Monthly Archives: January 2019

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 →