News agencies and businesses are using computers to edit their copy.
Here are some of results from the last decade or so.
A bit more than ten years ago, the Fresno California Bee, part of a respected media group, installed a new production/editing computer which even included features for automatically editing “political correctness” into print.
A correction which ran a few days after an article’s publication read something like this: “The recent article should have read, ‘The new tax will put Fresno in the black,’ not ‘in the African American.’
Next piece of brilliant computer editing:
A British company produces software packages for the creation and transmission of subtitles, which is used by TV stations to subtitle their programming output.
One part of the software is used for live subtitling of news breaks, which in itself takes some fairly skilled operators. To assist them in their endeavours, our software offers a ‘feature’ called short forms. Basically, this allows the operator to define abbreviations for words which, when followed by a space, will expand automatically into a longer word. This helps with speed typing of what the news reader is saying, for example TU might expand into Tuesday.
Well, one evening on the news Tuberculosis was top of the running order as it is on the increase in the UK and it is believed to be spread, in part, by Badgers.
The news reader said “The government is considering a cull of Badgers to prevent the spread of TB.”
However, unknown to the poor hapless subtitler, somebody had entered a short form for TB. As a result, the subtitle went on transmission as “The government is considering a cull of Badgers to prevent the spread of Tony Blair”.
[Note: At the time, Tony Blair was Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.]
If you want to really mess it up, leave it to a computer…
Resume normal programming. Reboot your sense of humour.
Courtesy of Ian C. Purdie
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