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Sikh News When “tourist” Became “terrorist”! Chicago TV Station Rectifies Error, Apologizes To Sikhs

Discussion in 'Breaking News' started by Admin Singh, Jul 14, 2016.

  1. Admin Singh

    Admin Singh
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    Admin SPNer

    Jun 1, 2004
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    LAST Wednesday (July 6), Manpreet Bal was vacationing in Chicago with his family when they were filmed for a local television segment on ABC 7 News while at the Taste of Chicago.

    Bal said in his email: “When the segment aired later that evening, the closed caption that appeared with the story read “terrorist” instead of “tourist.” Although I didn’t see the story, thousands across Chicago did. Some of them even shared the clip on social media. I couldn’t bear the thought of telling my young children what happened because I didn’t want to ruin our vacation.”


    He added: “People were confused, upset and disturbed. That’s when the Sikh Coalition [organization] intervened. Within minutes, the Sikh Coalition was in high-level discussions with the directors at ABC 7 News, figuring out why this horrible mistake happened and how it could be fixed. The next day, ABC 7 News and the caption transcription firm apologized for their mistake, and vowed to work with the Sikh Coalition to air a positive story about the Sikh American community in Chicago in the coming weeks.”

    Bal praised the Sikh Coalition for their response and action in the matter. He noted that they “knew exactly who to contact at ABC 7 News because they had previously worked with the station and built a reputation of credibility and respect. The network knew that if they didn’t fix the problem, they would be held accountable.”

    Bal said: “My family and I are very grateful for this valuable work and the work that organizations like the Sikh Coalition do every day to positively educate Americans about the Sikh faith, community and culture. They analyzed the problem, fixed it and turned it into an opportunity for positive exposure about the Sikh community. They do this work not just in Chicago, but across the country.”

    Jennifer Graves, Vice President and News Director, WLS-TV (an ABC-owned station), in a letter to the Sikh Coalition said:

    “Thank you for talking with us regarding the closed captioning error in our 6pm news on Wednesday … We’ve worked closely with our closed caption provider to identify the cause of the mistake.

    “As we discussed, this was not an intentional mistake. It was a transcription [error]. Our captions are provided by the National Captioning Institute, based near Washington, DC. The captioning operators do not see a video feed of our newscasts.

    “Here’s how our captions are created: the captioning operator listens to an audio-only feed of our newscast. The operators then repeat what they hear into voice recognition software which translates that into the captions that appear at the bottom of our screen. In this case, the enunciation was not as clear as it needed to be, and the computer generated the wrong word. When the operator saw the error, she immediately corrected the captioning. That correction aired within seconds of the original mistake.

    “I am forwarding to you via email a written apology from NCI that further explains the incident. We join them in apologizing for the error and for any misunderstanding or discomfort it may have created.

    “Thank you again for working through this issue with us. We look forward to working together in the future to tell positive stories impacting Sikh Americans in the Chicagoland area.”
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