Monthly Archives: April 2017

Key ally

Every country, no matter how small or remote, that has some kind of military agreement with America, is a “key ally” to reporters and editors writing about international or political affairs. This is more dramatic than describing the country as tiny or sleepy, which is reserved for travel writers. Thus, when former Massachusetts Senator Scott Brown (he served three years of the unfinished term of Ted Kennedy) was nominated by… Read Article →

Scoring a triple: nonprofit, tap, and the yellow fruit law.

The Boston Herald scored a triple journalese — nonprofit, tap, and “Law of the curved yellow fruit” — April 19, 2017, in the lede of story about a contract awarded by the Greenway Conservancy: “The nonprofit that oversees the city’s Rose Kennedy Greenway has tapped Trillium Brewing to operate an outdoor beer garden on the downtown green space, with plans to open this summer.” Nonprofit, according to our definition: “An… Read Article →


Journalese of the Day: Activist. The Times of London fulfilled the definition of “activist” in our dictionary, according to contributor Charlie Eckhart: “Someone with a machine gun or a bomb who espouses a cause with which the newsman agrees.” Here’s a Times headline, April 18, 2017: “Palestinian activist leads prisoners in hunger strike.” The “activist” is Marwan Barghouti, who The Times identifies as “a prisoner and leading member of the… Read Article →

Don’t kill a story with facts.

As just about anyone connected to the Internet knows by now, United Airlines knuckleheads in Chicago dragged a doctor off a plane after no passengers volunteered to give up their seats to four pilots who needed to get to Louisville. The scene, showing a bleeding doctor being dragged along the plane floor, was captured on a cell phone video and went viral. Obviously, there is no excuse for the stupid… Read Article →


A tip of the hat to Per Söderström, quality editor, of Svensa Dagbladet, a highly-respected Swedish daily, for pointing out in his “Quality Column” on Apr. 9, 2017, the flourishing use of “epicenter” (“epicentrum” in Swedish) for everything except its prime meaning: the area of the earth’s surface directly above the place of origin, or focus, of an earthquake. That’s the first definition in my Webster’s New World Dictionary, and… Read Article →

Testing waters.

The 2018 congressional elections are 18 months away, but politicians are now “testing the waters” to run or swim for whatever office. Here’s a Boston Herald headline, Apr. 3, 2017, “Geoff Diehl to test waters for run against Liz Warren.” Diehl, a Republican state representative, described as a “conservative,” has set up a campaign account and filed Federal papers “that label him as a candidate” for the Senate seat held… Read Article →

Plymouth, USA

This one is directed to Swedish journalists and editors who have never learned that there are cities and towns of the same name in any number of the 50 states in the USA. This requires a state identification. What brings this in focus are the women’s world hockey games being played in Plymouth, Michigan. However, in the Swedish media, the city is only identified as Plymouth, USA. This may be… Read Article →