Category Archives: Uncategorized

Adjectives galore at the NY Times

Back in the old days of journalism, copy editors prohibited adjectives and adverbs unless they were absolutely necessary to the story. Today, they are welcomed: the more the merrier. The New York Times is a champion. Example: In this one lede sentence on Dec. 18, 2018, the Times has five adjectives: “BEIJING — Facing deepening tensions abroad and anxieties at home, China’s leader, Xi Jinping, delivered an unabashed defense of… Read Article →

Garbage by any other name…

Politically correct reporting can be amusing. A great example was in a news report on Boston’s WCVB, Channel 5, on Dec 11, 2018. The reporter told how a fire broke out in a “recycling truck” in a residential neighborhood. The into and text also called it a “recycling truck.” Two witnesses were interviewed. One called it a “trash truck” the other a “garbage truck.” I expect Sigmund Freud would have… Read Article →

Freaking out.

Journalese, the language of the press, has always adopted slang, jargon or lingo of politicians, business hot-shots, gurus of various stripes, hacks and flacks. Today, when the press is “social media,” journalese adopts the vocabulary of teen-agers, the trend-setting linguists of Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Pinterest, and you name it. Here’s an example, a headline from the Boston Globe business section, Dec. 8, 2018: “The jobs report is good news… Read Article →

Bring on the modifiers!

The New York Times loves adjectives, adverbs and any other modifier, whether they make sense or not. Jazzing up a text is what counts. Here’s an example from Nov. 27, 2018, in a story about Russia’s shooting at a Ukrainian navy ship: “The confrontation Sunday, in the vicinity of the Kerch Strait, a narrow passage between the Black and Azov seas, was a serious escalation in the conflict between Russia… Read Article →

Headline groaner

Headline Groaner of the Day: Boston Herald gets the honor, with this Nov. 6, 2018, headline over unhappy story of the Dedham, MA.-based pizza chain, going bankrupt and filing for Chapter 11: Papa Gino’s runs out of dough. + + +

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 →