Why Do Reporters Talk Like That?

It’s a truth… universally acknowledged:
reporters, from ALL over the world… talking in a weird, over accentuated voice, like this. [Montage of anchors and reporters using non-regional
diction.] Okay, okay, okay, we get the idea. If you watch TV news, you’ll know that anchors,
reporters, meteorologists, correspondents, almost EVERYBODY who holds the microphone
talks in this weird, sing-songy voice full of over-exaggerated inflections and an accent
that sounds like it comes from nowhere. What is “Newscaster’s Voice”, and why is
it clogging up our airwaves? It turns out Newscaster’s Voice is actually
something TAUGHT in journalism and broadcasting schools called “Non-Regional Diction”, or
the General American accent. It’s a way of pronouncing words that lacks
any distinct regional or ethnic characteristics. In other words, as Linda Ellerbee, a television
broadcast journalist, once famously said, “In television, you’re not supposed to sound
like you’re from anywhere.” Yours truly worked a few years at a couple
local news affiliates in Springfield, MO – and during MY time as a photojournalist, I met
a LOT of reporters who, off-camera, sounded completely different than they did when the
red light was on. But, that’s the name of the game! Being a reporter means moving around a lot,
often hopping from station to station, and region to region, as work becomes available
– getting a long-term contract is pretty rare these days. And folks who watch local news generally are
less trusting of reporters if their accent doesn’t match that of the town. SO, it’ll be hard to get hired as a reporter
in, say, Dothan, Alabama, if you sound like you’re from Boston. The solution, then, is a general dialect,
free of anything unique to a particular geographical area. Non-Regional Diction is meant to be clear,
and easily understandable no matter who is watching. Afterall, as a reporter, your number 1 job
is to convey information. So, on camera, reporters speak slowly and
clearly, using a tone and cadence that can be understood plainly by all Americans, regardless
of what part of the country they hail from. When done right, it should be unnoticable…
something that even the most astute YouTube commenter can’t detect. *cough* When done poorly, placing an over-the-top
inflection in the same place every time, Non-Regional Diction can actually become irritating, and
risk losing the audience. So, the next time you sit down to watch the
evening news and the reporter or correspondent sounds like a robot pretending to be a human…
remember – behind the awkward articulation… is a human being, who, like you, is desperate
to be understood. I’m Austin McConnell, KYX7-123LMNOP News. Hey, on the subject of newscasts: This video is brought to you by Cheddar, who
recently launched their YouTube Channel and are making videos that cover business, technology,
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consider subscribing and watching more of their videos – they cover some of the top
stories and ideas going on today. And also, thanks to my Patreon supporters
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100 thoughts on “Why Do Reporters Talk Like That?

  1. Consider clicking the bell, or buying this dumb T-Shirt I made: https://teespring.com/austinmcconnell

  2. You're were a photojournalist too?

    How many jobs did you have so far? I counted some videos and it's at least over 5.

  3. This was a lot less complicated and a lot more sensical than I was expecting, but at the same time it was the exact opposite

  4. Us News: Okay, Trump is being impeached today……..
    North Korean News: (over acting and intensifies while talking) 트럼프는 골판지에서 서쪽으로 어리석은 방사성 핵폭탄을 만들고있다. 우리에게는 강력한 핵폭탄과 위대한 수령 김정일 (Kim-Jong Un)이 있습니다. 모든 우박의 위대한 지도자 !! 축하의 동무들!!

  5. I don't think it has anything to do with accents. In my home country they speak like that even though my native language doesn't have many regional accents.

  6. I live in Washington State, and we tend to speak in 'unaccented' English for the most part. I can't readily think of any exceptions.
    Except for me, apparently. Everyone keeps asking me what part of Britain I'm from, but that might because I speak like a walking thesaurus rather than anything related to accent or inflection. …I sure as shit don't sound British. >_>

  7. There is an important aspect of "sing song" that was not covered here and that is gravitas. If you always drop the pitch of your voice during the last syllable of each sentence, you can "hear the period"… or hear the gravitas or authority in the sentence. Essentially, broadcasters who really pitch their voice down at the end of sentences seek to exude more authority and believability. It still works. Especially with older viewers like the over-70 crowd over at FNC. These inflections are not funny or robot to most casual viewers. Viewers are successfully manipulated by these inflections. Food for thought, podcasters. …and that's the news.

  8. The is the same reason why people talking in 1950s films sounded like that. That's not what most people talked like. Only the guy in whatever film he's narrating talks like that.

  9. I to have noticed the 'non-regional diction" but never wondered why.
    My question about news personalities would be about the closing catch phrase.
    My local news station had a reporter who would close with the station call out "Q13 Fox News" with a weird delay in the saying.
    Q13……………FOX News
    2 second delay at least.
    Which seemed to get longer as the years went by.
    There must have been complaints, he doesn't have the delay anymore.

  10. I think reporters need to be fact checked. They get paid more than the average citizen amd should be held to a high standard.

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  12. Nothing weird about the way they talk. It is direct and informative. Over inflictive? Perhaps. But it's to keep the listener from getting bored and falling asleep as I did with this video. You were very hard to listen to in that monotone voice. But the way they are speaking is NOT sing song.

  13. Thank god this video is fully captioned, otherwise, if I were deaf, I wouldn't be able to relate to the subject matter at all.

  14. This makes a lot of sense, but I think it goes beyond that. Our reporters in New Zealand (with no majorly discernible regional dialects) also speak like that (just without the US accents). That peculiar over-articulation of words and use of weird pauses extends beyond US tv. Very interesting!

  15. We got the same thing in Sweden, called ”rikssvenska”, and back in the 70:s it was so important that there is this story about a guy who got fired because of hus distinct dialect.

  16. It's even worse in England, we have a phenomenon known as the "BBC accent", where originally everyone sounded like the Queen even if they were a working-class presenter, but nowadays try and sound "down-to-earth", and overly familiar with the viewers.

  17. News people always go up and down in tone. Upwards-upwards a little more- then downwards and really downwards to end it.


    The other style is kind of bitchy if they are opinion people.

  18. Agreed, a non-regional dialect was encouraged when getting my journalism degree, but a sing song voice certainly was not. Speaking clearly? Sure. I think many reporters and anchors simply mimic who they hear on TV and unfortunately those people are often not the best. The best reporters and anchors are simply themselves and speak in a conversational way. Because TV seems to suck a little life out of you, watching and performing, reporters and anchors need to give it a little more energy than a normal conversation. That's where people blow it and often go over the top and sound like robots. Well done video!

  19. Is not only about "territorial standards" it is also a psychological trend to belong/identity thing. Mass stupidity (meaning: the fear of being oneself) is also an ingredient. All groups (social, professionals, even familiar) tend to build slang (even "pronunciation-slang") "to belong".

  20. The whole thing about reporters sounding completely different off camera is shown extremely well in the “i so pale” clip

  21. My understanding is that the cadence and inflection reporters use also help the reporters from sounding like they are reacting to the news they are reporting. It also makes it easier to read a teleprompter without knowing what it’s going to say – because the inflection is always the same.

  22. i hate watching the news because of how these jackasses talk. i also have always hated sports. i figured out why. its because i also hate sports commentary. i figured this out because, with the rising popularity of e-sports, there is now e-sports commentary. there is e-sports commentary just like there is commentary on the super bowl. i hate newscasters. i hate sports commentary. i cant even watch e-sports anymore because i hate the goddamned commentary.

  23. Interesting… id love to find out why sports announcers talk funny. Mainly you hear it alot in modern nascar announcing

  24. Funny, i was just hate watching the cringiest reporter for a min on CNN and she took this robotics to the next level! Was wondering why they do this. Can't STAND it!

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