Writing Ribbons: Don’t “Hold & Blurt”

By Brian 

NBC Nightly News writer Barbara Raab blogs about writing “Ribbons,” the titles on the lower-third of viewers’ screens that says Decision Day, Battle for Iraq, Gathering Storm, etc:

“Those ribbons are the result of a friendly competition that officially begins when the presiding Executive Producer raises and, with a flourish, inverts a small, cheap, tacky hourglass that sits on his desk. (I am not making this up). Once the sands of time begin to flow, the free-for-all begins: anybody who is so moved can offer a 2-or 3-word ribbon idea. It occurred to me recently that there must be hundreds of accumulated years of professional broadcast experience engaged in this semantic game!

And if there is one thing that will inspire the collective scorn of the assemblage, it’s the blatant Hold & Blurt: the attempt to feign spontaneity by blurting out a ribbon idea that one has in fact been holding in mental reserve since the start of the meeting.”