Only half a million.

The classic law of crowd estimate journalese says that a reporter must echo a promoter’s estimate of the size of the crowd, no matter how inflated and impossible the number is. The Boston Globe dutifully followed this law on July 5, 2019 in reporting that “an estimated half a million people” lined the Esplanade for the annual 4th of July Boston Pops concert. The story does not say who did… Read Article →

End of what era?

Headline of the Days: Here’s the Boston Globe , page 1, top story headline, June 24, 2019: “Casino opens to throngs ready to celebrate a new era. “2.6b Encore resort will operate 24 hours a day, every day; No initial traffic woes.” And here’s a Globe Metro section headline the next day: “4 arrested at casino on first day; police call it a success.” No idea what “new era” was… Read Article →

The Prize for Mind-Reading.

If there were a journalism prize for mind-reading, speculation and opinion — in the guise of a news story — The New York Times would be the sure winner. Take this one paragraph sentence in a Mary 24, 2019, story about “the war of words” between President Trump and Speaker Nancy Pelosi: “But her decision to dramatize the fight also represented an embrace of Trump’s own signature political tactic: an… Read Article →

Hulking rule violated

A rule of journalese requires that all parking garages or old buildings the reporter doesn’t like, and which a favored developer wants to replace with condos (luxury, of course), must be described as “hulking.” The Boston Globe violated this rule recently when Wynn Resorts announced a ferry service to its Encore casino in Everett, adjoining Boston. The casino is expected to open in June. The Globe reported: “The service will… Read Article →

TV anchors’ millions.

TV anchors’ millions. An obscure law of journalese requires TV anchors, in their teaser introduction, to report how many millions of Americans will be affected by a predicted storm, flood, forest fire or other catastrophe. How the anchors predict the number of millions is a trade secret. For example, Tom Lallas, of ABC News on May10, 2019, reported: “40 million people are bracing for extreme weather…” Amazing that knew that… Read Article →

Story that makes you wonder

Some stories make you wonder. Like a top-of-fold story on first page of the Metro section of the print edition of The Boston Globe, Apr. 24, 2019, headlined: “College is warned on its shaky finances — State tells Hellenic its degree granting authority is at risk.” The story lede: “Another small private college in New England is in trouble. Hellenic College Holy Cross, a Greek Orthodox school in Brookline, received… Read Article →

Opinion as news

The New York Times des not hesitate to publish opinion as news, as is illustrated by a paragraph in a Times story in The Boston Globe, Apr. 16, 2019, about Minnesota Congresswoman Ilhan Omar. Story is headlined, “In Omar attack, Trump revives familiar refrain against Muslims.” The Times reports: “Trump and his team are trying to make Omar, one of a group of progressive women Democratic House members who is… Read Article →

Raising concerns in some quarters.

In our dictionary, we define “concerns” as: “When not referring to companies, it means worries, ranging from red tide’s hurting Maine clam beds to Pakistan’s nuclear weapons falling into Taliban’s hands.” Today’s example is not quite as worrisome. The Boston Globe reports, in an Apr. 13, 2019, business story about empty retail stores in Downtown Crossing, the traditional shopping area of Boston, becoming offices: “The proposed change also is raising… Read Article →

How big is humungous?

I’m sure some editor was waiting a long time to use “humungous” in a headline. Well, the story evidently arrived. Here it is, in the Boston Globe, Feb. 26, 2019: “Humongous typhoon hits Guam.” The AP story reported: “The US territory of Guam was sideswiped by the beastly storm named Wutip on Saturday. It was whirling Monday morning about 300 miles west of the Mariana Islands, with 150-mile-per-hour sustained winds… Read Article →

Suggestions from the crystal ball

When a reporter wants to insert his or her own opinion, speculation or guess into a news story, a handy word is “suggests.” Here’s an excellent example from a Washington Post story from London, in the Boston Globe, Feb. 21, 2019, about three members quitting Prime Minister Theresa May’s Conservative Party, joining eight who left the Labor Party: “The creation of a small but potentially powerful independent block of 11… Read Article →