Easily Confused Words: Chyron vs. Chronicle

Chyron and Chronicle are easily confused words.

The spell-check application of most word processing software programs would not catch a slip-up of these two words. Spell-check is looking for words that aren’t in its dictionary, and words that resemble words in its dictionary, but are possibly spelled wrong. Spell-check isn’t perfect. It doesn’t know and can’t guess what word you wanted, or what word you meant, it can only judge the words on the page. If you used words that are all spelled correctly, it gives you a pass anyway.

Autocorrect suggests words that start with the same letters. It’s suggesting what word you may want to save time, but quite often, its suggestions are pretty off base. They don’t help you out, but they do make you laugh.

Chyron (pronounced “chi-ron”; rhymes with “environ”) is a noun. It means text appearing at the bottom of the screen. Typically they are seen crawling across the bottom of the screen on news channels and during newscasts on other channels.

Chronicle (pronounced “krawn-ick-uhl”) has multiple meanings.

  • As a verb, it means to document or write down a detailed account of events. This can be like a diary or log, or something more public, like a newspaper column focused on a specific subject.
  • As a noun, it means the document where records are being made.
  • As a proper noun, it can be the name of a newspaper or news program. For example the San Francisco Chronicle.

The following story uses both words correctly:

Kai was a seasoned reporter at the Charleville Chronicle. He enjoyed writing longform stories and doing in-depth research for 20 years. He had planned on doing this for a lifetime.

Unfortunately, the audience’s attention spans had shortened, their patience had waned, and they had grown to distrust reporters. They often paid attention to headlines delivered crawling chyron-style: just an encapsulating phrase or a tweets-worth gist of each event. The old “Who, what, where, when, and why” now was only “who, what, when, and where.” There was just no time for “why” anymore. If a “why” was proposed, it was accused of having a bias or agenda.

It really broke his heart to see his profession watered down and cheapened in this way.

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