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For Carrie Johnson, NPR’s Justice Department correspondent, it all starts with the script. She had a career in print before joining NPR, spent 10 years at the Washington Post, and was more than comfortable being interviewed on radio and TV about her stories. But this new job was a puzzlement.
“How to read lines from a page in front of me without SOUNDING like I’m reading?” she asked herself. “It’s much more difficult than it appears.”
Johnson’s solution was to pay close attention to her script, specifically the layout. Here are her top suggestions:
Each line of script should be just one line. Double space between lines. Capitalize words you want to emphasize. Use elipses…to remind yourself to stop and breathe. Punch up a line by adding a separate phrase at the end.
Journalist Sam Sanders, who hosts the podcast “Into It,” says he’s spent a lot of time focusing on the way he sounds, “trying to find new ways of making me sound like me.” For him, part of the solution was to throw out some of the rules of written grammar, using phrases such as “kinda like” or “really good” in his scripts.
“It took me years to get to the point where I can write how I talk,” he says. “And I think the one thing that helps me keep doing that is to read over