Every one of us make some mistake every day.  For some of us, it's sending an email to the wrong Rebecca.  (Yup, had that happen.)  Perhaps it's taking the wrong turn in downtown.  (Yup.)  Or, it's running over the solar light staked deep into the soil lining your driveway.  (Yup, and don't ask.)

Thankfully, typos are mostly preventable. Microsoft Word is prevalent on computers these days. Though, if you use the wrong word ("your" vs. "you're"), Word may not catch it all.

In television, we have several computer programs to help get a newscast on the air.  One program  helps us "build graphics" -- in other words, make a map, or show a picture from an accident scene, or display a suspect's mug shot. In my experience, these graphic building programs do not have Word.  Additionally, you usually build these graphics while you're still writing your story, making follow up calls, monitoring Twitter, listening to scanners, watching the competition, and still trying to finish your lunch.  (In news, it's almost like we are trained to be ADD, but that's another post.)

On one particularly memorable instance, I was working at KWCH on a story about Gov. Parkinson's proposals for higher education.  (Or maybe it was a Wichita School District Story.  The context surrounding the story is foggy.)  Whatever the case, I was doing all of the above things.  And I also have a history of being a grammar geek.  So imagine my chagrin when my story aired that night, and in the middle of my graphic with the word "universtiy".  On an education story, I committed the ultimate blunder.

On your computer screen, it may look funny.  On a 60" TV screen in your living room, it looks careless and unprofessional.  That typo reflects the credibility of myself, my fellow employees, my employer, 
and my profession as a whole.  In that one slip of the fingers, our credibility was shot. To add insult to injury, a coworker of mine made the same mistake the following day.

Thanks, Grammarly.
I admit, I was the EM Holt Elementary Geography Bee Champion, never the Spelling Bee Champion, but I know things ought to be spelled correctly. Which is why the constant barrage of txt speak (see graphic at right) annoys me greatly.  
I enjoy the English language.  I relish correct sentence structure.  I seek strong verbs to convey my communications.  

I tutor local high school students, and it breaks my heart to see them write purposeful typos --  "b4" on the board, instead of spending time on three more consonants and two vowels.  I take off points every time I see it on their paperwork, and I openly ridicule their usage of poor grammar in class.  My Facebook friends make me cringe.  If I see poor grammar on my Newsfeed, I hide the offender. (I have hundreds of convicted grammar violators thus far.)  

Several years ago, NPR ran a story about the questionable end of the English Language, at the hands of rising txt speak.  It compared txting to the telegraph; people thought the telegraph would be the death knell of English.  As we now know, it wasn't.  Perhaps the rising tide of socially accepted typos won't kill English either.  I certainly don't want to write an epitaph to the English Language.  (But, I guess, if it had to fit on a headstone, texting would be the way to to it.)

I understand typos happen.  I understand they happen at inopportune times.  I do not understand why they are now allowed, even accepted, by society.  But, I guess that's why we have places like Grammarly.



Ronn Rinker
08/24/2012 8:34pm

Do you ever watch your reports after you get home? Are you your worst critic?

09/04/2012 3:50pm

Oh, totally. And I've rubbed off on my family. Now, when they watch their local newscasts, I often hear "OH, you should've heard what the local reporter here said yesterday. I could not believe it made it on TV."

Of course, they also doled out a lot of that on me when they lived in the Wichita market. One of the most memorable lines from my father: "Don't wear those pants; you're gaining weight. And why do you just nod your head when the weather girl finally shuts up? You look as dumb as her."


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    Rebecca Gannon

    Time, prudence, or something may prevent some things from becoming broadcast.  I like to thank the Journalism Gods for that.  Here are (some of) my thoughts and observances that never made air.


    October 2012
    August 2012