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 Standards In The Media

Standards In The Media

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By Neil Giuseppi


I suppose that at my age I should be a lot more tolerant of things over which I have little or no control.

The truth is, however, that there are several things that irritate me regardless of how much I try not to be affected by them.

Top of the list, I suppose, is the deterioration in the standards in the media today.

Having spent a considerable portion of my working life in the media, however, I suppose my frustration is inevitable.

Listening to the radio or television nowadays or reading the newspapers can literally bring one to tears.

I wonder how many people in radio and television are called upon by their managers these days to answer for any mistakes they make on air.

I wonder also if proof readers exist today in the print media.

Now lest I be misunderstood, I am not talking about the use of the vernacular on talk shows and the like. I have no problem with that. This is Trinidad and Tobago and we have a unique language of our own which is a beauty in itself

However, there is a time and a place for everything and the news is certainly not the time nor the place for that.

Correct pronunciation on air also seems to be a thing of the past.

I am a cricket fan and it hurts my heart when I hear that a team was out for “TREE hundred and TURTY TREE”.

I have also heard an announcer proclaim that “GORD gave his only begotten son.”


Yet another was quite clear that a man was saved from being burnt to death in a fire at his home because he was “AWOKENED” by his daughter.

Lest we ignore our dear friends in the print media, there was a headline in one of our daily newspapers that read “MAN DIES AFTER COMMITTING SUICIDE.”

Another newspaper was thoughtful enough to advise its readers that “THE DEAD MAN WAS SEEN WALKING DOWN THE ROAD A FEW MOMENTS BEFORE HE COMMITTED SUICIDE.”

There was also the tragic story of the man who was STABBED TO DEATH 19 TIMES.

What about the body that was found on the Beetham Highway which caused the police to work on the theory that “THE MAN WAS ALIVE AT THE TIME THAT HE DIED?”

Of more recent vintage, a newspaper headline screamed out the news that “Curfews continue, cinemas reopened, PARTYS still banned in Barbados.”

Where, oh where, did it all go wrong?

One announcer on a radio station recently implored her listeners to pay tribute to all the ladies of the nation since it was “MUDDERS’ DAY.”

Another popular radio station told its listeners of a pair of amazing bandits in South Trinidad who held up a woman and robbed her of her vehicle and then escaped ON FOOT.

When one listens to the radio and television nowadays, nearly all the announcers (if you can call them that) pronounce basic words incorrectly.

The really sad thing is that nobody who is in a position to do something seems to care.

Just look at the ticker tape messages that are run nightly across your television screens. They usually contain mistakes that take the form of grammar, spelling and general content.

There was one message that pointed out that a TRIPPLE murder had taken place.

And there was this poor fellow who, because of a landslip, stood to LOST his house.

Another very annoying aspect of radio in today’s environment is that nearly all the announcers believe that they are experts on every topic on the face of the earth and make pronouncements on issues about which, in most cases, they know absolutely nothing.

What generally comes out of their mouths is an unadulterated pile of drivel.

It appears that the emphasis is no longer on standards but merely on the pursuit of the almighty dollar.

I remember calling the Chief Executive Officer of one of the radio stations after hearing a new addition to that station’s announcing staff using the most distasteful type of language on air and describing members of the public who disagreed with his views as “vomit.”

I asked why the particular announcer was allowed to use that type of language on the air. The response I received was that he was making money for the station and the public loved it and therefore, as far as the station was concerned, it was acceptable.

I hung up the phone and wept a tear.

Another article by Neil Giuseppi:

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