Weeble (clockworksaint) wrote,

BBC News Website

Today I did an informal experiment. I went to the BBC News website (the UK edition), and I downloaded the headline article in each of the 13 main sections. "UK" and "Scotland" had the same article, so I had 12 articles. I then read through these articles looking for basic grammar, punctuation and spelling errors. These were my results, any emphasis was added by me to highlight errors:

  • World - Taiwan blasts China 'provocation'
    'The US is a Taiwan's closest ally and is worried about being sucked in to any conflict between the island and China.'
    'The 10-article law calls for the use of "non-peaceful means and other necessary measures to protect China's sovereignty and territorial integrity," if all other efforts failed.'
  • UK - Army mauled in MPs Deepcut report
    'Father Jim Collinson - whose lost his 17-year-old son James - said had they known what the training regime was like they would not have let their son join up at such a young age.'
    'Defence chiefs last week insisted training and standards of care for new recruits was improving.'
  • England - Salt poison couple's letter plea

    No obvious errors.

  • Northern Ireland - Kennedy cancels Gerry Adams talks

    No obvious errors.

  • Wales - Redundancy fears over disability

    No obvious errors.

  • Business - New Disney boss as Eisner ousted
    'Sales stagnated between 2000 to 2002, but have since picked up again.'

    This one's pretty minor.

  • Politics - Boateng to step down at election

    No obvious errors.

  • Health - Target 'putting A&E care at risk'

    No obvious errors.

  • Education - Fewer schools on 'failing' list
    'Shadow education secretary Tim Collins said: ¿This changes very little.'
    'Again, primaries accounted for most of this - with16 removed. Two fewer secondaries were on the list, while two special needs schools and one pupil referral joined it.
  • Science/Nature - Europe tells US: 'Come to Europa'

    No obvious errors.

  • Technology - TV's future down the phone line
    'It intends its Microsoft's IPTV Edition software, an end-to-end management and delivery platform, to let telcos to do exactly that, seamlessly.'
  • Entertainment - Little Britain leads Bafta list
    'A number of drama shows have scored two nominations both drama and acting categories, including Channel 4's Shameless and Dirty Filthy Love.'

    Am I being dense here? I can't figure out what this one is supposed to mean.

So there you have it. 50% of their headline articles contained basic errors that should have been picked up by an editor or proof-reader. Their writers also seem intent on starting sentences with "But" at every opportunity. To be honest, I was expecting a lot worse. Still, I don't think you'd get away with that in a print publication. Am I being unreasonable here? Should I instead be commending the BBC for not writing in txt spk? What standards can we now expect from web-based publications?

Tags: english
  • Post a new comment


    Anonymous comments are disabled in this journal

    default userpic

    Your reply will be screened