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Thursday, May 03, 2012

Responsibility of Words?

I really don't have time to write this blogpost, but I like words, I like our language, it's rich and varied and intense and full bodied...... I've just complained about something, and wonder if it's just me and I've over-reacted etc etc

Because my house, despite being on a main road, seems to be in a DrWho like vortex that doesn't exist for anyone except me and my neighbour (seriously don't ever send anything to me by courier...... even new post men take a while to get us sorted)..... anyway, because of that, I don't get the local freebie newspapers. So i subscribe to their twitter feed and read up quickly on any local news that I'm interested as it's published. The feed is quite good it seems to tweet the link to most major stories throughout the day.

This morning there was one that read "Motorcyclist dead after collision with lorry"   To the point I suppose, but I took objection to the headline in that I found it crass and harsh in terms of words.  I thought "Fatal Accident involving motorcyclist".... might have been gentler.?  I tweeted the paper and aired my views. I thought particularly as this accident had happened only this morning, (5:30am) the words were a little too "vulgar".  I assume next of kin have been informed by now, but death involves so many more people than that don't you think? Friends, work colleagues, drinking buddies, riding buddies.......

There is no name in the news article....... so, even more so, anyone who knows anyone who rides a motorbike along the road in question is going to be worrying and panicking.  Now I know that changing "Dead" to "Fatal" isn't going to change anything, it isn't going to bring anyone back, and it isn't going to help in any way shape or form...... but isn't there a certain responsibility to be gentle about these things? Isn't there a certain respect that's due to these kind of accidents and circumstances? Can the media not be a little bit kinder with their wording?

Or is it me? is it a case of the least number of characters to a headline, and getting the point across is the only important issue? Perhaps i have got middle-aged and grumpy, and i yearn for just a touch more delicacy in our vocabulary, and discretion in our choice of words?

They changed the headline after my mini complaint to "Motorcyclist Killed......" It doesn't seem a lot better to me, but at least they took the point on board i guess.

1 comment:

  1. I completely agree with you on this Claire and say "Good for you" for bringing it to their attention. I believe that the press do not stop to think of the impact their words have on the public, let alone anyone involved. When watching tv, but especially when 'listening' to it whilst crafting, I quite often despair at the (mis)construction of sentences, or the incorrect use of words which in fact make the sentence a non-sentence as such. I find myself verbally correcting tv presenters or commentators! It used to annoy my family, but increasingly over time they have come to do the same. In 50 years time who knows if the English language will exist in it's true form. I shall now step down from my soap box!
    Ellie Maggie x


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