Supposing a character or characters are watching a show on TV (news maybe) how should that be formatted in the text?

I've found some explanations on how to format TV broadcasts in a screenplay (in this website) but not how to do it for prose in a book.

Some explanations I've found around say to use block quotes for news paper articles. That seems like a start but there are some other things I'm not sure on. Like how are dialogue tags used for people speaking on TV? Or should a TV broadcast be treated differently than newspaper quotes?

I've done some searching but there isn't a whole lot of advice. A lot of people are saying formatting is often up to the publisher.

A similar question is How to format news, poems, text messages, and other kinds of written text? but how to format TV dialogue wasn't answered there.

  • Let's clarify - you have a fiction book (not a screenplay etc.) with a scene featuring a TV broadcast, and you are asking what is the best way to write this scene?
    – Alexander
    Jan 18 '19 at 21:58
  • Mostly how to format it which might also change how it's written (dialogue tags, etc. maybe). Yes, for a scene in a fiction story or book. Some formatting might come down to opinion but I was wondering if there is a standard recognizable style/method. Jan 19 '19 at 1:23

I see it as if you were reporting the dialogue between a couple of people sitting a table over from you in a public place.

If you want the words, write it as dialogue. Quote it normally and attribute it however works.

Angela turned on the TV and flipped channels to the news.

"An explosion rocked Central City today," said a red-haired anchorwoman. "No reports of causalities yet but a ping pong factory was completely destroyed."

The narrator can also comment on it.

She glanced up at the screen. The weather guy was gone and now the red-haired anchor was back, droning on about the government shutdown.

If it's a very long quote though, then setting it aside like you would a song might make sense.

  • 1
    I was thinking of a dialogue between a host and guest in a TV show. I see what you're suggesting. To use context to show who's speaking and treat dialogue on TV just like regular dialogue with regular denotations. It's so simple I don't know why I didn't think of it. Thank you. I think I've even seen it done that way before too. So I think this is probably the way to go. Jan 19 '19 at 1:31
  • I see it as if you were reporting the dialogue between a couple of people sitting a table over from you in a public place. Jan 19 '19 at 1:36
  • That makes perfect sense. Jan 19 '19 at 1:39

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