Thursday, March 11, 2010


Tribune Company executive Randy Michaels is under fire from TV news types after a news director in Chicago passed along Michaels' list of phrases he no longer wants to hear on Tribune-owned stations.

The list (below) was disseminated by WGN's Charlie Meyerson to his Chicago underlings, and the blowback on assorted media blogs has been colorful, to say the least.

Critics are right to suggest that the head of a company in bankruptcy ought to have other things to do than micromanage news copy. And his additional request—that employees keep a log of co-workers' trangressions—borders on madness. 

But we'd welcome a little more corporate involvement locally, where we've watched the quality of several once-respectable local stations evaporate in recent years.

That kind of increased scrutiny might (one would think) lead to (A) the firing of all but about three on-air staff members at SuxNews and probably a third of those at the other stations, or (B) a significant improvement in local news.

What's not to like in that?

Here's the list. Suggestions we consider idiotic or unnecessary are red. Those with particular applicability are blue. Our comments are in green.

“Flee” meaning “run away”
“Good” or “bad” news
“Laud” meaning “praise”
“Seek” meaning “look for”
“Some” meaning “about”
“Two to one margin” . . . “Two to one” is a ratio, not a margin. A margin is measured in points. It’s not a ratio.
“Yesterday” in a lead sentence
“Youth” meaning “child”
5 a.m. in the morning
After the break
After these commercial messages
All of you
Area residents
As expected
At risk
At this point in time
Auto accident
Bare naked
Behind bars
Behind closed doors
Behind the podium (you mean lecturn) [sic]
Best kept secret
Campaign trail
Clash with police
Close proximity
Complete surprise
Completely destroyed, completely abolished, completely finished or any other completely redundant use
Death toll
Definitely possible
Down in (location)
Down there
Dubbaya when you mean double you [This means you, SuxNews.]
Everybody (when referring to the audience) 
Eye Rack or Eye Ran
False pretenses
Fatal death
Fled on foot
Giving 110%
Going forward
Gunman, especially lone gunman
Hunnert when you mean hundred [Pay attention, Maltard!]
In a surprise move
In harm’s way
In other news
In the wake of (unless it’s a boating story)
Informed sources say . . .
Killing spree
Lend a helping hand
Lucky to be alive
Medical hospital
Mother of all (anything)
Mute point. (It’s moot point, but don’t say that either)
Near miss
No brainer
Our top story tonight
Out in (location)
Out there
Over in
Perfect storm
Senseless murder
Shots rang out
Shower activity
Sketchy details
Some (meaning about)
Some of you
Sources say . . .
Speaking out
Stay tuned
The fact of the matter
Those of you
Time for a break
To be fair
Torrential rain
Touch base
Under fire
Under siege
Underwent surgery
Undocumented alien
Untimely death
Up in (location)
Up there
Utilize (you mean use)
We’ll be right back
Welcome back
Welcome back everybody
We’ll be back
Went terribly wrong
We’re back
White stuff
World class
You folks


James said...

Can I add "go" to the nitwit word in

"I go", "he goes" or "she goes" instead of "I said", "he said" or "she said"

LankBadly said...

How about using "we" and "our", when it should be "I" and "my"?

leo said...

Amen on "The White Stuff" !!!

Omababe said...

If WOWT disallowed the terms "heartland" and "web channel", the news broadcast would be much shorter in duration. :)

Hmmmm ... "shorter in duration", redundant? :)

leo said...

oh, yeah ... I could I forget Channel 6's ad nauseam of the word "Heartland" in all stories.
Such as : News from the Heartland, A Heartland man ....

They don't seem top be as bad about as in past years

omatvwatcher said...

Did anyone catch 6's amazing 4pm show Friday?

Rick said...

Eff the white stuff! I hate that! What about an 'irregardless'?

Omababe said...

>I could I forget Channel 6's ad
>nauseam of the word "Heartland" in

LOL, you're preaching to the choir here, and I'm sure quite a few of the readers here find it annoying.

What's semi-interesting is that maybe 10 or so years ago, another station (3?) had an almost equally-inane over-use of the term "midlands" in the same context.

You listed to 6 and you got heartland-this and heartland-that, then you switched to 3 and got midlands-this and midlands-that.

>A Heartland man ....

This annoys me too! I really wish they would be more explicit as in "A Bellevue man ..." and such.

It's almost like they are trying to trademark the term "heartland" and the over-use has been going on for over a decade.

I assume they think it has some kind of warm and fuzzy connotation, but I agree that it is annoying.

Oh well ...

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