NewsSpeak

When I watch the news on TV, I am all too likely to be diverted from the content by the vocabulary common to most newscasters. You may have noticed too, that the reporter isn’t usually “there”, but “on the scene”. Events don’t “happen”, they “unfold”. Shots were not “fired”; they “rang out”. Police are not present “now” but “at this hour”. A reporter does not “interview” anyone. He or she “sits down with” a subject. Of course almost every way of life has its own lingo. We certainly did in the libraries where I worked. The language of the sports world often spills over into general speech. Most of these lingos strike the ear as natural and colloquial. However, to me NewsSpeak sounds stilted and unnatural. Who comes home and says “Guess what unfolded at the office today!” Or asks on the phone, “Is your mommy on the scene at this hour?“ Granted, they need to be clear: saying a reporter is “there” may invite the question, “Where?” They’ll go on speaking their way, and i’ll go on noticing it. So it goes.

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