Thursday, October 13, 2016

Can you imagine a Reuters copy editor not knowing the difference between "it's" and "its"?

Last evening I spotted a typo in a caption for a picture accompanying a story on the Reuters website. So I scrolled down to the "Corrections" tab and wrote this message:

Rd Prabhu, Oct 12, 10:02 PM SGT:
The Amazon Echo, a voice-controlled virtual assistant, is seen at it's product launch for Britain and Germany in London, Britain, September 14, 2016. REUTER/Peter Hobson
That is the caption for a photograph accompanying a Reuters story about Amazon's new music service. "'s product launch"? That should be "...its product launch".

Shortly afterwards I received this automated response:

Ticket #78452: Mistake in caption


Thank you for contacting Reuters Online Support. Your request (#78452) has been received, and is being reviewed by our support staff.

To view responses to Frequently Asked Questions, visit our Knowledge Base.[link Knowledge Base to ]

We will get back to you as soon as possible.
Kind regards,

The Team
And when I took a look at the story again, the error had been corrected:

Is it any wonder that a Google search for "its vs it's" throws up more than 13 million results?


An e-mail interaction with author Mardy Grothe —  It all depends on the telling, sure. But surely who does the telling matters?

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Who are these people who get bombed while doing their work but keep going back?

And who are the people bringing us their stories?

Physicians working for Medecins Sans Frontieres (Doctors Without Borders) have saved countless lives in troubled and war-torn regions over the years.

Dr. Navpreet Sahsi, an emergency room physician from Toronto, on his daily rounds in an MSF camp in South Sudan. Dr. Nav, as he is known, features prominently in the podcast discussed below. Photo courtesy: NPR/David Gilkey

But what does it take to volunteer for a mission with one of the world's leading humanitarian organisations?

And how will we, siting in the comfort of our homes, know what it means to be an MSF doctor if we didn't have journalists who risk their lives too by travelling to these dangerous areas to report on the work being done there by these amazing, brave, big-hearted men and women?

If you want to know more, and I'm sure you do, click on this link: Embedded for Five Days and Five Nights with Doctors Without Borders.

When you get to the page, click on the "play" icon to listen to the podcast.

When listening to the podcast, pay attention to the journalistic values  how similar is this podcast to a news feature in a newspaper?

Also pay attention to the following:

1. Pronunciation
2. Voice modulation
3. Use of music
4. Use of silences

This is a great example of "radio journalism".

Also, it's a great example of a human interest story.

Who else but journalists can bring us such stories?

  • NPR is a wonderful source of some gripping podcasts, as is Longform. Here are some of my favourites:

Saturday, July 30, 2016

How marvellous it would be if you could edit your own writing...

...but there are not many people out there who are capable of doing so. Lisa Lepki of Ragan Communications understands that and she wants to help. So she has compiled a list of six common problems to fix "before your editor gets out the red pen":

1. Replace adverbs with strong verbs.

2. Fix repetitive use of initial pronouns.

3. Get rid of clich├ęs.

4. Declutter your writing by cutting redundancies.

5. Eliminate your passive voice.

6. Get rid of sticky sentences.

Lepki elaborates on each point and also provides easy-to-grasp examples. Check out her post here: 6 self-editing tips to strengthen your writing.

Afterwards, download this free white paper, "10 ways to improve your writing today".

"Whether you're composing a press release, a blog post, a script, or executive talking points, these techniques," Ragan claims, "will enhance your communication." Get the white paper here.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

"8 small things you do that people use to judge your personality"

Yes, you will be judged on whether you are punctual, whether you arrive in time for class, for a date, for a meeting. But did you know you will also be judged on how you treat waiters? And where you look when you drink out of a cup?

Business Insider India has helpfully made a list of eight small things we do that people use to judge us. Here's the list:

1. Your handshake
2. Whether you show up on time
3. How you treat restaurant staff
4. Where you look when you drink out of a cup
5. Whether you bite your nails
6. Your handwriting
7. How often you check your phone
8. Whether you make eye contact

You can read this topical feature in its entirety here.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Thursday, July 14, 2016

What is it that makes life endurable?

"...we all require devotion to something more than ourselves for our lives to be endurable. Without it, we have only our desires to guide us, and they are fleeting, capricious, and insatiable. They provide, ultimately, only torment."

~ Harvard philosopher Josiah Royce, quoted in a fascinating book I bought for myself recently, Atul Gawande's Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End

  • Want to know more about the book? Check out this review.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Why you shouldn't worry about what people think of you

There are many young people out there who are sure to benefit from reading this first-person piece:

"So much of life is dictated by what others will think of us. In fact, we spend more time wondering what people will think rather than trying to accomplish things that will get them thinking about us in the first place."

Click here.

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Playing the role of a television interviewer

Watch this clip from my days as the host of a TV show on TMG Enter, the technology channel launched by the company I joined back in 1999 in Bangalore.


Keep in mind that I have done a fair amount of research to be able to ask my guest relevant questions about a topic I am not an expert on. He is the expert. I am also listening to the answers so that I can ask follow-up questions.

Keep in mind, too, that this chat is meant for an audience comprising technology enthusiasts and people from the tech industry.

I hope watching this video will give Audiovisual Communication students some insight into how they can prepare for and produce their own chat programme for their TV news shows.

Friday, June 24, 2016


"You may say you’re not a writer. But if you have a job that requires communicating with others, you are. If you keep a to-do list, that’s writing. If you draft a project plan, report, or meeting agenda, that’s writing. And, if you’re like most writers, you want to be more skilled at using your words."
~ From a promo for Evernote