Tuesday, July 14, 2020


My displeasure with what’s come to be known in many corners as “NewsSpeak” has been registered here frequently over the years.

I realize that my personal war against NewsSpeak is a lost cause.

NewsSpeak is a dialect found mainly in broadcast news, where the remnants of consultant-driven news writing still flourish. Hardly any broadcast operation can afford consultants any more, but when they traveled from market to market, most of them would try to get news writers to inject “excitement” and “immediacy” into their writing.

Never mind that nobody ever talks that way, in forced present tense, or distorting time to give the illusion that what the audience is getting is so hot off the presses (see what I did there?) that they’re truly getting the latest stuff.

I was saddened this morning when the above item appeared on my phone. Although we moved to coastal Connecticut a few months ago, my wife and I still try to keep up on news from our old stomping ground in Madison.

See the word “overnight”? That’s a TV news thing, where all news is either breaking, breaking now, breaking overnight, or some similar variant. The Supreme Court didn’t make that ruling overnight. It made the ruling yesterday.

But NewsSpeak almost never allows the word “yesterday” to be written in copy. The consumer would get the impression that it’s stale news if it happened yesterday.

I’m sad to see that the virus has crept into my former hometown newspaper. Overnight, my butt.