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,
media, and news but without the boring parts. I just checked out a story of theirs on protecting
planet Earth from Asteroids, and if you too occasionally have thoughts of existential
dread, you might enjoy it, as well. If you check out their channel, and like it,
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
who are listed on screen. Starting at just $1 a month, you can get behind
the scenes access to my channel. Check it out, if you care.

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. Man, you have no idea HOW LOOOONG I have been asking myself that question!!! Like, I wondered about it once again YESTERDAY. Now this makes sense. Thank you!!

  3. yay, missouri represent! i always heard news television reporters were often sourced from this general area due to our lack of regional inflection. good to know that wasn't just some BS, although i understand it's a skill that can be & is taught somewhat readily as well.

    yr videos i've seen thus far have covered unique topics & in a fun way. i'm enjoying it quite a bit. 🙂

  4. Hector is gonna be running 3 Honda Civic's with spoon engines. On top of that he just came into Harry's and ordered 3 t66 …

  5. There’s this Crime watch daily reporter who’s the absolute WORST when it comes to this fake voice. She lowers hers and sounds completely fake and stupid. Everyone including myself hates it

  6. this just in; talking like this makes people feel important.

    also for no reason; trisha taka… taka… takanawa?

  7. "all over the world" then shows a bunch of English speaking reporters. i bet you are american.

  8. This is the same for reporters in other non English speaking countries

  9. Is there a special reason for the pattern of getting higher and higher, then ending by suddenly going deep?

  10. I imagine you become a reporter to have an excuse to talk like that.

  11. can we talk about that old man at 2:39 who has been staring at the camera.

  12. They should teach ppl to speak in an Irish accent… Americans love the Irish

  13. The best/worst insult for anyone in the news would be "You've got a face for radio and a voice for silent films."

  14. Thank you! I was wondering why people on American TV speak like that. It makes sense to me now.

  15. Thank God America collectively decided that we enjoy being talked to in a condescending, unhappy-elementary-school-teacher's tone.

  16. Why do newscasters talk like that? You mean like actually educated people

  17. OMG Those head movements be killllllllllllin me so bad like If sit down with someone and there moving there head like that I am going to get my hands and clamp that damn head still

  18. I think the way reporters speak is very good for people who are trying to learn english

  19. This thing always seemed weird to me. No matter where you watch the anchors all use the same cadence. Two words at a time like they are reading a haiku or something.

  20. It's actually a super political — i.e. problematic — statement to say that the accent/register is "from anywhere" – there are regions of the US this type of language is modeled after (mostly Midwestern states) and it's because those (mostly white) types of speech are seen as "standard" or "neutral" that they are adopted.

    Sociolinguistics would generally suggest that rather than this language having "no distinct features", it has features which are socially required to be understood by the largest majority of the country; it's not that it's actually intermediate, but rather that people think of it as something intermediate. So intermediate that it doesn't exist, which is why it sounds robotic.

    Marginalised forms of English also have the same communicative competence as this form of language (though certainly enunciation being a central property helps), it's just that they would require the majority to learn to understand minority language — which won't happen, because that is a form of giving up social power and control.

  21. I always thought it was because they were reading the script as they talked but i guess i was wrong

  22. I remember that there’s like a list of words that reporters use but I forgot the name. Does anyone have the name.

  23. Oh…….and i thought they were speaking correct accentless rural Iowan English.

  24. 1:43. personally I am more likely to trust a news reporter that had a different accent (like a REAL human) than somebody who drawls to the tune of 'i work under an agenda'.

  25. I'm from Chicago, and the news reporters' accents sound completely normal to me.

  26. Reporters are trained to sound as boring and phony as possible.

  27. They have it in Britan too, it’s called RP and it’s terrible.

  28. That guy in the background looking at him strangely at 0:05 is wonderful.

  29. Who else noticed that he was using non regional dictation the whole time

  30. 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.

  31. Yeah…. but… they sound…. like Christopher…. fuckin walkins!

  32. 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

  33. 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!!

  34. 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.

  35. The title should be "Why do American reporters sounds like that?" This phenomenon is not universal.

  36. 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. >_>

  37. 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.

  38. 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.

  39. 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.

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

  41. There's something in your fridge that can kill you. We'll tell you what it is tonight at 11pm

  42. How to get a girlfriend:
    1} Build up some muscle and burn some fat (Look attractive yourself to attract attractive gals)
    2} Pack somethings you aren't going to ever need but maybe someone else would alongside a small paper with your phone number on it
    3} Find an attractive woman
    4} Ask her if she's single or not and tell her you need it for some study you're conducting
    5} Tell to hold those things you packed real quick and that you'll be right back
    6} Walk away and never be back
    7} Wait until she calls and make the conversation long so you befriend each other
    8} Come over to take your things back and ask her for her social media account because you had fun talking to her and would like to talk more
    9} Pull off a Mafia City move by going from her level 1 friendly guy to her level 100 hunky best friend
    10} Ask her out
    TALK HOWEVER YOU WANT BUT MAKE IT'S ABOUT THIS COMMENT

  43. Haha, you should have checked out some British newsreaders (same applies but, English….?)

  44. 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.

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