Dear MxM by Jaisurya Das: So many typos in newspapers, so why don’t they hire proofreaders?

27 Jul,2017

By Jaisurya Das

 

I spoke to 27 people today to check on how many of them watched the news channels regularly, only to be told by 24, that TV news did not form part of their media consumption on any given day…

Ladies and Gentleman, welcome back to Dear MxM! I had this faint hunch that the TV news breed of viewers began and ended with my generation. But somebody is still watching all these channels, or so says BARC, and the channels who are screaming numbers most often.

I seriously wonder who this audience is, considering that it’s definitely not the youth of today who I thought were an important segment to be focusing on. Flirtatious buyers and consumers they are and thus far more relevant to most of the advertisers on these channels, yet they remain far removed from all this and quite happy living with their laptops and smartphones.

Digital is certainly gaining and with more programming now getting focused on this medium, this will be a space to watch as we go along. I wouldn’t be surprised if the TV channels fade into oblivion as time goes by.

No, am not playing ‘prophet of doom ‘and just addressing a worry that I have as an avid mediawatcher Print is already at the risk of going the dinosaur path and now TV News channels could also be a distinct possibility.

I am almost certain that my friends in this industry hate me for all that I keep saying, but that is entirely their problem.

I just believe that we need to get far more relevant for the audience of today and that breed is certainly not you and me, who remain happy cribbing and yet tuning into TV news.

Maybe we need to conduct a humungous study across the youth in our country to study their expectations of television and more specifically news.

Is there just too much of news that has no relevance to their lives ( this is where I see the problem) or is it just not exciting enough to bother about it.

Either way, broadcasters may need to seriously start thinking. There isn’t much time to waste on meaningless ranting and gloating supremacy!

 

On this note, I take you straight to this week’s complement of questions from our readers in Mumbai, Pune and Hyderabad. Thank you for writing in!

 

 

I have been reading with interest your weekly Q&A for the last year. I have just joined a course in media and communication from an institute in Pune. I need to take a decision on selecting my specialisation between Advertising, Public Relations and Media Planning. My core interest is in business development and client servicing and each of these areas interest me. If the scope for growth is the factor, what according to you is the best option for me?

Thanks my friend. Do keep reading us!

Good to hear, welcome to the fraternity. Honestly all these sectors have a fair amount of business development and client management and hence the field is open.

However, it may be a good idea for you to focus on advertising as your career and take up a client servicing opportunity. This will offer you a decent blend of business development and account management and will thus keep you enthused.

Client servicing can also in future open opportunities in media sales and brand management hence in my opinion would be a good place to kick off your career.

 

Thank you for answering my questions last month. Sir, I have been reading about how Artificial Intelligence is gaining ground in marketing. How can I learn more about it?

My pleasure! Yes, there are areas in brand building where AI tools and technology is being put to use, though as of now in a very nascent form.

As of now in India, the only specialised comprehensive courses on AI are at the IIT’s in Mumbai, Kharagpur, Hyderabad and Chennai as far as I know. The Indian Institute of Science in Bengaluru also has a good course, I am told.

I am not sure that they really cover the marketing interface and it’s application in brand building and management, but you could check with these centres and take a closer look at the curriculum.

Besides these, there exists the vast information that is available online including several research papers that have been published.

I think it would take a while for India to catch up with the latest in this segment but, yes, it is a fascinating area and can open infinite possibilities for brand builders. The generations of the future are bound to see this become integral to their lifestyle and brand messages will become far more exciting and involving with the use of artificial intelligence.

Companies like Google have already made rapid strides in this area and devices to power this will increasingly get more affordable too.

 

I find many typographical mistakes in newspapers so I thought there will be a vacancy for a proofreader or a similar job with newspapers. But I was told that the proofreader’s position has been eliminated by most newspapers. Wonder why? Because mistakes continue to be seen. I was told that I should try my hand at being a copy editor. Which is a waste, because I know I am better at picking typos. What is your view?

My view is don’t even bother becoming a proofreader since it is not going to get you anywhere. Those days are long gone and both mistakes and technology co-exist now. The mistakes are enormous and I completely agree with you on this observation.

I have often asked my friends in the newspaper industry as to why these aren’t prevented like the old times but have never been given a satisfactory answer!

I think it is both a combination of us relying on technology-powered spellchecks to take care of all this, combined with the lethargy and indifference of page-subs to look at these things with an eagle eye.

But I do agree that it may be a good idea to consider copy-editing which will give you ample opportunity to do all this and also dabble in some writing depending on the print brand you work on. And, yes, we can certainly do with some copy editors who are seriously good at spotting all the typos that creep in almost every day in the leading newspapers of our country !

 

But for now enough copy from me.. It is time for me to get back to my knitting and you, yours! Have a splendid rest of the week and a jolly good weekend. Take care of yourselves till we meet again. Sayonara and God bless !

 

Jaisurya Das, maverick and media evangelist eats, sleeps and makes love to brands. His consulting interventions are aimed at making brands powerful and sustainable. He is also the Contributing Editor of MxM India and Co-Founder of pune365.com. For more on his work, visit www.xanadu.co.in. The views expressed in this column are his own.

 

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