Category Archives: Uncategorized

Every dictator’s troops.

Our Journalese Definition of “elite” is: “Any third world army unit that has polished boots and can march in step.” We could amend that definition to include, “The main duty of such elite soldiers is to shoot student demonstrators and other unarmed dissidents.” What brings this up is the media’s compulsion to describe the late General Soleimani as head of “the elite Quds Force.” For example, a search of the… Read Article →

New Year’s wish: Editors hired.

Couple stories in the Boston Globe business section Dec. 28, 2019, makes one wonder if reporters took a reporting class or if there are no editors any longer at the paper. Or both. Story about a proposed $870 million high-rise project adjoining South Station says it will eventually provide 2.5 million square feet of offices, condos and a hotel, at what is now the station’s railbed and bus terminal. How… Read Article →

Influencers replacing hacks and artists.

The buzz-word “influencers” becomes journalese when it is used in a Boston Globe page one print headline, Dec. 26, 2019, reading: “HUNTER, GATHERER, INFLUENCER” with subhead, “Once a vegan, he’s prepped to become Internet’s evangelist for primitive eating.” The story, datelined Bridgton, Maine, ledes with: “Daniel Vitalis, who was once a big influencer in the raw-food vegan movement and is angling to become an even bigger one in the modern… Read Article →

Don’t mention the real words

This one should be Euphemism of the Day: You know how the lazy media likes to adopt the euphemisms by corporate or political BS artists. Popular right now is “green.” Anything the reporter or editors like, and have any connection to the environment or climate, is automatically labelled “green” even though the thing may not save energy or clean up the air or water. If the corporation or politicians say… Read Article →

The white stuff

As snowstorms batter (storms always batter) much of the United States (ABC News the other day had 53 million Americans “impacted,” even though ABC never divulges how it gets its numbers), there’s the inevitable application of the Journalese Law of the Curved Yellow Fruit. (In case your forgot the law, it prohibits use of that the same main word in a sentence. Thus, banana become the curved yellow fruit.) In… Read Article →

Peace Prize? You too can be nominated.

A little-known rule of journalese requires that a story about anyone the reporter admires must note that he or she has been nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize. AP followed this rule in a Nov. 9, 2019, story. See lede below. Sounds like a great achievement, almost as fine as a Hollywood Academy Award nomination. Except stories never mention that anyone can be nominated for the Peace Prize. All you… Read Article →

Classic rule of headlines.

Journalese of the Day: Classic rule: If a headline can be screwed up, it will be. Here’s a beaut, from newsletter.Esquire.com, Oct. 24, 2019. “Timex Just Debuted a Stylish New Watch That Won’t Last Long” The watch is a Timex Navi XL Automatic. It’s a diver’s special. Esquire says it’s so hot, it will be scooped up pretty quickly. Story doesn’t say how long the watch will last under water…. Read Article →

In the tranches with the NY Times.

A style law at the New York Times requires reporters to use a foreign or hi-falutin’ word whenever possible. Here’s a great example in a Sept. 28, 2019, story: “WASHINGTON — House Democrats, kick-starting their impeachment inquiry into President Trump, subpoenaed Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Friday, demanding he produce a tranche of documents related to the president’s dealings with Ukraine.” Now, unless you are a banker, investor or… Read Article →

To sober up, or not.

. Our journalese dictionary definition of sobering is: “This is going to wake you up even if you never drink or are already sober.” However, when it comes to college students, who rarely, if ever, need sobering, they soon will sober up. Or need a drink. Here’s a teaser by Boston’s TV channel 5, WCVB news, on Sept. 19, 2019: “A new and sobering statistic about student loans.” File under:… Read Article →

From hulking to glittering.

Friends might recall that several weeks ago I noted how The Boston Globe violated the Law of Hulking by characterizing the Boston Harbor Encore casino as “hulking,” a word that exclusively is applied to parking garages or other large buildings the reporter doesn’t like and developers want to replace with money-making offices or condos. Evidently, word went out that a venture the Globe endorsed, and especially one that is owned… Read Article →