Radio Television Digital News Association Looks at Mervin Block and His Latest Book, “Weighing Anchors”
After many years of writing columns critical of broadcast news writing, the former network news writer is now semi-retired, but still speaking out (and often freaking out) about newscasts — both network and local. “Many a script should be scrapped,” he groans.
Merv continues to criticize, and occasionally write about, faulty broadcast news scripts. He complains mightily about “poor writing, inaccuracies, deceptions, distortions, delinquencies and falsities; one of the falsest of all is often ‘breaking news;’ runners-up are ‘happening now’ and ‘keeping them honest.'”
SALE! The Merv Block bookshelf on broadcast newswriting. Now available at 20% off when you buy any two of Block’s four books.
So you can buy “Writing Broadcast News” and “Broadcast Newswriting: The RTDNA Reference Guide” together for $72—a saving of $19.
His other two books on newswriting, “Rewriting Network News” and “Writing News for TV and Radio,” would both be yours for $48—a saving of $12.
All four of Block’s books about newswriting: $121—a saving of $30.
Mervin Block’s latest book
Parlez-vous Slurvian—or Silurian?
Don’t confuse Slurvian with Silurian. Slurvian is slurred English. Jeetjet, for example, is Slurvian quickspeak for “Did you eat yet?” As the columnist William Safire asked, Yagoddaprollemwiddat? If not, fuhgeddaboudit.
Silurians are a fictional race of reptile-like humanoids. They star in a sci-fi TV series on BBC. The Silurian geologic period occurred 440 million years ago, give or take.
The oldest living Silurian in this country, George Bookman, is only 98 years old. The Society of Silurians in New York City is an organization of newspaper, magazine and broadcast reporters and editors, most of them retired. As the Society seems to define the word, a Silurian is someone who dates from that geologic period. Once upon a time, Bookman worked for Time, Fortune, U.S. News and the Washington Post—one at a time.
All this is by way of introducing an unusual interview—by me, of me and for me. The interview ran recently in the Silurians’ newspaper. And you can read it on page 3 of this link (in PDF format).
A book reviewer has a few questions for the author of “Weighing Anchors”:
How Lester Holt Gives News a Jolt (June 2, 2015)
Holt, Williams Tamper with Clock, Time After Time (March 16, 2015)
How NBC Newscasters Turn Day into Night (October 7, 2013)
Scott Pelley’s ‘Breaking Story’ Breaks Up (July 16, 2013)
TV Consultant Tells Clients to Make News Sound Urgent (July 1, 2013)
Diane Sawyer and Her Word Games (August 22, 2012)
Anchors’, Reporters’ Use of “Confirmed” Questionable (July 18, 2012)
CBS’s Scott Pelley: Wearing Two Hats Can Cause Headaches (November 9, 2011)
When a Hit is Amiss (August 8, 2011)
CNN: When Bad Things Happen to a Sad Story (July 14, 2011)
Brian Williams Outruns the Learning Curve (June 14, 2011)
Righting Wrongs in Network News Scripts (March 14, 2011)
Anchors, Reporters Plagued by Learning Problems (February 15, 2011)
CNN Anchor Likes Astrologer, Astrology and Astrologizing (January 19, 2011)
ABC’s David Muir: A Man of Learning (January 4, 2011)
More articles are available via the Articles link, at the left, by publication year.
“Mervin Block is an old pro at television newswriting from whom anyone could learn a lot. I know. I have.” — Charles Kuralt
“There is a crying need for the sort of workshop that Mervin Block has the unique talent to lead.”
“Thanks again for a terrific show [in London] today. I thoroughly enjoyed it.”
Video created by Bill Corsa (www.specialtybooks.com)
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