Friday, August 26, 2005

Ask and ye shall receive

Readers have repeatedly complained (thanks, Nick) about spelling, grammar and bad writing on the BBC News Web site. The editor responded:
it is time to do something about all this. I've explained before that it is, in my opinion, impossible to eradicate all errors when you are publishing and republishing articles thousands of times a day. But your response shows we are falling short of the mark.

Reports that appear on the News site have already been second-checked by another journalist prior to publication, a process that ought to pick out the howlers.

From next month we will be establishing a small, additional subbing team to provide a further safety net. They will focus initially on the reports on our front pages and other main indices, polishing headlines, tightening the copy, cutting out unnecessary paragraphs, eradicating any lingering spelling mistakes, and feeding this back down the line to the writers.
This renews my faith in the utility of sending letters. Perhaps letter-writing campaigns could help copy desks replenish their numbers?


At 9:37 AM, September 01, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just returned from two years living in London, and my husband lives there still (until his work visa comes through). Though I adore the Beeb in general, I'm always ticked off to see naughty grammar errors. But the BBC is, indeed, responsive to letters--about everything from grammar to content to format. It has to be, as an institution dependent on public funds. There's a correspondence response session on telly every week. It's usually good fun to watch.

--Rory Parilac,


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