Journalese of the Day: Crime reporting cliché rule violated.

Boston Globe reporters have violated the First Rule of Crime Reporting Clichés: All mobsters must have a nickname. In a July 9, 2016, story about the federal court appearance of a Rhode Island man accused of “thwarting” an investigation into a 1993 “slaying”, the man is identified as Robert P. DeLuca, “the onetime New England Mafia capo”. He is given no nick-name. Nor is one given to “reputed mob associate,” William L. Ricci, in whose property the “slayed” victim was found. However, the reporters did comply with the nickname rule when they wrote about related cases involving “New England Mafia boss, Francis ‘Cadillac Frank’ Salemme,” and Boston gangsters James “Whitey” Bulger and Stephen “The Rifleman” Flemmi. FBI agents never have nick-names, at least not in print. [Note: In a story on Sept 4, 2016, the Globe corrected the nickname rule violation and included a nickname for Robert P. DeLuca. His is “Bobby.” See item headlined “Bobby? A mobster nickname?”]

-Robert Skole

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