The Curious Listener: Perception is Reality... Or Is It?

Jun 10, 2013

We all know that sometimes when you're listening to someone else, you can interpret their words to mean something other than what was intended. This happens all the time in our daily lives, and, sometimes, when we're listening to the news too.

In all of our work at NPR, we strive to be as clear and concise as possible. But sometimes our messages can still be muddled. We appreciate hearing all perspectives on our work and like to address and clarify as many concerns from our listeners as possible. Check out the exchange between our Curious Listener Claudia and NPR to see the discussion over our usage of the word "several."

Newscaster reports 'several' democrats voted with republicans on gun law. FOUR democrats voted with republicans, since when does FOUR = several? this is why our county is so mislead and misinformed - stop contributing to the problem.

Fairfax, CA

Dear Claudia,

Thank you for contacting NPR.

We appreciate you sharing your concerns regarding an NPR newscast, however we are not certain we understand your disagreement with the use of the word "several." That word is widely defined as meaning "more than two, but not many" - which would indicate that the use of the term was accurate in the instance you are referencing.

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