Reporting the news on the radio or in an audio news story is definitely not as easy as it sounds, but coaching definitely helps, especially when it’s from a former anchor and correspondent from network and cable news. Last Thursday, former NBC News and Fox News anchor Linda Vester offered her coaching services to Reporting and Writing 2 students in Professor Sissel McCarthy’s class as they prepare to write, report and deliver their first audio news stories.
Vester shared her favorite warm-up exercises before she records a script like breathing deeply, singing the scale, stretching her tongue, opening her jaw and practicing different consonants. For the actual delivery, she emphasized resisting the temptation to just blurt it out, and instead to think about what you’re saying and saying it authoritatively. That said, you do need to boost your energy level when recording your reporter track to avoid sounding flat. “Bring your mental Red Bull into the booth,” Vester said. She also regaled students with her mishaps in the field like the time she swallowed a moth on-air while reporting from Florida during Hurricane Andrew. “I just swallowed it and kept going with no mention of what happened even though everyone saw it,” laughed Vester, who told students that it’s important to acknowledge your mistakes to your audience, because it humanizes you.
Another time, she caught her heel in a riser on her live audience show, Dayside with Linda Vester, and fell into the laps of several sailors on leave during Fleet Week. She defused that situation by quickly joking that she hoped her husband wasn’t watching. Vester graduated from Boston University with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and was a Fulbright Scholar of Middle East affairs in Egypt. In 2006, she produced a documentary about the Rwandan genocide, called “Back Home”, which won several awards at film festivals around the United States.