If you work in a community that you love, and are proud to serve the area, do your station a favor, write a list of pronouncers for the region you cover to hand to every new employee that walks in the door.

Many journalists come in to a new community and are cavalier about making sure they can pronounce the names of communities and public figures.  I have even heard some say “well I won’t be here that long.”  If you want to be taken seriously as a journalist, you have to speak the language of your community.  Mispronunciations should be taken as seriously as any other fact error.  Do not assume viewers will say, “he didn’t mean it, he just moved here.”

I don’t care where you are working, most of the people living there and watching the news are glad they live in that community.  They want you to respect them and where they live.  If you are a journalist lucky enough to live in the town you love, take the time to write this list down.  Hand it out to the new members of your team.  Maybe it will save embarrassment and keep them from making foolish mistakes.

If you are moving to a new area, take the veteran journalist in the newsroom out for a meal or drink.  Tell him/her you want to fully invest in the place where you have chosen to live and work, and you would love all the information on the area that he/she is willing to share.  You will earn respect in the newsroom and the community, for the intense desire to get it right the first time.

 

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