Monthly Archives: August 2016

Journalese of the Day: Glad we got that straightened out.

Boston Herald, correction, Aug. 30, 2016: “HARTFORD, Conn. — In a story Aug. 28 about Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island evaluating proposals for clean-energy projects, the Associated Press erroneously reported the name of Rhode Island’s deputy commissioner of energy. He is Nick Ucci, not Rick Ucci.” -Robert Skole

Journalese of the Day: Storied

Our Journalese Dictionary’s definition of storied: “Reporter really doesn’t know what the person or place is ‘storied’ about, but some old person said the person or place was famous once.” Well, Yellowstone National Park is certainly famous, but “storied” animals? This is from an AP story, Aug. 29, 2016: “Record visitor numbers at the nation’s first national park have transformed its annual summer rush into a sometimes dangerous frenzy, with… Read Article →

Journalese of the Day: Reporting numbers

Online Boston Business Journal went whole hog with the old style book rule that says numbers below ten are spelled out, while ten and higher are given in figures. Here’s a BBJ headline Aug, 24, 2016: “Uber lost more than $1,000,000,000 in first half of year” The story reported the loss at “about $1.2 billion.” BBJ readers now know what one billion looks like -Robert Skole

Journalese of the Day: Curved yellow fruit

A Law of Journalese requires that an important word cannot be used twice in one sentence. Our Journalese Dictionary calls this “The Curved Yellow Fruit Law,” based on a British paper’s report of “Banana pickers in Ecuador have demanded hourly wages instead of pay based on the number of the curved yellow fruit picked in a day.” In compliance with this law, the Boston Globe, Aug. 25, 2016, in a… Read Article →

Journalese of the Day: Watering hole

Think back: Have you ever heard anyone speak the words “watering hole”? Probably not. Saloon, yes. Bar, tavern, pub, sure. But never, “We went to the watering hole for a drink.” Watering hole is classic journalese, something written but never spoken. Here’s a Sept. 2016 Vanity Fair, “First Person” piece by Scottish actor Alan Cumming: “On the day we arrived [in Marrakech] we wandered up the main square for dinner… Read Article →

Journalese of the Day: Twilight of copy editing

I’m not a grammar cop. I even manage to stay silent when I hear college kids say, “Me and her went…” But when a Boston Globe, page one, Aug. 19, 2016, story runs this headline,”When Ben Franklin fell, they knew just who to call,” I wonder to whom I should direct a dope-slap. I suppose a copy-editor deserves it, but it would be hard to find one. Maybe Ben Franklin’s… Read Article →

Journalese of the Day: More than 50 residents, leaders and stalwarts “huddle” with mayor in private, closed door meetings.

Instead of saying something happened “quietly”, a reporter who missed a story can say it was “private” and behind “closed doors.” Here’s a beautiful example from the Boston Globe, Aug. 19, 2015, about our Boston mayor who can accomplish a politician’s dream of holding a meeting of “more than 50 guests” and keeping it “private”. And he’s been having such meetings for over a year, without the Globe’s reporting it…. Read Article →

Journalese of the Day: The mayor and 55 City Hall big-shots meet “quietly.”

As I recently wrote, when a reporter says something was done “quietly”, it usually means he or she missed the story that happened a while back. A wonderful example is in this Boston Globe story, page 1 of the Metro section, Aug 15, 2016, under the headline: “City employees undergo ethics refresher course”. The story begins: “City administrators were warned about the appearances of conflict, cautioned against the lure of… Read Article →

Journalese of the Day: Swaths of trading barbs

Reporters and editors obviously feel it’s the more the merrier when it comes to journalese. Reading the Boston Globe today, Aug. 12, 2016, and I find that “Trump, who has dismissed whole swaths of the population…” and a local story about seaport development noting that “Fan Pier occupies such an important swath of the waterfront.” And in an op-ed by Washington columnist Indira A.R. Lekhmanan: “As Donald Trump and Hillary… Read Article →

Journalese of the Day: Little-known

When a story reports that something is “little-known” chances are that reporters and editors missed the story a long time ago. (“Those lazy flacks never sent out a press release,” they complain privately.) A beautiful illustration is in a Boston Globe, page one, story, Aug. 11, 2016, with the headline: “Little-known dual roles for city official — Development aide also a real estate partner.” Making this especially illustrious is that… Read Article →