Tuesday, April 24, 2012

How about “lifeless body” when describing a dead person? Here’s a good (bad) example: http://www.nbcnewyork.com/news/local/Richard-Descoings-Dead-Hotel-Room-Michaelangelo-Hotel-146027885.html

Sunday, March 11, 2012 Monday, January 2, 2012

Alliterative Journalism Phrases

imwithkanye:

The poetic device seems to be the only way to describe the current pool of 2012 Republican presidential candidates. (File under unnecessary journalism phrases.) Here are four examples from the past month:

Santorum Surge

Rip Romney

Neutering Newt

Bye Bye Bachmann

The Santorum Surge might not be the best phrase to use when considering the first entry on Google when one searches for “Santorum.”

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Apologies on the lack of posts

Life has been quite eventful, which means focusing on finding and researching some unnecessary journalism phrases has taken a back seat. As always, feel free to send in submissions.

In the meantime, I read this paragraph in Henry Hitchings’s “The Language Wars: A History of Proper English" (if you follow my other Tumblr, you’ll notice I reference this book a lot) that I thought was particularly relevant to this blog (and while it’s not journalism-specific, you’ll see there are several expressions he mentions that pop up in stories all the time):

Which verbal tics especially annoy you? Rhetorical questions, perhaps? Among people I know, the list of irritants includes (brace yourself for a long sentence) stock phrases and nuggets - ‘at the end of the day’, ‘I think you’ll find’, ‘in the final analysis’, ‘with all due respect’ (the noun respect is in some, mostly political contexts an irritant in its own right), ‘new and improved’, ‘tried and tested’, ‘at this moment in time’, ‘bear with me’, ‘it is what it is’, ‘I’m good to go’, ‘almost exactly’, ‘sum total’, ‘lifestyle choices’, ‘quality time’, ‘decisive factors’, ‘the lowest common denominator’ (with the implication that this is a small number, though often it isn’t - the lowest common denominator of 1/3 and 3/4 is 12), ‘no problem’, ‘in fairness’, ‘to be honest’, ‘free gift’, ‘workable solution’, ‘positive feedback’, ‘it is incumbent upon me’, ’ you don’t want to go there’, ‘no offence’, ‘but…’, ‘can I ask you a question?’, ‘for your convenience’, ‘do you know what I mean?’, ‘what’s not to like?’ - and a number of individual words that have become wearisomely common - synergy, sustainable, paradigm, ongoing, facilitate, empower, customer-facing, closure, process in the contexts to do with emotions and psychology (‘the grieving process’), and perhaps also context to boot, along with creativity, leverage, proactive, pathfinder, challenge, solution, 24/7, co-worker, user-friendly, the emptying situation (compare ‘There is crime’ and ‘There is a crime situation’) and the pretentious historic (‘This is an historic moment for Basildon’). These words and phrases are disliked because they seem devoid of meaning; they have been discoloured through overuse or through too much unthinking use, and have become filters, formulae, dumb scraps barnacling the truth. But we can’t eradicate them. The reason? It’s not rocket science. And yes, dear reader, I added that one just to pique you.

Monday, November 21, 2011
While not necessarily an unnecessary journalism phrase, friend of the blog, MSNBC reporter Alex Johnson, posted this tweet of Independent on Sunday reporter John Rentoul’s “Do as I say, not as I do” philosophy of using “So” to begin a sentence.
In this clip, Rentoul admonishes people who use “so:”

Beginning a sentence with the word “so” has become a regular occurrence in everyday conversation, and it has not been received entirely positively.
John Rentoul of the Independent on Sunday, author of The Banned List: A Manifesto Against Jargon and Cliche, explains why he is not so impressed.


But as Alex points out, Rentoul (not ironically?) uses this technique in this piece about his “Banned List: The War on Words:”
“So when Ed Miliband said, in what was inevitably described as a “keynote” speech this summer, “In the future the Labour offer to aspirational voters must be that we will address the new inequality by hard- wiring fairness into the economy,” I knew he didn’t really know what he meant.”
“So you know what to do.”

While not necessarily an unnecessary journalism phrase, friend of the blog, MSNBC reporter Alex Johnson, posted this tweet of Independent on Sunday reporter John Rentoul’s “Do as I say, not as I do” philosophy of using “So” to begin a sentence.

In this clip, Rentoul admonishes people who use “so:”

Beginning a sentence with the word “so” has become a regular occurrence in everyday conversation, and it has not been received entirely positively.

John Rentoul of the Independent on Sunday, author of The Banned List: A Manifesto Against Jargon and Cliche, explains why he is not so impressed.

But as Alex points out, Rentoul (not ironically?) uses this technique in this piece about his “Banned List: The War on Words:”

So when Ed Miliband said, in what was inevitably described as a “keynote” speech this summer, “In the future the Labour offer to aspirational voters must be that we will address the new inequality by hard- wiring fairness into the economy,” I knew he didn’t really know what he meant.”

So you know what to do.”

Monday, November 7, 2011

50. Old Man Winter - 11/7/11

With people still adjusting to cooler temperatures and shorter days, as Ned Stark would say, “winter’s coming.” The arrival of warm woolen mittens and songs of holiday cheer brings an often used phrase of anthropomorphic proportions to our writing about the season. Surely, there are better ways to say, “Don’t forget your booties ‘cause it’s coooold out there today.

—-

Perhaps at Zuccotti Park Old Man Winter will facilitate this disbanding and although it would be an unfortunate turn of events for the homeless, it would save the Owies the embarrassment of admitting their impotence.”

The Record Searchlight: Alana Burke: Occupy Wall Street should cancel the freakshow

Engadget:  Columbia’s line of electric Omni-Heat jackets, gloves and boots on sale, just in time for Old Man Winter

Before the mercury takes a nosedive and Old Man Winter bullies his way into the backyard and garden, you need to get your plastic rain barrel ready for the long, cold months ahead.”

Ottawa Citizen: Winterizing your rain barrel

The snow is on hold for now, but Old Man Winter will settle into the valleys of western Montana this weekend nonetheless.”?

Missoulian: Snow delayed, but cold to continue in western Montana

Topekans went Wednesday from seeing abnormally warm early-morning conditions for November to finding themselves firmly in the grip of Old Man Winter.”

Topeka Capital-Journal: State gets first taste of winter

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Push The Envelope 

Submitted by unretrecissement and her colleague Daisy Rosario, via Conan O’Brien:

News stations everywhere put their own unique spin on Conan’s same-sex wedding news.

49. A.M. in the Morning/P.M. in the Afternoon/Evening, at Night - 11/3/11

This one’s pedantic, inspired by a conversation I was having with my wife. She mentioned about doing something at 6 p.m. at night, or along those lines, and it caught me as redundant. I did a search for the above phrases and sure enough, they were in copy. We are taught early in life about the difference between a.m. and p.m - the former is in the morning, prior to noon (12:00 p.m.); the latter is in the afternoon (after 12 p.m.). We know, for example, if I’m catching the bus at 7 a.m., it is the morning. There’s no need to write, “He caught the bus at 7 a.m in the morning.”

—-

But late-night hosts are familiar ground for the WHCA, with four out of the last five hosts being guys who tell jokes on TV after 11 p.m. at night.

The Atlantic Wire: Jimmy Kimmel Will Host the White House Correspondents’s Dinner

It appears to have calmed down and most protesters have retired for the night (it’s approaching 4.30 am in the morning in Oakland) so we’re going to wrap up the blog now.”

The Guardian: Occupy Oakland General Strike - 11/3

Robinson said it was between 9 a.m. and 10 a.m. in the morning when the first bus driver on the route began having trouble with a jammed fare box and stopped to try to fix it.”

Vancouver Sun: North Van commuter claims bus driver stormed off without reason

The good news came around 4 p.m. in the afternoon of November 1st. Curran, already the mother of seven-year-old Lilly-Ella and five-year-old Lexie, brought forth of a bouncy baby weighting seven lbs 15 oz.”

Bleacher Report: Steven Gerrard and Alex Curran Name Third Baby Girl Lourdes

She also slams academy management for not having staff on duty after 6.30pm at night to take care of student complaints.”

Courier Mail: Sex pests harass most girl recruits

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

48. Emergency Situation - 11/2/11

We can discard “situation” in this phrase, as emergency means “a serious, unexpected, and often dangerous situation requiring immediate action.”

——

Wiener was concerned that the resolution – which is ultimately non-binding – would “hamstring” police in an emergency situation.

San Francisco Examiner: Supervisors vote to support Occupy SF camp at Justin Herman Plaza

The on-scene security training class provides hams with an understanding of security functions that include crowd control, basic radio operations and methods used to obtain a safe, secure environment utilizing non-law enforcement personnel during an emergency situation.”

Aledo Times Record: Mercer County ham radio operators needed to assist in emergencies

On many occasions, emergency medical services personnel arrive at an emergency situation where people are unable to speak for themselves due to an injury or medical condition.”

The Daily Press: Local EMS involved in pilot project

Additional money may be available if you have an emergency situation and are in jeopardy of losing your heat. Emergency situations include: broken heating equipment or leaking lines that must be fixed or replaced; lack of fuel; termination of utility service; danger of being without fuel or of having utility service terminated.”

Pocono Record: News from Monroe County Area Agency on Aging

Monday, October 31, 2011

47. Roll(ed)(ing) in his/her grave - 10/31/11

To celebrate this most ghoulish of days, here’s a phrase that pops up when reporters believe a famous person - a dead, famous person - has been wronged by the living. First, dead people don’t roll over. Second, dead people don’t care about the living. And while this is a rhetorical flourish of a phrase, maybe we don’t need to use it for every kind of misdeed appropriated from the dead originator to the living thief.

Happy Halloween!

——

Joe Robbie rolled over in his grave as Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross inappropriately mingled on the sideline with the college coach of the opposing quarterback who was in the process of leading a double-digit comeback.”

FOX Sports: Tebow performs when it matters most

"The Gipper" may have rolled over in his grave when De León bastardized his famous quote, “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall,” to call the two-thirds taxpayer protection a “Berlin Wall” keeping California from returning to prosperity.”

LA Times: Raising taxes: Why California needs its two-thirds rule 

Elizabeth Taylor rolled over in her grave.”

Bleacher Report: Kim Kardashian Divorce: 5 Reasons Her Sham Marriage Failed

Of course, he’d be rolling over in his grave to know that a Chiefs’ fan was using the saying against his Raiders.”

Kansas City Star: Chiefs vs. Raiders: On the brink.