Welcome to the eighth episode of The Logophile’s Lounge (#TLL)…a one-stop-source for every information on content-writing.
We have moved eight steps forward in our quest to shine a light on every nook and cranny of the content domain and dispel its prevalent myths.
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So…without further adieu, let’s get started with our topic,
Why Reading Newspapers Won’t Improve Your English?
Sounds controversial right?
But, unfortunately, as you will see in the video below, newspapers can no longer be counted as the best example of impeccable English and grammar.
As long as I can remember, I have heard from my parents, my English teachers and other language pundits,
“Start reading newspapers if you wish to improve your English.”
Such suggestions abound even on the net if you search for ways to improve English.
And with no interest in politics or current affairs, improving English was all that inspired me to peruse through a newspaper.
But, as my English skills improved and I became more pedantic about grammar and typos, this lifelong teaching about newspapers started seeming like a myth.
Especially with the amount of information posted on the net and the fierce competition between publishers, it seemed logical to doubt if they could maintain the content quality.
For instance, if you search “News And Media sites in India”, on the net, one of the first links you get offers information on the top 100 Indian News websites on the web.
That’s just top 100.
Imagine how many would there be in total!
So, it does compel one to think, can publishers maintain the language standards in their mad rush to outcompete others as the first to publish breaking news.
An Analysis of Economic Times
For this video, we have selected Economic Times to analyze the content published on their site.
To clarify, what has already been mentioned in the video.
“ECT has no grudge or personal bias against Economic Times. This particular publication serves the only purpose of showing how mainstream media can too make grammar blunders in its content.”
In the first ET article described in the video, you can see the various marked by Grammarly.
In the paragraph starting with “on whether…”, the writer has forgotten adding a comma after theoretically.
Similarly, the phrase marked in red is “on part of”, whose correct version is “ on the part of”.
Coming to the second ET article, there are big blunders like using “in” instead of “on” before a date. There are even typos in this article.
I won’t be mentioning them but they are clearly marked in red by Grammarly.
So, if you are someone with attention to detail, it should be easy for you to locate them. Comment below in case others missed it.
So, as you can understand from the video, people hoping to enhance their English through newspapers might be for a rude awakening.
Not All Hope is Lost
Now before you dump all your newspapers in the dustbin or block the online channels, keep certain things in mind.
The publishing industry hasn’t become completely hopeless.
The print media has still retained some of its English quality. Even if the authenticity of the newspapers is being questioned in recent times, the content quality hasn’t deteriorated yet.
For the morning and afternoon dailies, the content (except for the front and metro page), is written, proofread and revised hours before sending for printing.
On the contrary, on online media, the initial information about breaking stories is published within 30 mins of its occurrence. That hardly leaves any time for proofreading, much less for revision.
Secondly, at the danger of hurting nationalistic sentiments, top foreign publications have maintained their online content quality as compared to their Indian counterparts. For those genuinely interested in improving their English, publications like the Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, HBR, etc can serve as a good read.
Therefore, it’s up to you to discern which newspaper offers authentic, well-written content and learn from it.
Though we have covered just one publication, there may be many more with Ensligh blunders.
Share those in the comments below and let us know which newspaper you follow.