Monday, August 22, 2011

Monday Media Rant: "Efforting" A Recall

The phrase "Efforting A Recall" is the first thing that greeted my eyes this morning when I popped the TV on to catch the latest local news.  My favorite morning anchorman, that distinguished-looking tall fellow with a name that makes you think his family made a fortune in coffee, was talking about the odds that there actually will be an effort to recall Governor Scott Walker.

The picture over his right shoulder (screen left) had the words above (“Efforting A Recall”), with a Wisconsin flag and perhaps some other visual doo-dads.  I believe in TV they call these things “graphics” – or, at least they did centuries ago, when I worked in TV.

Don’t bother looking in the dictionary for the word “efforting”; you won’t find it.  Every time I type the word into Microsoft Word, where I write the original version of these rants, the auto-correct underlines the word in red and suggests that instead I use the word “affording” or “effecting” – both of which are real words.

“Efforting” is not a real word.  The Urban Dictionary probably says it best:
A made up word used only by newscasters to show off that they're doing the job they're paid to do. A poor attempt to make the word ‘effort’ into a verb. To make it sound like something simple is tough to do, so they’re making extra effort. Often used as a stall when a report isn’t ready.

I’m sure my tall friend had nothing to do with the “graphic” shown over his shoulder while he was reading the story.  And he would never actually say such a word on TV.  But it’s very 21st century for folks in the electronic news biz to use non-words such as “efforting”, “Med-Flighted” (another attempt to turn a noun into a verb), “tased” (don’t tase me, Bro!!!!!), because it shows they know the inside jargon of the biz.

Sort of like the anchors and reporters who now say ‘talk about you team’s chances of making the playoffs’ instead of asking a question during an interview.  I guess they figure giving a command to the interviewee will have more force than asking a question.

Or the sports folks who say “welcome in to the program/broadcast”.  Welcome IN.  Nobody actually talks like that.  Can you imagine anyone who grew up speaking English saying “welcome in to my house” or “welcome in to my world”?

I’m efforting restraint in not tasing all these jargon-mongers, so they don't have to be Med-Flighted to a local hospital.


  1. Semi-related...

    Your best broadcast pal, Clear Channel, is SO DAMN TIGHT that when Belling guests on Rush, they actually run Rush twice in a row b/c they will NOT pay for a Belling substitute host.

    These are the things that make oligopolies collapse.

  2. Colonel,

    >> Sort of like the anchors and reporters who now say ‘talk about your team’s chances of making the playoffs’ instead of asking a question during an interview. <<

    The thing that annoys me the absolute most about sports talk -- not that I listen to very much of it at all -- is the phrase, "When you talk about..." There's something mantra-like or secret-society-handshake-like about this phrase. The panel of analysts and former sports stars or the play-by-play announcer and the color man constantly invoke that phrase to lend some sort of panache or gravitas or moxie or something to the arcane topic they're scrutinizing.

    Maybe it's a ritualistic incantation used by the sports broadcasting cabal that provides cover for the gathering of thoughts together. Instead of saying, "Ummm", they sound almost professorial by chanting that phrase which is no more than a prolix interjection.

    The Town Crank