Television News Ticker Error
By Annette Rey
While watching the news and reading the written news ticker across the bottom of the screen, I lost all interest in the broadcast when I saw an error.
As usual, I am shocked this kind of thing gets past editors and everyone else that works in the production of news at a station.
Here is what the news ticker read:
Law enforcement has reported heavy rain with hail which have led to…
My ears stopped hearing the broadcast and I waited for the ticker to start over again, to double-check what I had read. Yes. I had read it correctly.
What is wrong with that sentence?
Law enforcement is the subject of the sentence. Even though it is a large organization, it is a singular subject, just like the U.S. government is singular. So, the sentence begins correctly – Law enforcement has reported.
The question is – what helping word is correct to use with the verb led after heavy rain with hail?
The answer is – has.
Heavy rain has led to…
But no one in the news office caught this error.
My objection to these errors may seem like much ado about nothing to many people. But, it IS a big thing. If so-called journalists can’t write the language correctly, how can we look to them for writing guidance? All of us make mistakes, but a news organization should provide good editing.
Plus, they perpetuate incorrect usage of the language when they display errors that people read and likely accept as correct.
Let’s stop this laziness. Check your work. Double check your work.
Strive for high performance in your writing.