What I look for in a writer: Karen Carlson blog

Over the years, I’ve been referred to as the “Grammar Police,” or the “Grumpy Grammar Girl,” but that’s just fine by me.

As journalists, 90% of our job is writing.  It solidifies the facts and sets the tone of the story.  It provides credibility that we know what we’re talking about and that we have enough authority and understanding of the English language to command the respect of those we wish to win over as viewers.

That means we should know the difference between “it’s” and “its”… “you’re” and “your” and “there, their and they’re.”

I’ve worked with a lot of young producers over the years, and I’ve always made sure they get that stuff right.  As far as I’m concerned, that’s the most simple and fundamentally basic element of our jobs.  If we can’t spell, we should be reality TV stars, not television news producers and anchors.

The part that really gets me is – even if our parents or teachers growing up didn’t put an emphasis on spelling or grammar, software we use every single day tells us what we’re writing is not correct.  It’s called Microsoft Word.  And it has a little something called “spell check.”