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Wednesday 15 August 2018
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Letters to the Editor

Disgusted at poorbroadcasting today

THE EDITOR: As an old stager who knows about the glory days of radio and television announcing in TT when such greats as June Gonsalves, Larry Heywood, Ken Gordon, Ashton Chambers, Melina Scott, Peter Minshall and Sir Trevor McDonald provided us with good radio and TV entertainment and allowed us the benefit of correct English on the airwaves, I must express my disgust at what passes for broadcasting today.

Many of those on the air today would not have been allowed through the back gates of Radio Trinidad and 610 Radio, let alone enter a broadcast studio.

Their speech patterns are poor, they cannot speak, and, most importantly, they sound as though they never went to school, given the extent of the bad grammar one hears on the airwaves.

Generally, the news writing is poor and the sentences convoluted, while the reading is just as bad. Very few of them can be called newscasters.

A female weekend anchor on one of the television stations has me asking myself almost every weekend whether she really went to a prestige high school.

She has been in the broadcast media for about three decades yet she reads whatever bad grammar is put in the news for her and it appears she cannot even sense when something does not sound right, so that the listener continues to be exposed to what I term “subject and verb disagreement.”

Another female on one of the more popular radio stations is not a particularly good newsreader and makes numerous errors while reading. These she attempts to correct by saying, “or rather” after every error. I counted “or rather” seven times in a morning newscast some time ago. Is this professional?

Then there are the redundancies like “3 am tomorrow morning” and “at this point in time,” not to mention the Americanisms like “stat-us” for “status” and “sked-ule” for “schedule.”

On the newspaper end, one particular daily seems not to understand the punctuation marks that should go after “etc.,” the abbreviated form of et cetera, preferring to omit the commas that should precede the abbreviation and the period that should follow it, as well as the comma that should go after the ending periods where called for.

Then there is the omission of the final comma in geographical place names where the sentences continue, as in: “This happened on Murray Street, Woodbrook, last evening.” In that example, there should be a comma after Woodbrook, but the editors of the offending daily leave it out frequently. They have done it to my letters to the editor for publication.

Both broadcast and print managers must remember that their respective media are tools of communication and education and that the English must be written and spoken correctly at all times.

, Diego Martin


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