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Common Editing Mistakes Found in National
In an Indian national newspaper on any given day, the reader can encounter numerous editing errors. Misspellings, extra words, missing words, wrong words, inconsistent grammar and punctuation practices, unsupported facts, contradicting information, and missing information are the most common mistakes found in national English newspapers published in India today. For example, a recent Times of India article that appeared on December 12, 2010, had five mistakes in less than 50 words. The first mistake is a duplicate word: “...as they tried to tried enter MG Road.” Then there is a missing article: “...it was at (a) snail's pace”, and a misspelled word followed by a missing comma: “Additional(ly,) commissioner of police...” The next error is a missing verb: “...pillars had to (be) lifted...”
In both, the Deccan Herald and The Times of India, a multitude of punctuation inconsistencies also exist. Commas and other punctuations are placed both before and after quotation marks with little regard for the rules. Often, and even in the same sentence, they are not done consistently one way or the other.
Inconsistencies in information:
The information in many articles in these national newspapers can be confusing, lacking, and even unsubstantiated at times. In one paragraph of the aforementioned December 12th article, the reporter wrote that notice was given to all media houses about the closing of a main road in Bangalore. The very next paragraph says no prior information was given to the public. In another article in the same edition of The Times of India, the story is about school children rallying to save the tiger through a program organized by The Sanctuary Tiger Program and Save Our Tigers, called Kids for Tigers. The author describes what the kids have been doing to bring awareness to the issue of the disappearing tiger situation in India.
The lesser issue with this article is that it does not explain to us what the situation is and why organizations are campaigning to save the tiger. Indeed, the effort to save the Indian tiger may be a long-running effort and most Bangaloreans are possibly up-to-speed on this matter. The bigger problem with this article is that at the end of it we are told that, “...Manogna Murari, Shumal Prasad, and Kavya will be part of a telethon at Kabini Tiger Lodge.” When? Where? No further information was given. Some contact information like a phone number or a website would have been a nice end to the article. If it was going to be televised, some information on the channel on which the program was going to air would also have been helpful; or the day and time the telethon will be held. Many newspaper articles end in this manner without giving the reader any further details.
Not the complete picture?
Many articles tell a partial or one-sided story and then leave the reader high and dry with no further information or way to follow up. Another article in The Times of India (“Most Water Purifiers Don't Remove Viruses: Study,” September 1, 2010, Imesh Isalkar, TNN.) was published about the unreliability of water purifiers and their efficacy in removing viruses. The article was lacking information that was pertinent and could have given more depth to the story. Instead, it only pandered to the public's fear of the lack of healthy drinking water in India. Eight purifiers were tested and only two passed the United States Environmental Protection Agency's (US EPA's) standard of drinkable water. No information was released about which eight water purifiers were tested or why the testing took place. The article said that one company came forward and claimed their product was one of the two that had passed the US EPA's standards. But how would the reader know this was true or not? One was left with a feeling of dread that their water purifier may not be working properly; and worse, that they were possibly being kept from some very important information.
Readers of this article should have been given the names of the purifiers tested, which ones passed the standards, and why the research was being done. To further delve into the matter, other questions could have been addressed such as: Is there more behind the water purifier testing of which we should be aware? What is the true condition of the water we drink? What is the scope of the problems surrounding clean and drinkable water in India? What can be done with the information in this article? Nothing, except hope you have the right purifier.
Role of newspapers in society:
Isn't it the purpose of a newspaper to inform? A good news media source will give you unbiased facts and then leave it open for one's own conclusions. Articles should be factual and serve a purpose, even if that purpose is just to entertain. The articles in the Indian national newspapers are not just plagued with grammatical and spelling errors; many articles only partially highlight an event or situation, leaving out crucial pieces and facts which can bring clout and depth to a story which speaks to ideologically vested interests.
While English is a fairly common and widespread language spoken and written in India, it is not the native language of India; Hindi is. Having not read any newspapers in the local languages or in Hindi, I can only reflect on the English newspapers published in India. The importance of the proper use of English in these newspapers may not be as crucial to the Indian national newspaper industry but the lack of information or substantiated facts, however, is perhaps something the Indian newspapers could improve upon to become a more valued and trusted source of information.
Editor's note: Most articles submitted to Chillibreeze go through a selection process. Only 30 percent of submitted articles are accepted for publication on the Chillibreeze.com featured article list. All accepted articles are edited and proofread for glaring errors of punctuation and grammar. Sentence structure is changed in certain cases and sometimes, entire sections are rewritten. If you notice any errors that have slipped through the cracks, do let us know! (Email us at info at chillibreeze dot com).
Chillibreeze's disclaimer: This is a contributed article and was published on Chillibreeze in December, 2010. The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author(s) and do not reflect the views of Chillibreeze as a company. Chillibreeze has a strict anti-plagiarism policy. Please contact us to report any copyright issues related to this article. The relevance of the facts and figures cited (if any) could change after a period of time.
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