Is it Tamil or Tamizh? How would you pronounce the name Nymacheringa? Is he or she the President or Secretary or Head? How would you truncate a big name or Designation to fit into the screen? Issues that television news channel have to deal with everyday.
Every channel has developed its own style-book. A style-book which need not always be available in the written format. It may be conveyed to the subordinates by the seniors as and when necessitated by a particular news item, but even then mistakes do creep in. For a channel which broadcasts news 24 hours a day… such mistakes are bound to creep in. So every minute the news editor has to be alert to what is going on air, take a decision on what is right or wrong, or probably in his judgement the best way to carry a particular item.
Yet getting a name or designation wrong not only reduces the news channel’s credibility but also angers the particular person. So how does one get out of this scenario. How to get the name and designation right. This obviously begins with the reporter or the person at the ground level. The person should ensure that he gets the right name from the interviewee or indiviuals he is talking to. Further he should also ensure that he gets the correct designation for him. Sometimes however, the official designation may not work for the particular news story. If a person is a GM of a big organisation but has been used as an eyewitness to an incident in a particular story, the designation should obviously say Eyewitness. So the next level of getting it right comes upon the output department. The general rules obviously have to be kept at the back of the mind, however any doubts have to be cross checked before being put on air. But many times overconfidence gives rise to mistakes.
An example will highlight how difficult it may be to get it right at the spur of the moment. After the attack on foreigners on Jama Masjid, New Delhi yesterday, one of the channels got the Imam’s brother Syed Yahya Bukhari to the studio. He had reached the spot 15 minutes after the incident and was also important as he is the President of Jama Masjid United Front. So the channel was confused on how to designate him. They called him an eyewitness… but he had reached the spot 15 minutes after the incident, is it right to call him an Eyewitness. Calling him Imam of Jama Masjid’s brother… did not make sense here. And calling him the president of Jama Masjid United Front was also not apt. Hence, the confusion was obvious. With the authority with which he was speaking about the police arrangement etc, made it obvious that he wasn’t just another eyewitness. But the designation said so, I am sure not many viewers would have gone in depth into this… but they would have been a bit confused. This confusion many times forces a viewer to change the channel, the most dreaded thing for channels.
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