Monday, April 28, 2014

Literacy in Media is Waning

Shouldn't that be honing?
It used to be that television news media was held to a high standard when it came to writing and literacy. At least that's what the perception has been.

Now it's difficult to tune into a station, any station, and not see a glaring error in its graphics.

Shouldn't that be drugs?
Of course, when you see some of the mistakes, one could almost have fun making up a new story using the graphic as is. For example, if Lance Armstrong was caught using rugs, that might explain his having children from different mothers. 

Maybe Nelson Mandela really died in 2012 and a corrupt conspiracy-laden government lied about it to garner ongoing vigils so they could sell bottled water.

That may be true, but when was the president going to tell us about his name change?

The graphic that keeps on giving. One never tires of these flag -- well let's face it, these are more than just errors, these are the result of hiring someone who can't even use a computer well enough to Google.

Seriously. What type of person do media companies hire for their graphics department?

Any writer worth their salt will tell you puns are bad unless you're playing with your three year old.

Sadly, this graphic only proves that there is no one at the helm to edit before or during a broadcast.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Cyberbullying Isn't Just A Schoolyard Problem

Businesses and adults across the globe are also targets of those (whether they have been wronged or not) whose sole purpose for being is to ruin someone's reputation.

We see it every day -- in YouTube and article comments -- terrible untruths, language, and outright bullying behavior. While it may seem to be a societal epidemic (although there can be some aspect of mob mentality) I refuse to believe this is the norm rather than the exception. Just look in your Google Plus, Facebook, and other network feeds as an example. Although if you have these trolls commenting, maybe you need to pick better circles.

As the economy tanked in 2009, a lot of people (and you don't have to look far down a West Phoenix, Arizona street or one in Anytown, the World to see its result) were faced with financial hardship. Some had lost their jobs. If they were entrepreneurs, they had to reinvent their jobs -- if they even had a client base left who wanted their services. At the same time, a new economy -- a digital economy started to entrench on traditional industries.

Needless to say, a lot of people thus ended up owing a lot of money. 

Sometimes, a person might see a glimmer of hope in their situation, and truly believe they will be able to make amends -- pay back everything they owe. They don't file for bankruptcy because that also requires money they don't have, so the collection calls continue and then the judgments appear.

Some creditors are sensitive to the fact that they, too, are on some shaky ground, so their persistence, even through a collection agency, is not as hard-nosed as others. But then you'll get the odd one who decides to make it so that you WON'T be able to repay your debt or maybe any one else's. They physically and mentally take the time and effort to create a web page for the sole purpose of destroying your business. But guess what? It is ILLEGAL. Check into US or Canadian collection and cyberbullying/cyberlibel laws and you will see that a conviction of such an action can mean up to five years in jail!

Cybercrimes are new to our police forces -- some don't even know what it is yet. So only a few departments have the manpower and knowledge in pursuing such a case. Still, getting a police report case file will help you should you choose to file a libel suit down the road. Then you document everything with screenshot.

You'll have a lot of people who believe the post -- even those who know you -- and will judge you for it. But a lot of people, especially the ones who see the rest of your online activity, and the fact that this bully stands alone, will support you and still offer you referrals.

Cyberbullying doesn't just affect school kids and celebrities anymore. It seeks out your neighbor.  

Please feel free to connect with me should you be experiencing this and need a cyberbullying management plan. You are not alone.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Literacy Counts, Especially in Media

My broadcasting instructor Mel Stevenson used to tell us, if you have a university degree and can't spell, you can work for (a Canadian television company). It seemed rather mean at the time, but today, it almost seems like reality.
I don't think a day has gone by where I didn't see a glaring typo on the headlines or subtitles when I turned on one particular news station. Now to this one station's credit, it isn't the only one with illiterate graphic writers.

Then there are the flag mix-ups. Surely someone in a media outlet has a computer with Google where they can actually check the flag of a country -- especially their own.

These are hilarious, but super sad at the same time. If the media can't employ people who can spell and who know geography, what does that say for our businesses?