‘Radio news is bearable. This is due to the fact that while the news is being broadcast the DJ is not allowed to talk.’
– FRAN LEBOWITZ
The acceptable pace of newsreading, like hemlines, seems to go up and down with fashion. My first attempt at newsreading was giving the headlines at the end of a half-hour radio programme. I was told to go at it as fast as I could and duly complied. That evening, still flushed with pride and wonder, I asked a friend what she had made of my debut as a newsreader. ‘Couldn’t understand a word of it,’ she said, with characteristic bluntness, ‘you were gabbling.’
The right reading pace is one which is comfortable for the reader, clear to the listener, and ...