USC Annenberg Media Resources

“Root Source” Guidelines

If you’re reading this, congratulations! You’ve been selected for the once in a lifetime opportunity to work for ROOT SOURCE, Annenberg Media Center’s top­-ranked etymology-­themed segment! You might be wondering how your humble, fragile mind could possibly ever help produce what is most assuredly the greatest artistic work of mankind, but don’t worry: instructions are below. Have fun!

  •  Root Source is about taking a word and getting into its history; for example “weird,” “irk,” “moist”, etc., as well as phrases like “kick the bucket” or “jump the gun.” Google one, pick any one you like that seems promising! There is a list of words here
  • The segment is between 50s and 1 minute, including the theme music. Consult your producer.
  • You can use vox pop (m­o­s) interviews, clips from tv shows, movies, actuality from an expert, or just write straight but creative copy. Just remember to write something fun
  • Seriously, it should be fun. Don’t be boring (duh), be as nerdy as you can
  • Your intro will always be“IF YOU’VE EVER WONDERED ABOUT THE ORIGINS OF CURIOUS WORDS AND PHRASES, HERE’S [name] WITH TODAY’S ROOT SOURCE.” Write to that.
  • Get someone to check your script! A faculty adviser or producer.
  • Go track! Make sure you’re energetic, this is supposed to be a segment that’s whacky
  • When you finish editing your track, you should attach the Root Source theme song to the front and back end, you can find it here
  • Be sure to trim the theme, it should be max 5-6s on the front end and the same on the back, hopefully less. Also, it’s really loud. Check your levels.
  • Ask your producer how to get your file into NewsBoss

You’re done!

Still confused? Need some examples?
Here’s a script we used for the word “weird”

Here are sample segments to listen to:

http://www.annenbergradio.org/segments/2015/10/root­source­nightmare http://www.annenbergradio.org/segments/2015/11/root­source­ok

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