Wick Communications

Zing! Oust! Flee!

In journalism on 20 Nov 2015 at 8:50 am

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Last week, Poynter joined a storied tradition of making fun of the use of words that only a journalist could love. You know the ones I’m talking about.

  • Congress fired its first salvo at the president on Monday…
  • The Pontiff issued his holiday decree from the Vatican…
  • The candidate used the new poll numbers to bolster his claim…

We all know there are words floating around that we use just because they sound all journalistical. When was the last time you heard anyone other than an ink-stained wretch refer to a fire as a blaze?

Much of the time, these words exist as part of a language I might call headlinese. They provide action words that are short and don’t mimic what’s in the body of the story.

Personally, I say no harm done, really. I agree that we should seek to be clear and concise and conversational. But in the list of crimes committed in the daily war of words we know as journalism, I would rank this one as a misdemeanor. (Speaking of words no one says.) Plus, it’s not going to hurt any of our readers to learn a new word now and then. …

But I could be mistaken. Are there words you would outright ban?

Clay

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