From a local news station’s coverage of a standoff situation:
“…an armed SWAT team remains outside.”
[Not a typo, but have you ever seen an unarmed SWAT team in action? Me neither.]
From a Yahoo discussion loop post:
“…and I figure this is probably the best way to decimate this information…”
From an online story about the Rays clinching a wild-card spot in the MLB playoffs:
“Pinch-hitter Dan Johnson saved the Rays with a two-out, two-strike solo home runs i the ninth that made it 7-all.”
[Guess this reporter was too excited about the Rays’ win to bother with noun-verb compatibility and spell check.]
The following typos from yet another local news station appeared in the original version of the story, which has since been edited. I give the staff credit for making the corrections, but the editing should have happened before the story was posted, not after.
“Security cameras recording bus riders every move”
[The missing possessive apostrophe in this title carried through to several outside links to the article.]
“…The eye in the sky is also a good way to make sure drivers are not bypassing customers and following the rules of the road.”
[This confusing sentence, sadly, remains in the story.]
“Security measures that keep the riders and drivers safe.”
[This incomplete sentence was all by itself at the end of the story and was subsequently deleted.]
Lastly, here’s a commentary about professionalism in modern journalism.
“Fire Sparks Tons Of Smoke Near Metal Business”
“A business fire, that had firefighters guessing on where it was coming from, created tons of smoke along Garden of the Gods Road Sunday night.”
Writing in the manner that people speak is becoming more commonplace in our society. That doesn’t make it right, nor does it make the writer appear credible. “Guessing on where” the smoke is originating might be acceptable for dialogue in a novel, or as a direct quote. But in a news article, it looks less than polished and professional. “Guessing where it was coming from” would have sufficed.
Likewise, “tons of smoke” is a nice colloquialism, but it’s not a fact. Nobody was on the street quantifying the amount of the smoke, or how much it weighed. How can the reporter know there were “tons” of it?
If you think choice of words doesn’t make a difference, stay tuned for my next post about mathematical word problems. I just might change your mind.