Former Merc radio columnist Brad Kava, who now covers that beat as an independent blogger, lamented about what he says is poor writing on weekend newscasts:

    Today at 11 a.m., an ABC news reporter on the national ABC news on KGO-AM (810) was talking about the case of a police officer who had apparently murdered his wife. She was found “drownded” the reporter said.

    DROWNDED???? OW. And it sounded like English was her first language.

Kava didn’t mention the ABC Radio News anchor by name. But that anchor, Pam Coulter (pictured), read his posting and offered this reponse:

    I was alerted to your blog because I was the anchor of the 2pm ET ABC newscast on Saturday. Here is the exact wording of the story mentioned in your critique:

    “A nationally known medical examiner has examined the body of the third wife of former Chicago police officer Drew Peterson and concluded she was MURDERED. Kathleen Savio’s death was originally ruled an accidental DROWNING. Her father Nick Savio said the new findings bring them some comfort…

    I listened to the air check of the newscast, and I said MURDERED, not DROWNDED. However, as I was reading, I did add a “d” sound to the word DROWNING, making it sound like DROWNDING. It was completely inadvertent, and things like that sometimes happen in live radio. It was more of a “slip of the lip” than a grammatical error. I would hate to think my English skills brought dishonor on the excellent public schools I attended or Cornell University.

Kava said he respected Coulter for responding and he admitted that he erred in saying “drownded” when she actually said “drownding.” He added: “Hey, this immediate Internet feedback is keeping us all honest.” (Photo credits: Kava column sig from the Mercury News; Coulter mug from this Web page titled “The faces behind the voices of ABC News Radio”, posted by an ABC Radio affiliate.

SF Press Club News


  1. I come away from this with a helluva lot of respect for both Pam Coulter, who gives a reasonable explanation for what she said, and Brad Kava, who is doing what a good media critic should do—hold journalists up to high standards. I don’t think most people understand the pressure these anchors of hourly network newscasts face. They’re breaking news faster than the cable channels. They’re often reading copy (written seconds earlier) cold. Pam’s a pro, which was demonstrated by her response.

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