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Banned words and phrases

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by MisterCreosote, Mar 21, 2013.

  1. MisterCreosote

    MisterCreosote Well-Known Member

    Romenesko posted something the other day about the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel ME telling his reporters to stop using the word "iconic" in copy, because it has become cliche.

    That prompted the Washington Post's Outlook section editor to send in his list of words and phrases to avoid, most of which gave me a great chuckle:


    My favorites:

  2. baddecision

    baddecision Member

    That's a banned list on steroids.
  3. SixToe

    SixToe Active Member

    And the BLOG!osphere gnashes its teeth and writhes uncontrollably at the constraints of traditional WaPo-style media.

    I can't believe anyone today would use "Rise of the 24-hour news cycle."
  4. LongTimeListener

    LongTimeListener Well-Known Member

    This list could be a game-changer.
  5. terrier

    terrier Well-Known Member

    Boob window.
  6. Versatile

    Versatile Active Member

    SF_Express went to war against "respectively" so often that I've picked that one up. Basic parallelism almost always conveys the point.
  7. Frank_Ridgeway

    Frank_Ridgeway Well-Known Member

    I had a boss in the early 1980s who had a long list of banned cliches, mostly sports ones. This served a purpose in that it got me thinking a bit more -- I'd spent my first few years in the biz writing and then editing at top speed all the time, so I had some skills, just not every skill. This exercise was good for what it was, but it's usually been expendable in lean times. My advice to young copy editors is to make factual accuracy, fairness and clarity much bigger priorities than cliche removal. By accuracy I mean a systematic approach, not just checking haphazardly when stuff doesn't look right.
  8. Ace

    Ace Well-Known Member

    I think the Washington Post list is pretty good.
  9. SnarkShark

    SnarkShark Well-Known Member

    "Hard-earned" is one I can't stand.

    "Butler had a hard-earned win over Bucknell in the first round."

    Because Michigan State didn't try hard to win their game.
  10. SFIND

    SFIND Active Member

    Great one there.
  11. inthesuburbs

    inthesuburbs Member

    A good list from The Post:


    -- "breaks down" as in explains.
    -- "hopes to." Yes, well, all the teams hope to win.
    -- "tough" as a euphemism for bad. "tough call" or "tough shot."
    -- "going forward." Already conveyed by tense.
    -- "new." Of course the person named to the job is the "new coach." No one would announce an old coach.
    -- "hard by." Feature writers can't say something is by Jamaica Pond. It has to be "hard by Jamaica Pond." (Was saddened to see Charlie Pierce fall for this one the other day.)
  12. inthesuburbs

    inthesuburbs Member

    And "without incident." "The arrest was without incident." Well, other than the arrest, yes.
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