Newscast emphasis

I’ve been noticing a trend in newscasts. The talking heads are emphasising certain words in their stories. ‘The fire started while the ship was offloading gasoline.’ ‘Now the automaker has developed a plug-in electric car.’ ‘Hezbollah launched rockets at targets in Isreal.’ ‘Breastfeeding can reduce the pain from that pinprick.’

It’s difficult to convey the sound in text on a message board. To me the way they use the emphasis gives the impression of an implied ‘can you imagine that?’ It’s as if they’re surprised at certain details of what they’re reporting. Has anyone else noticed this?

Aside to the weather-guesser: Please stop inserting ‘on’ into your statements. It sounds awkward when you say a storm system is ‘moving on off’.

It sounds ridiculous after a while, doesn’t it? They emphasize certain words so strongly that they sound like they’re amazed at every little thing.

The worst is a news anchor in Atlanta, Monica Kaufman. She emphasizes nearly every word she speaks. Now I know that sounds contradictory. How can you emphasize nearly every word? Beleive me, she can do it. She stresses the word so hard and makes her face look surprised, the same as if she were telling you that a 30 ft. octopus just ate the president.

She sounds something like this: Today, a gasoline * :eek: tanker overturned :eek: on Interstate 85 :eek: and caught fire :eek: , causing a six-mile backup* :eek: .

I’ve noticed another variation of this locally: Whoever writes the stories seems compelled to attach extra labels to the people involved in the stories, especially if there’s a crime involved.

For example, “… a 38-year-old, divorced, ex-plumber Joe Blow was arrested today for …”.

What the heck does his age, his marital status, or former occupation have to do with the story? It’s even more noticable when they emphasize one or more of the adjectives like described in the OP.

A slight hijack: What is the first and last thing every TV or radio news reporter tells you? If you can guess this, does it make you wonder about their priorities?

Ahh, the Chandler Bing effect continues.


“Film at 11?”

“I’m not wearing any pants?”

Their name and where they are?

This is Goofus McPeabrain, live at the scene. Blah, blah, blah, whatever.
Live at the scene, <dramatic pause for emphasis> Goofus McPeabrain.

Here in the Twin Cities, we used to have what my wife called “The Bug-Eyes News Report,” in which the man and woman (Robyne Robinson; don’t remember the guy’s name) would pause at the end of every sentence and, for dramatic emphases, bug their eyes out at the camera. I’m not kidding. :eek: :eek: They would do this in unison. :eek :eek: After a few weeks, they suddenly stopped doing it. I’m guessing they hired a media consultant to improve their look and were told to cut it out.

I don’t think it’s a speech pattern which is the fault of the newscaster: it seems to be written that way on the teleprompters, and they’re just reading it as its written.

My local news apparently uses the text shown on the teleprompter for their closed captioning. As you’re reading it, the words that are italicized are the words which the newscaster stresses. (I’ve also seen a news show which used ALL-CAPS where the newscaster was supposed to stress a word.)

I think the original intent must have been to avoid monotony in the tone of the newscaster, but it’s being vastly over-used.

We have a winner!

I found this so cute when I realized they were doing it. When tinfoil hat folks start warning about the broadcast new media’s agenda, I remember this and want to point out you’re giving them way too much credit. Yes, they have an agenda: to get themselves noticed and to get you to watch the commercial for natural male enhancements.

Last night rescuers found a couple of lost hikers. They used helicopters equipped with infrared cameras! Imagine that! Using infrared cameras to find people at night! And from a helicopter yet! A-mazing!

Slightly unrelated, in the UK the tabloids and some local newspapers seem to think the market value of the subject’s house is of interest to the reader.

It helps identify the person in question. There might be 10 people in town named Joe Blow, and you don’t want them to get pissed off because you’ve given people the impression they got arrested for something another guy with the same name did.

Newscasters should be writing their own copy, to match the way they speak naturally. Of course, this would require actual working intelligence, which, as we all know, most anchors don’t posess.

Ah, yes, good old AQI

There’s a scene in the movie Broadcast News where William Hurt is coaching Albert Brooks on how to read the news. He tells him to “punch” one word or thought in every sentence. I wonder if that bit of advice had some basis in whatever research was done for the movie. I think it’s just an asthetic thing. They think it makes the news sound more immediate and keeps the news reader from lapsing into a monotone.

What I hate is the patronizing tone a lot of them take, like they’re explaining something to a classroom of 2nd graders.

“Stay classy, San Diego.”