Journalese

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Journalese is the artificial or hyperbolic, and sometimes over-abbreviated, language regarded as characteristic of the popular media. Joe Grimm, formerly of the Detroit Free Press, likened journalese to a "stage voice": "We write journalese out of habit, sometimes from misguided training, and to sound urgent, authoritative and, well, journalistic. But it doesn't do any of that."

Examples[edit]

  • "The governor Thursday announced ..." (date used as adverb)
  • "The Nov. 22, 1963, assassination of John F. Kennedy ..." (date used as adjective)
  • "Mean streets and densely wooded areas populated by ever-present lone gunmen ..."
  • "Negotiators yesterday, in an eleventh-hour decision following marathon talks, hammered out agreement on a key wage provision they earlier had rejected." (multiple mixed metaphors)
  • See "a bus plunged into a gorge" for a common type of gap-filler article.
  • "Calls this morning for tighter restrictions on the sale of alcohol to immigrants."
  • "Whoosh … whoosh … whoosh … ka-boooom. That’s the way it was at Wanganui's Cooks Gardens, for about 15 minutes on Saturday night." (genitive of placename instead of preposition)
  • "Rioting and mayhem ..." (this example has led to popular misunderstanding causing the word "mayhem" to change its main meaning.)
  • "Attack" to mean "criticise", because it typesets into less space in headlines. This may cause ambiguity if a physical or military attack is possible between the parties named. "Slam" is also used this way, as is, increasingly, "blast".
  • "Foes ink pact", "Cops nab crooks after heist", "The new station is slated to open...." (rare or archaic words chosen over more commonly used words in order to save space)
  • "The 1990s saw an increase in crime...." instead of the simpler "Crime increased in the 1990s...." (the use of "saw" to avoid using the past tense of "increase")


See also[edit]

Further reading[edit]

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