Monthly Archives: January 2018

A proper use of tout

At last! A proper use of a journalese favorite verb, tout. The Boston Globe page one, top story, Jan. 31, 2018, has this sub-head: “In state of the union, Trump touts accomplishments, economic progress.” That’s right on. It’s the original use of tout, as Mike Feinsilber of the Associated Press writes in our journalese dictionary: “It is a nice, short lead word. But to some (read that: me) it has… Read Article →

Luxury of having no copy editors.

When reporters adopt the gushing language of developers, promoters, flacks, politicians and others they are covering, well, maybe it’s time to start hollering. What brings this up is a lede sentence in a Boston Globe business story, Jan. 26, 2018, about the settlement of a conflict over a condo tower planned for Boston’s Seaport district. The lede: “A luxury condominium tower on Seaport Boulevard will break ground this spring….” Now… Read Article →

A classic tout.

In our journalese dictionary definition of headline favorite “tout,” we write: “Don’t wait for one like this: ‘Pope touts peace in Yule rap’.” That was because tout has a sleazy origin: A tout is a guy who whispers tips on horse races, intending to make a buck if his supposed inside info on a sure nag happens to win a race. Well, the Boston Globe, Jan. 24, 2018, came close… Read Article →

Disconnect this.

Have you ever heard anyone use the word “disconnect” in any meaning other than something is not connected? Such as, “My computer got disconnected to the Internet.” Or, “No wonder the printer isn’t working. Some idiot disconnected it from the wall jack.” But now the word has become a favorite of reporters to mean that something doesn’t add up: facts are missing, a politician is called a liar, the President… Read Article →

Signs, signals and signaling

Our journalese dictionary definition of sign is “Another way of offering a reporter’s opinion,” while “signal,” used as a verb, means the reporter figures that something may happen. The New York Times loves signals. A search of the past 12 months gets 402 hits for “signaling.” Here are the latest examples, both on Jan. 19, 2018: “The House approved the measure 230-197, despite conflicting signals by Trump sent throughout the… Read Article →

Observers suggest.

Observers make a wonderful source for reporters. But did you ever wonder who these observers are? People standing around looking at guys digging up a street for the third time in a month? A couple of guys at the Press Club bar? Hacks at City Hall having a smoke under the sign outside that says “No Smoking?” An academic ready to give an opinion to a reporter as long as… Read Article →

Outrage in Norway?

Our dictionary definition of “outrage” is: “What any gang of shouting, fist-raising demonstrators display, usually against a nation or people so far away the demonstrators can safely scream all they want.” Today’s outrage, as anyone who is awake knows, is not against a nation or people but against our President-in-Potty-Mouth. For example, take this New York Times story, headlined in The Boston Globe, Jan. 13, 2018, “From Norway to Haiti,… Read Article →

Eschew this!

Want to make your Mom and Dad proud they put you though college? Simply used fancy words that nobody ever uses in everyday speech because they can’t pronounce them or know what they mean. Take eschew, for example. We define it: “To avoid or shun. Used by reporters and editors who like to show they were not asleep in Shakespeare 101, and who remember Falstaff’s admonition: ‘What cannot be eschw’d… Read Article →

Storm lovers.

The Boston Globe’s Kevin Cullen has a great column Jan. 4, 2018, on the love affair between TV stations and storms. It’s along the lines of how we defined “storm” in our journalese dictionary: “Every TV weather staff has the name ‘storm’ in it. Even if they forecast the most beautiful weather the region has ever had, it is still reported by the ‘Storm Team’ or ‘Storm Center’ or ‘Storm… Read Article →

New England law of weather reporting.

A New England journalese law of weather reporting requires any big storm to be called a “nor’easter.” It doesn’t matter if the storm is from the south or west, it’s a nor’easter. Sounds tough. And in keeping with the law, The Boston Globe identified the current storm a nor’easter, in a page one story Jan. 4, 2017. This irked a reader, whose letter to the editor was published the next… Read Article →