Opinion as news

The New York Times des not hesitate to publish opinion as news, as is illustrated by a paragraph in a Times story in The Boston Globe, Apr. 16, 2019, about Minnesota Congresswoman Ilhan Omar. Story is headlined, “In Omar attack, Trump revives familiar refrain against Muslims.” The Times reports: “Trump and his team are trying to make Omar, one of a group of progressive women Democratic House members who is… Read Article →

Raising concerns in some quarters.

In our dictionary, we define “concerns” as: “When not referring to companies, it means worries, ranging from red tide’s hurting Maine clam beds to Pakistan’s nuclear weapons falling into Taliban’s hands.” Today’s example is not quite as worrisome. The Boston Globe reports, in an Apr. 13, 2019, business story about empty retail stores in Downtown Crossing, the traditional shopping area of Boston, becoming offices: “The proposed change also is raising… Read Article →

How big is humungous?

I’m sure some editor was waiting a long time to use “humungous” in a headline. Well, the story evidently arrived. Here it is, in the Boston Globe, Feb. 26, 2019: “Humongous typhoon hits Guam.” The AP story reported: “The US territory of Guam was sideswiped by the beastly storm named Wutip on Saturday. It was whirling Monday morning about 300 miles west of the Mariana Islands, with 150-mile-per-hour sustained winds… Read Article →

Suggestions from the crystal ball

When a reporter wants to insert his or her own opinion, speculation or guess into a news story, a handy word is “suggests.” Here’s an excellent example from a Washington Post story from London, in the Boston Globe, Feb. 21, 2019, about three members quitting Prime Minister Theresa May’s Conservative Party, joining eight who left the Labor Party: “The creation of a small but potentially powerful independent block of 11… Read Article →

Brandishing brandish.

The word “brandish” is terrific example of journalese. It’s usually used in cops’ stories, to describe a guy “brandishing” a gun or a knife. You’d rarely hear it used in everyday speech. It’s in police reports, that reporters love to quote. The Boston Globe in the past two weeks had a story of a gentleman brandishing a gun in a hold-up and another brandishing a knife when caught stealing food… Read Article →

Hulking opinions

Gotta give The Boston Globe credit for upholding the Journalese Law of Hulking. That’s the law that requires all parking garages to be described as hulking. In a story Jan. 24, 2019, about a planned 43 story office tower that will be the future home of State Street Corp., The Globe reports not once, but twice (in the text and a cutline), that the building will replace Boston’s “hulking” Government… Read Article →

Crowd estimates: your choice

We have commented on reporters’ accepting the size of crowds as given by event organizers, with the Boston classics of one million attending First Night or the July 4 Pops concert and fireworks over the Charles River. This would make the crowds almost twice the city’s population. What brings this up was an unusual crowd size report by David Bienick of WCVB Channel 5 about the Women’s March Boston, Jan…. Read Article →

Nondescript in the eyes reporter

“Nondescript” is a classic journalese adjective applied to something the reporter doesn’t like. Merriam-Webster defines nondescript as “lacking distinctive or interesting qualities: dull, drab.” What brings this up is a Boston Sunday Globe page one article on Boston’s Faneuil Hall marketplace’s future, with the news peg being the closure of the 192-year-old Durgin-Park restaurant. The Globe describes the market: “Its collection of chain stores ….can be found in any mall… Read Article →

Don’t mention the straight face.

There’s an obscure Law of Journalese that prohibits a reporter from quoting a source and adding that it was said “with a straight face.” This law was followed by Boston Globe business reporter John Chesto on Jan. 8, 2019, in a story about developers being the big donors of the $1.1 million collected by Governor Charles Baker’s second-term inauguration celebration committee. Developers and others who like to help out the… Read Article →

Issues with issues.

I have no idea when the media started using the word “issues” to mean every trouble, problem or conflict — from an athlete’s aching knee to a nation facing bankruptcy. But is now standard journalese. For example, this headline in the Wednesday Food section of the Jan. 2, 2019, issue — OK, edition — of The Boston Globe: “How to tackle your food issues.” The story begins: “It unfolds the… Read Article →