The cornerstone of good journalism is accuracy – getting facts right and correctly spelling and pronouncing the names of sources. Cronkite News has taken this even further by recognizing the importance of getting the names of the storytellers right, too.
Cronkite News, a professional program that allows students to report and produce stories pertaining to Arizona on digital, broadcast and social media platforms, recently launched an auditory and phonetic visual pronunciation feature on its website.
Visitors can see and hear how to pronounce the names of the student journalists in the student bio section.
Cronkite News launched the tool this summer after testing it during the spring semester. As part of Cronkite News’ commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion, this feature celebrates the student journalists’ identities.
Some students have fairly common names and elected not to have the auditory pronunciation aid, but others were quick to take advantage of the tool.
“A student in our digital production team made a pitch that we should add name pronunciations to the website. We immediately jumped on the idea,” said Christina Leonard, executive editor. “It speaks to our commitment to diversity. Our names have a lot of meaning; they can speak strongly to our culture and our identity. Everyone deserves to have their name pronounced correctly.”
Graduate student Taiwo Adeshigbin said she would benefit from the pronunciation tool. Adeshigbin is from Nigeria, and said growing up, people would frequently butcher her name. Adeshigbin’s name has a special meaning in the Nigerian Yoruba tribe.
“My name is who I am and my identity,” Adeshigbin said. “Today, when someone takes the time to get my name right or ask about the pronunciation, it makes me happy. For me, pronouncing a name correctly is a sign of respect and a way to learn about a person’s background.”
The pronunciation tool is an important one, and one that should inspire people to strive to correctly pronounce people’s names in all walks of life. Cronkite News is a platform for innovation and experimentation, and is open to similar ideas regarding the improvement of all things journalism.