yet commonly overlooked mistakes. Some of these mistakes include spelling and punctuation errors. While this is accurate, reading aloud can benefit the writer to further improve the flow of the piece. At times, the brain works faster than the fingers can type, or even what the mouth can say. As the author focuses on the words in front of them, it enables them to read the content carefully, paying attention to punctuation. It will help the author think about what they are saying and ensure that they are reading each word and phrase correctly, and with caution, while also emphasizing emotion when needed.

Moreover, reading aloud contributes to memory as well. A psychological study that focused on the “Production Effect” theorizes that an individual is able to remember what they read, based on the visual pathways forming memory links to the brain. Basically, an individual can benefit from physically seeing the material and reading it aloud; therefore, allowing them to remember the material easier. Individuals with a photographic memory may connect with this theory. So for the future newscaster, if the material is read aloud prior to filming, chances of remembering the script are higher, even if the script is being projected simultaneously during filming.

Nonetheless, there is more to being a newscaster than perfecting the skill of reading aloud, according to Andrew Stockey, who is Pittsburg’s Channel 4 sports director. There are five characteristics an individual must have in order to be a good anchor. These include being personable and approachable, believable and trustworthy, caring about the community, being a team player, and most importantly, the ability to think fast. When an individual perfects the ability to read aloud, they can then connect the skill of thinking on their feet. Stockey stated that there is usually a script for most news reports, but at times, there are breaking news reports, which may showcase their improvisational skills. These are unscripted and require more improvising and play-by-play newscasting. Since the individual has already perfected reading aloud, this should be easier for them to use their own voice and emotion for a script that is only in their brain.

Being a newscaster, like any career, requires certain skills and techniques that an individual must be able to obtain. The ability to read aloud will increase that potential and create a sense of confidence that would not develop without perfecting the skill. Although there are other personable characteristics that contribute to being an excellent newscaster, a person with these ambitions should ideally practice reading material aloud often, to further perfect the skill of confidently sharing news information to millions of viewers nationwide.

Opinion by Tricia Manalansan
Edited by Leigh Haugh

Andrew Stockey’s Blog: What Makes a Good Anchor?
Brainscape: Does reading out loud cause you to remember things better?
Peter Elbow: University of Massachusetts, Amherst: Revising by Reading Aloud. What the Mouth and Ear Know
Image Courtesy of Asim Bharwani’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License

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