Date: Sun, 18 Feb 1996 02:04:38 -0500
From: Bob Haas rahaas[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]HAMLET.UNCG.EDU
Subject: Re: silly rules of grammar
Seth, back when I was in journalism school (it's been awhile now), such
broadcast headlines were called teasers. The practice of composing them
in present tense was never directly addressed, but we were all assured
(by very competent faculty) that present tense was the way to go. The
practice seems to be the same all over the country, particularly at
local stations. I imagine that news editors still prefer it because it
gives an air of immediacy to the headlines and keeps viewers peeled for
details; you see a lot of it in newsbreaks and over programming credits
before newscasts. While I personally find it a little goofy, I've no
problem with understanding what the talking heads are communicating.
Another case of tv-speak.
University of North Carolina at Greensboro
rahaas[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]hamlet.uncg.edu
On Sat, 17 Feb 1996, SETH SKLAREY wrote:
I have a British friend who gets especially upset watching American newscasts.
The tendency is for newscasters to speak in the present tense for past events.
"Gunman gets shot as police open fire. Film at 11." (It happened yesterday.)
How common is this around the country, and why is it so prevalent on the news?