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  • Writer's pictureAnilesh Kumar

Common On-Air Mistakes By Indian TV Journalists

Image courtesy: Stock abode

Remember the time when parents would make their children watch news for language learning purposes? A particular emphasis would be on paying attention to the pronunciation of commonly used words. Remember? Yeah, they were not my parents! Anyway, that is not the point. The point is to point out how the champions of language seem a little lost in the maze of communication. While the list is long, here are a few common mistakes made by TV journalists in India. No, it's not about witch-hunt, propaganda, fake news, slanted journalism, disregard for public interest, sensationalism...Gosh, it is a separate long list! This one is only about their language skills.

‘For the benefit of the viewers…’

Alright. You are honest. I get it. Though indirectly, you have perfectly highlighted the victory of capitalism and the triumph of corporate over media ownership across the globe. Salute to you for bringing to our attention that the media, generally, works for the benefit of their advertisers. However, you don’t have to say things to make it obvious. Imagine if someone turns to you and asks - whose benefit were you serving before this? Remove the ‘viewers’. (anyway you have, I am just talking about the word!)

‘Rushed to the hospital in an ambulance…’

When was the last time you saw an ambulance driver looking to connect his Bluetooth to the music player while an injured person was on board? Hey, we all love Rafi Sahab and Kishore Kumar but that does not mean when a person requires urgent medical attention, the respondents/in charge of ambulances, take their sweet time to complete their task. Sauntering to a hospital with a patient is no longer acceptable, people rush!

‘A crucial meeting at the minister’s residence at 7pm in the evening…’

These are unusual times. Plans/schedules have become a victim of the uncertainty triggered by Covid-19. From marriages to funerals to meetings to holidays, most types of planned events have suffered. However, even in these challenging times, what has not changed is the movement of our planet. It still revolves around the Sun. Another status quo is the referencing system for day and night. Therefore, even during Covid, pm implies evening!

‘Welcome on board…’

I get that you have attended a couple of seminars by Western organisers. However, not every country in the West is known for a grasp over their own language. Just as not every person in Bihar or UP knows proper Hindi, people in the West too get their language wrong. Therefore, please be a presenter only and don’t capsize the boat of semantics with expressions like ‘on board’ and I am Captain News!

‘Viewers, this is...’

There is competition and you need attention of the news consumers. Got it! But don’t act like a thread tied to the pony of a student who wants to avoid dozing off. Imagine a person is trying to have a conversation with their partner after a long and tiring day and suddenly you appear on the screen with fingers pointed towards them saying – ‘viewers’. You wouldn’t know even if they responded and trust me you don’t want to know how they often respond. Moreover, Thanks for clarifying, I thought you were on a radio set!

‘As you can see…’

The grass is not always greener my friend and even if it were, not everyone can 'see'. There are more than 250 million people on this planet with severe visual impairment. That number is more than the total viewership you could ever imagine in your life. See (figuratively, not literally), it is all straight forward with a little more attention. Yeah, most of us can see but not all!

'Ladies and gentlemen…'

Understandable that debates have taken over circus shows, however you don’t have to introduce the show literally like a pantomime. Also, there are other genders/gender identities. How about considering them? But hey, don’t blame yourself. Journalists are generally busy; they do not get time to read. You might not be aware of what is happening in the rest of the world!

‘We are slipping into a short break...’

Ouch! I thought it was obvious. Good for the advertisers that you are slipping in, but your language is slipping away!

Anyway, it’s 11am in the morning in Hong Kong. I need to eat my morning breakfast!

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1 Comment

Jan 09, 2022

I really liked it. It made me laugh.

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