Words in news, not in life

The world of journalism has its many intricacies, quirks and down right oddities, but one common theme is the frequent use of words that don’t really exist in the common, day-to-day language of average Americans.

Poynter started the whole topic this week when they solicited these commonly used words from their audience and then wrote a post about it. So I could be as cool as Poynter, I did the same with our audience and found some pretty good answers from our Facebook and Twitter followers.

Have more than this list or disagree? Add more words below in the comment section and maybe all of us journos will be a little more conscious of our word choices.

SPJ: What words do journalists use in their writing that many people don’t use in every day language?

Allegedly

Slaying or slain

In the 300 Block of …

Actor, as a police term

Residence

Certificates of obligation

Slated

Eyes (as a verb)

Gets nod

Set for (rather than scheduled for)

Eatery

Touts

Motorists

Reportedly

Effective tax rate

Proposed (as in not final)

Feted, fete or fetes

Blaze

Gubernatorial

Mull

Kerfuffle

Community leaders

Local residents

Nix

Inks

Fracas

Tussle

And with the possible exception of DC, boots on the ground.

Pan as a verb

Nevertheless

Boasts

Woes

Cognitive dissonance

Contusions and lacerations

Regime

Slated

Recognizance

Bizarre

Wild

Frightening

Suspect

Gunman

It is understood

“Preps” to mean high school sports

Embattled

Garner

Storytelling

Robust

Redact

Solons

Flee, fled

Hanged

Taylor Carlier Headshot

Taylor Carlier. Photo credit: Matt Thomas

Taylor Carlier is the communications coordinator at the Society of Professional Journalists. She is a 2014 Purdue University graduate of Mass Communication: Journalism and previously was the special projects editor at The Exponent. She can be reached at tcarlier@spj.org or interact on Twitter: @Taylorcarlier.

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  • Bill McCloskey

    Don’t forget “transport” as opposed to carried. The ambulance transported the victim to the hospital. Pending notification of next of kin, of course.

  • Art Blazer

    Bizarre and frightening don’t belong on the list. Many people do use them. I’d add “journos.” I’ve been a journalist, reporter, writer, editor and/or producer most of my adult life but I’ve never been a “journo.”

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