BBC – the Backwards Broadcasting Corporation?

January 9, 2009

As we eased into 2009 I was sitting watching the main 6 o’clock news on January 2nd on BBC1.
The main presenter of the news introduced a reporter who reported on the “abandondment” of the subject of the story. I can’t remember much about the story, mainly because I was dumbstruck by the sheer stupidity of adding the second ‘d’ into the word “abandonment”.
Now I realise that everyone can make mistakes, but it’s not just the reporter. There’s his producer, and sub-editors and editors and all sorts of interested parties who should have picked up on this. Instead, we have one of our main news sources inventing pronunciations. What hope for the rest of us if professional journalists can’t get the basics right?
And then, as if to compound the intelligence-free nature of the news, when we cut back to the presenter she pronounced the word “species” by saying “speshies”. This is a more common mistake than you might think, as many people pronounce the ‘c’ as ‘she’. And the more it happens, the more people think that it’s the correct pronunciation. Which just compounds the problem.

And today's newsreader is...

And today's newsreader is...

And at the BBC they should have no problem getting the pronunciation correct. They have a pronunciation department, which we pay for. If there is any dubiety over the pronunciation, you pick up the phone and ask an expert. Or you just go on the programme without checking and look like a muppet in front of 5 million people.

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