At the White House?

Another illustration of sloppy — or non-existant — copy editing: A cutline of a photo illustrating a Boston Globe story, July 13, 2021: “President Biden hosted a meeting about reducing gun violence in the Roosevelt Room at the White House on Monday.” And you thought firings stopped in the Roosevelt Room when Trump left office. But wait, there’s more, on July 8, the Globe ran a photo of a man… Read Article →

Red Sox triple.

Here’s a baseball journalese triple: three classic headline words in one headline in The Boston Globe sports section, July 12, 2021: “Red Sox giddy at nabbing Mayer in draft heist” Well, it’s hard to imagine Red Sox management “giddy,” and good luck isn’t really a “heist,” but it was a “nab,” so what the hell, how often does a headline writer get a chance to use all three headlinese classics… Read Article →

Hulk gets smaller

As you know, there’s a rule in journalism that requires all parking garages to be described as “hulking.” Now, anything can be hulking. A Bloomberg News story, July 6, 2021, about Volkswagen’s joint venture with a Croatian electric car maker, Rimac Automobili, to produce the “ultra-luxury” Bugatti. Bloomberg says his will “extend a lifeline to the boutique French manufacturer known for hulking 16-cylinder engines.” Hulking engines in a sports car?… Read Article →

No taps for tap.

Tap is a headline writer’s favorite verb, when used to mean choose or select. A quick check online and I find a list of 216 synonyms for choose, and tap is among them. I love the word, it’s short and classic journalese since you never use it in everyday speech. And tap can mean all kinds of things, in addition to choose or name or appoint. I’m waiting for a… Read Article →

Reporters as architecture critics.

Reporters love parking garages. That’s because their profession as journalists qualifies them to be critics of architecture. All parking garages must be described as hulking. Back in the old days of news reporting, adjectives were prohibited. Not any more. It’s open season for adjectives and adverbs. What brings this on is a May 20, 2021, Boston Globe column about a scheme (scheme is journalese for a plan or proposal the… Read Article →

Lavish lifestyle and investment risks.

A law of journalese requires that crooks, swindlers and con artists live a “lavish lifestyle” with their loot. This description is used much these days by Boston media reporting on the federal court trial of former Fall River, Mass., mayor, Jasiel F. Correia II. He is charged with extorting $600,000 from businessmen wanting retail marijuana licenses, and for conning $230,00 from investors in SnoOwl, his software company that was a… Read Article →

Oh, those Golden Dangling Slippers…

Students of the English language: Read the New York Times and weep. Here, according to the Times, we learn that Los Angelese people commit no crimes with rubber bullets, bean bags or batons, yet get whacked by the cops. Yep, that’s what this March 11, 2021 story says. Now, you ask, what the hell is that? Well, it’s simply another illustration of the Times editors’ love of dangling modifiers. Here’s… Read Article →

The ultimate anonymous source.

Reporters’ classic anonymous source has been identified simply as a source. Often, he or she is a well-informed source. Or a source close to…whoever the story is about. We have a section in our Journalese Dictionary devoted to “Source Sorcery.” The sources range from Analyst to Watcher. But there’s a popular new source: “people with knowledge of the matter.” For example: “people with knowledge of the matter” are given n… Read Article →

Valentine’s Day, ain’t it romantic

Valentine’s Day is approaching, and it’s time to get romantically involved. That’s wonderful journalese: “romantically involved.” It could also be romantically linked or romantically entangled. Often, it’s a politician who is romantically involved. Or a famous preacher, who had been condemning sinners for years, and you know who I mean. Anyhow, newspapers and TV and radio can’t report in plain English what the romantic folks were doing. It’s wink-wink, nudge-nudge… Read Article →

Dangling modifiers go wild

With the disappearance of copy editors, it’s a wild time out in media-land for dangling modifiers. Once upon a time, in the good old days of letterpress, reporters could be saved by linotype operators who knew English grammar. Alas, they are long gone, and we get AP stories like this one, on Jan. 28, 2021: “WASHINGTON — Speaker Nancy Pelosi intensified pressure Thursday on House Republican leaders for their handling… Read Article →