Talking the talk

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When was it decided that every single news reporter had to don the same verbal etiquette.   The only noticeable distinction between any of them is whether the person speaking is a he or a she. You could cut and edit the audio clips from 5 different reports, place them into one, and nobody would be the wiser.   To accomplish the journalism accent, are reporters enrolled in vocal lessons or some special from of speech therapy?

I love not only the tone of reporter lingo, but also the word choice.  The anchor woman in the onion clip announces breaking news in Haiti, "quite possibly the biggest development to come out of that nation in decades."  Is it the BIGGEST, really?  Even better, and a reporter favorite, is "I've never seen anything like it." This language as we discussed in class is to keep people interested.

It's clear that live news is more hastily strung together than the daily news and for an obvious reason.  Each station wants to be the first to disclose the unfolding story, and that means covering without all the information.  The onion video shows how sloppy that can end up looking.  The constant confusion over what exactly is happening has the anchor making inaccurate assumptions the entire time, which isn't so far from understandable, since no one knows exactly what is happening when a story is in progress.  However, the anchor uses phrases like "we can now confirm" that are not true. Here is where the public can be harmed. 

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Greta Carroll said:

You make some great points, April. You are right, all the reporters tend to talk in similar manners with the same voice inflections. To some degree, this makes sense, since after all if they didn't enunciate carefully it might be hard for some people to understand what they were saying. Yet, at the same time, some differences and personality once in a while might be nice.

As for the comments such as, "quite possibly the biggest development to come out of that nation in decades," that's the type of comment that annoys me. Our "impartial" news anchor is giving her opinion. She's supposed to be our unbiased guide through the news and here she is making comments like that when she probably doesn't even know a lot about Cuban history. I know one thing for sure, the next time I watch the real news, I will certainly pay closer attention to the language that anchors and reporters use from now on. If one isn't constantly paying attention, he or she could be mislead unconsciously by the way they phrase things.

April M. Minerd said:

I can see your point, Greta, that it would be necessary to maintain a level of clarity in speech in order to avoid misunderstanding. I don't think slipping a little personality into the delivery could be too harmful, either.
I'm glad you noted that the anchor's comment on Haiti was an opinion. Originally, I only thought how her statement was used to draw in the audience's attention. You're right, though, it is very misleading if a person doesn't know what to expect from the news.

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