As a PR major writing is something I consider important but sometimes other people don’t see things the way I do. Recently, a situation at my internship stunned me and highlighted this fact, thus provoking this rant. Enjoy!
I sat at my desk and as I logged onto my computer I overheard one of the staff members consulting her colleague…
“How do you spell ‘quiz’? It’s with two ‘Z’s right?”
Say it isn’t so.
As I heard her inquiry deep inside I was weeping. I knew that the apocalypse was upon us and I couldn’t wait for it. Kill me now. To top it off, this particular staff member had previously been assigned the duty of composing flyers to be posted in public and she didn’t know how to spell “quiz”.
I’m certainly not going to claim that I’m the best speller or the queen of grammar but it’s not difficult to proofread and spell-check. I had edited some of the flyers which were filled with misspellings, improper grammar and were just sloppily put together. They were simply copy and paste jobs that hadn’t been read over to make sure they made sense. This was terrible. My fellow intern and I knew that this was a problem and that with care it would be easily fixed.
So, my intern colleague and I constructed a SWOT analysis for our supervisor to review. When we met with him and expressed “spelling, grammar and brand consistency” as a Weakness he blew it off.
Supervisor – “This isn’t really a Weakness is it? It’s not that big of a deal. You can remove this from the chart.”
What? Did he just knock my SWOT? Goodness gracious.
I cannot disagree more with the opinion of my supervisor. Public information needs to make sense. They need to have a consistent look and style so the reader can understand… otherwise, what’s the point? Especially since the internship I’m doing happens to be for a CITY. A government isn’t too concerned about the quality of their public information? This was the exact opposite of George Orwell’s book 1984 where ALL information was controlled meticulously.
Any rational human being can understand that image is everything, why wouldn’t spelling and grammar be a part of one’s image? If your flyers and banners are the first thing that the public is exposed to, the introduction, wouldn’t it be important to spell things right and make sense? If it doesn’t you look like you don’t care and even worse, you look just plain dumb.
Several news reports have illustrated the lack of care that is put into the construction of signs and other forms of public information. A highway sign in Wisconsin last year caused the Department of Transportation to catch flack because the sign they posted had every word misspelled but the word, “exit.” The crusade against carelessly misspelled signs has sparked courageous individuals to scour the land in search of these poor, innocent signs to bring light to their injustices and correct them once and for all. Is that not enough to show the importance of clear communications? Let’s hope so.