Category Archives: Uncategorized

Every gangster a maffia boss

A journalese law in Sweden requires that every leading American gangster be identified as a “maffia boss.” This law was dutifully followed by Dagens Nyheter, Sweden’s largest morning daily, on Oct 31, 2018, in a story about Boston murderer and FBI snitch James “Whitey” Bulger. Headline: “Maffiabossen ‘Whitey’ Bulger död i fängelse” (Maffia boss Whitey Bulger dead in prison). The story quotes the Boston Globe, and the text again identifies… Read Article →

Misrepresented? And how!

“Misrepresented” is journalese for “Boy! Did we screw up!” And blaming it on an “editorial error” is pure fantasy since newspapers no longer have copy editors who do any editing. Here’s a beautiful example in a correction in the Boston Globe, Oct. 24, 2018: “Because of an editing error, a caption in This Day in History in the Boston Sunday Globe misrepresented the history of the USS Constitution. The vessel… Read Article →

Fired, hired and we didn’t predict it

What would we do without journalese? We ask that question in our introduction to our dictionary. This question is illustrated by The Boston Globe’s page one top story, Sept. 2, 2018, with a headline that uses three classic journalese terms: oust, tap and stunning: “GE ousts chief executive after 14 months “In stunning move, conglomerate taps outsider in effort to reverse slide, restore investors’ faith”

Obeying the Hulking Law

The Boston Globe is to be congratulated for obeying the Journalese Law that requires all parking garages to be described as “hulking.” The law applies to structures that the reporter and editor do not like and which favored developers want to replace with structures which are never “hulking.” A Sept. 27, 2018, Globe story, headlined “Tower set to start rising in ’19,” reports that financing is now fixed from a… Read Article →

What makes it legenday?

Our dictionary definition of “legendary” is: “An individual who did something so long ago that the reporter had to go to Google to find out what it was.” OK, that’s when it applies to a person. But how about a company? What brings this up is a headline in the Boston Business Journal Sept. 26, 2018: “Springfield’s legendary gun maker Smith & Wesson faces future, controversy.” Well, maybe the scene… Read Article →

Telling it as it is

The Boston Herald tells it as it is in this business story headline, Sept. 18, 2018: “Gamblers lost $10M in 9 days at MGM.” The AP story reports that the Massachusetts Gaming Commission reported that at the Springfield MGM casino, the first full-scale casino to open in since the state expanded its gambling laws, more than $72 million was wagered on slot machines and that 89.88 percent of that was… Read Article →

Obligatory wreaking of havocs.

A law of journalese requires that havoc must be wreaked. When was the last time you heard someone say, “Boy, did that wreak havoc!!” Right: never. It’s journalese, mainly used in headlines, no matter where or why the particular havoc had been wreaked. An illustration was in headlines in stories in The Boston Globe and Boston Herald, both on Sept. 16, 2018. Globe: “At least 16 dead as typhoon wreaks… Read Article →

Jaw-dropping lives on

One of the best-loved clichés in journalism is “jaw dropping.” Our dictionary’s definition: “Reporter says you are going to be so shocked you’ll look like an idiot with your mouth wide open.” What brings this up is a page one story in The Boston Globe, Sept. 7, 2018, about what’s going on in Washington these days: “It’s as if the reality television show that has consumed the nation’s capital for… Read Article →

Bring on the modifiers.

The New York Times is a champion user of modifiers — adjectives, adverbs, phrases. A story on Sept. 3, 2018 is a classic example. Headlined (in The Boston Globe) “Political tide is changing in Sweden,” it has 24 adjectives and adverbs in its 12 sentences. It starts: “As an angry and divided Sweden prepares to vote Sunday, the shape of the next government is unclear because of the rise of… Read Article →

Crickets and rumors.

When does a slang expression become journalese? Guess the answer is whenever reporters and editors start using it regularly. The word “crickets” is a great example. It’s popping up all over the place. What brings this on is a jump-head in a Boston Globe story Aug. 16, 2018, about Amazon’s search for a second headquarters site. Boston is in the bidding war. Here’s the jump-head: “After bust of HQ2 fanfare,… Read Article →