Friday, November 30, 2007

Proofreading on the web?

Now I will be the first to admit I am not the world's greatest writer. My spelling is not the best (thank god for spell check) but I do try and proofread all my posts before sending them to the web. This is more than I can say for some major and local news agencies. I have noticed over the past couple of years that there are more and more news stories out there that are a writing teacher's nightmare. No real huge errors like the one that cost a CBS anchor his job (if I remember correctly). No they are small errors like added letters, any for a for example, or forgotten or miss used words in sentences. However it is these small errors that can lead to interesting problems/issues in the wonderful world of Middle School.

In reading a couple of articles on my local news website ( I was shocked to see misspellings and bad grammar. But it just isn't the local news agencies I have seen these same types of errors on big news sites such as and This has been going on the past couple of years now and makes me wonder, Is it more important that the story get posted to the web first (at all possible cost) or that it is correctly written (and we potentially lose viewers)? I also wonder what if these blunders were present on the story copy that the TV hosts read on air. Would they simply read through them and make the corrections or would they read them as is mistakes and all? Would they be forgiven or would they be chastised? Thankfully we may never find out since their editors/proofreaders are better than the editors/proofreaders for the websites. I can only hope that the grammatical errors are corrected as they are pointed out throughout the day. But why are they even allowed to be posted in the first place? What kind of example are we setting for our kids if we allow easily corrected errors in news stories to make the web? I can't wait till I hear the words "but Mr. G. why should I proofread and make corrections if CNN doesn't?" a good question that I have no satisfactory answer for.

It is interesting when public school teachers are scrutinized so heavily for not be "professional" unless we have a degree and/or several years of experience in the subject matter we teach, yet private school teachers need only have a degree in some cases. Now don't get me wrong I am not picking on private school teachers, I sometimes think they have it worse than public school teachers (based on what I have heard from friends who teach in the private sector). Yet the person who is responsible for not leaving any children behind can make up words at a whim as well as other blunders of syntax and grammar. Are we as a society becoming more lax in what we let go in our published writing and public speaking? One may say "what is the harm with just a few errors?" It gives us someone to poke fun of and provides good material for a technology teacher like myself to show my students what happens when you don't double check your work. But I have to wonder when they will ask me the question "But Mr. G. why should I proofread and make corrections if CNN doesn't?"

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