Hopefully, over the past few days you have witnessed the major turnaround in the number of national media anchors and pundits who now correctly pronounce our state of Nevada. It was no accident. I am sure that Jon Ralston and Carolyn Goodman should get some credit but I truly believe it was my week long guerrilla Twitter "media shaming" campaign that was largely responsible.
The Eastern and Southern mispronunciation of Nevada has been my number one pet peeve for a decade. In the 2008 election cycle, I was busy compiling the Eastern media anchors who mispronounced Nevada and disseminating to various message boards. In fact, look closely at this YouTube clip's 1:40-1:47 time frame. You will catch a glimpse of my list, part of the 2008 NBC News story Nevada - Pronounce It Right
. Over the years I also monitored various web sites, blogs and news items related to pronouncing Nevada (adding more than my two cents worth).
One of the phony arguments that some Easterners would sometimes give is that Nevada is a Spanish word
and that is how we SHOULD pronounce our state. There are a few problems with this. First, the East Coast mispronunciation of Nevada is also bad Spanish. Second, ALL American states of Spanish origin are anglicized when speaking English: Florida, Texas, California, Colorado, Montana, New Mexico and Nevada. Third, arrogant outsiders don't get to set the pronunciation of a state, residents do and they did so more than 150 years ago.
In the 2012 election cycle, I badgered a few Eastern media folks on Facebook and Twitter. There was some improvement but not much. I then decided that I had to broaden it to be a Western States
issue by including the frequently mangled mispronunciation of Oregon where there is no phony Spanish word excuse
for a simple lack of regional education.
In 2015 I created two new web pages with audio Western States for Dummies
and American States - English vs Spanish
and spread them around a bit via Twitter and Reddit.
As the 2016 Nevada caucuses approached, since I am a retired news junkie
anyway, I decided to spend a lot of time monitoring both TV news and Twitter keyword searches to start a guerrilla Twitter "Eastern Media Education"
When I noticed TV mispronunciation of Nevada, I found the offending media person's Twitter handle and sent a tweet to them and their respective news organization's Public Relations department. It included a link to my Western States for Dummies
web site and the image shown above. Sometimes the tweets were very basic but sometimes I pointedly asked "#Nevada Do you also mispronounce Oregon and Illinois?
The second part was to monitor Twitter keyword phrases "pronounce Nevada" "mispronounce Nevada" "Nevada is Spanish" "Nevada Spanish word". The original senders usually just sent them to their Twitter followers or maybe directly to a TV network. There were hundreds of western state tweeters who were even more angry about mispronunciation of our state but, IMO, their tweets were not going to anywhere useful. I made it useful by replying to their tweets (as shown in the image above) and adding one or more network news public relations departments as new addressees. Piggybacking on to a great variety of tweets by others was a better method of going viral than sending out tweets directly.
I can't be sure, of course, but I think that was a very effective way to grab the Eastern news media's attention.