Words We’re Not Supposed to Say on TV…
... But Do. Feel Free to Add to the List, at the Bottom of the Page September 7, 2011 10:09 AM
Kent Shocknek, anchors weekday prime-time newscasts on CBS-TV's KCAL9...Read More
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This is by-no-means a comprehensive list. The topic came up in the morning meeting this morning (duh -Ed.), as we were talking about brush fires. Our News Director, Scott Diener, is not a fan of the word ‘blaze.’ I agree. Or as I said at the time, “Great idea, boss! Wish I’d thought of that!” ‘Blaze’ is one of those broadcast words that we use when we’ve said ‘fire’ so many times, we’re afraid viewers will get bored, so we look for synonyms. I was glad to hear Scott say it’s OK to say ‘fire,’ when that’s what we mean.
My other favorite example: ‘temblor,’ for quake. Honest to Pete, I’ve never heard anyone in the world use ‘temblor’ in daily conversation. There are euphemisms, like ‘passed on’ instead of ‘died.’ And don’t forget cop-speak: ‘exited the vehicle, and fled on foot,’ when we mean to say ‘jumped out of the car and ran off.’
I mean it sincerely, when I say we have some of the best newswriters in the industry here. It’s liberating to talk like regular folks. (Yes, we got an email today from someone who doesn’t like the word ‘folks.’ — So sometimes, you can’t win.)