Words We’re Not Supposed to Say on TV…

... But Do. Feel Free to Add to the List, at the Bottom of the Page
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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.)
  • donraymedia

    I’m just happy to see someone use the term “brush fire” again. I must be old, but they were always brush fires. Somewhere along the way, they became “wild fires.” Would we be reporting on tame fires? I’ll be happy when the day comes when reporters and anchors can feel confident saying “a million” or “a hundred” or “a thousand” instead of feeling the need to say “one thousand,” etc. In school and small markets, maybe there’s a risk of a newbe pronouncing it in a way that sounds like “eight thousand,” but it shouldn’t happen here. But don’t get me started along the rant of passive voice! I believe it will be impossible to convince writers, anchors and reporters to write or say anything in active voice. God forbid someone would write or say, “Police arrested a Gardena man” instead of “A Gardena man was arrested . . .” Then again, maybe you should get me started.

  • Gator

    From the Department of Redundancy Department:

    “Southbound” is a direction; “Southbound direction” is redundant.
    “West L.A.” is an area; “West L.A. area” is redundant.

    Also: There is no letter “t” in the word “hundred!” We all know the freeways are not in the studio; “out there” is incredibly annoying.

  • frank

    I don’t like the word “shooter” in an assault/murder story. To me it sounds a bit benign like golfer or driver. What happened to using the word assassin or killer?

  • bill barnes

    I dont want to be harrassed or used any longer by some people from the evening news cast out of los angeles the have been using illegal devices to transmit evil communications I am someone from the western whittier area in the san gabriel valley from the year 1974 at some grade/ pre school thankyou for you attention to this matter.

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