What are words worth?

Every time John Schneller starts talking about words and meaning, I get this old song in my head by the Tom Tom Club.

But never mind about that. This is a serious subject because we in the news media have a terrible tendency to pick up other people’s use of words and use it in our work, without thinking about the impact. I remember keenly how much I hated the word “downsizing” when I first heard it, and I ranted and raved about calling a layoff by its proper name.

And then there was “improvised explosive device” for bomb.

Recently, the word “reform” has taken a beating from readers in the New York Times.

John’s going to be talking about words and meaning tomorrow morning in class. Please read this interesting piece in CJR in preparation for that discussion.

 

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One Response to What are words worth?

  1. “Unless the mainstream press uses the correct language to describe issues of public policy, then readers, viewers, and government leaders are unlikely to understand, discuss, and analyze them honestly and meaningfully.”

    Super relevant after changing some language in my last story. Tell it like it is.

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