Daily Archives: March 20, 2013

Washington Post Outlook section editor Carlos Lozada writes: “After I saw the ‘iconic’ post, I thought you’d enjoy this running list that we keep in Outlook of words and phrases we should avoid. (I just added ‘iconic’ to the list.)”


At first glance
As a society (or, “as a nation”)
TK is not alone
Pundits say (or “Critics say”)
The American people (unless in a quote)
The narrative (unless referring to a style of writing)
Probe (as substitute for “investigation”)
A rare window (unless we’re talking about a real window that is in fact rare)
Begs the question (unless used properly – and so rarely used properly that not worth it)
Be that as it may letters
It is important to note that
Needless to say
[Anything] 2.0 (or 3.0, or 4.0…)
At a crossroads
Outside the box/Out of the box
TK is a favorite Washington parlor game
Yes, Virginia, there is a TK
Midwife (as a verb that does not involve childbirth)
Call it TK
Pity the poor TK
Imagine (as the first word in your lede)
Palpable sense of relief
Rorschach test (unless it is a real one)
The Other
Effort (as a verb)
Little-noticed (that just means the writer hadn’t noticed it)
Ignominious end
Tightly knit community
Rise of the 24-hour news cycle (it rose a long time ago)
Remains to be seen
Feeding frenzy/feeding the frenzy
Double down
Dons the mantle of
Hot-button issue
Face-saving compromise
The argument goes (or its cousin, “the thinking goes”)
Shutter (as a verb)
Paradigm shift (in journalism, all paradigms are shifting)
Unlikely revolutionary (in journalism, all revolutionaries are unlikely)
Unlikely reformer (in journalism, all reformers are unlikely)
Grizzled veteran (in journalism, all veterans are grizzled – unless they are “seasoned”)
Manicured lawns (in journalism, all nice lawns are manicured)
Rose from obscurity (in journalism, all rises are from obscurity)
Dizzying array (in journalism, all arrays make one dizzy)
Withering criticism (in journalism, all criticism is withering)
Predawn raid (in journalism, all raids are predawn)
Sparked debate (or “Raised questions”)
Ironic Capitalizations Implying Unimportance Of Things Others Consider Important
Provides fresh details
But reality/truth is more complicated (oversimplify, then criticize the oversimplification)
Scarred by war
Shines a spotlight on (unless there is a real spotlight that really shines)
TK is no panacea (nothing is)
No silver bullet
Shifting dynamics
Situation is fluid (code for “I have no idea what is going on”)
Partisans on both sides
Charm offensive
Going forward
Stinging rebuke
Mr. TK goes to Washington (unless a reference to the actual movie)
The proverbial TK (“proverbial” doesn’t excuse the cliché, just admits you used it knowingly)
Fevered speculation
Growing body of evidence
Increasingly (unless we prove in the story that something is in fact increasing)
Tapped (as substitute for “selected” or “appointed)
Any “not-un” formulation (as in “not unsurprising”)
There, I said it (more self-important than “voicey”)
To be sure

* Here’s the story behind the “Things We Do Not Say” list

Trif Alatzas has been named executive editor of the Baltimore Sun. He succeeds Mary J. Corey, who died of cancer in February.

Alatzas has been head of digital media at the Sun since 2010. Here’s the publisher’s memo:

From: Ryan, Tim
Sent: Wednesday, March 20, 2013 3:16 PM
Subject: Organizational Announcement

Trif Alatzas

Trif Alatzas

It is my pleasure to announce the promotion of Trif Alatzas to the position of senior vice president, executive editor. In this role, Trif will lead all of the Baltimore Sun Media Group’s newsgathering operations and report directly to me.

As detailed in the attached press release, Trif is one of our own – Baltimore native, Sun intern, talented journalist, digital media expert. We are fortunate to have Trif take the lead at such an important time for our company.

Please join me in wishing Trif the very best in his new leadership role.


The press release is after the jump. Read More

UPDATE: The policy has been changed. Bloggers will no longer have to write posts to avoid conference fees.


Bloggers attending the Conscious Capitalism conference in San Francisco on April 5 and 6 got this notice with their invitation:

Kerry A. Dolan says she’s “appalled by the specificity of the requirement – particularly the request to blog BEFORE the event,” which “has the foul odor of marketing and promotion as opposed to reporting.”
Fees for the conference range from $67.62 for a student attending for one day to $560 for full two-day event access. The Conscious Capitalism movement was started by Whole Foods founder John Mackey. “He asks businesses not to make profits the primary goal of the business,” notes Dolan. “Mackey wrote a book about the topic.”

* What’s up with the Conscious Capitalism 2013 mandatory blogging rule? (

The Conscious Capitalism 2013 invitation is after the jump. Read More

Tracy Corrigan, who has been promoted to Wall Street Journal digital editor, “will soon embark on a redesign of the look and feel of,” says a memo from editor Gerard Baker.
He also announces that Stephen Wisnefski has been promoted to Real-Time News Editor and “will lead the creation later this year of a single global real-time news desk, bringing the home-page management team and the Dow Jones Newswires copy desk under unified leadership.”

Read Baker’s memo after the jump. Read More

The Irving (Texas) Rambler‘s news meetings have been open to the public for over a year, assignment editor Phil Cerroni tells Romenesko readers. “It’s spotty,” he says of reader participation. “A couple times a month people show up to give suggestions. We always end up getting something out of it. If nothing else, we get good reader feedback.” (h/t Dan Koller)


Milwaukee Journal Sentinel managing editor George Stanley sent this note to his staff last night. He chooses not to give “iconic” examples, but I found a few via Google. (I see that a story about Princess Diana’s “iconic” dresses appeared in yesterday’s Journal Sentinel.)

George Stanley
to Newsroom


It has been brought to my attention that we are seriously over-using the word “iconic.”

I could provide examples but would rather not.

It’s not a bad word but it is becoming a cliche. Let’s try not to use it unless it is truly the best possible word for that sentence.

Thank you!

In my February 2012 post on “words journalists use but people never say,” Philadelphia Daily News reporter Will Bunch mentioned iconic and added: “which I use in almost every story i write!” Radio talker Tavis Smiley apparently used the word all the time, too – until a listener called him out on it.

UPDATE: Baltimore Sun’s John McIntyre writes: “I’m tempted to send a mash note to George Stanley.”

He notes: “Iconic is like legendary, dramatic, prestigious, and the other empty adjectives that are no more than upholstery. It’s not only the writers of features sections who go into for this, though they are prime repeat offenders, but any writer trying to puff up the importance of a story by telling rather than showing will be prone to resort to such words.”

UPDATE 2: Milwaukee Magazine says its search of “iconic” on the Journal Sentinel website turned up 29 stories, blog posts and photo gallery descriptions posted in the past seven days.

* Words journalists use but people never say (
* Read what my Facebook friends/subscribers say about Stanley’s memo (

Cathy Taylor, who worked at the Orange County Register from 1983 to 2011, has been named the paper’s Washington Bureau Chief. She rejoins the Register after serving as editor of Human Events, which folded last month.

The Register’s release:

Cathy Taylor to lead the Register’s newly formed Washington, D.C. bureau

SANTA ANA, CALIF. – March 20, 2013 – To provide more depth around issues in Washington D.C. that affect our future and the quality of life in Orange County, the Orange County Register is opening a Washington, D.C. bureau.

Cathy Taylor

Cathy Taylor

It will be led by longtime Register journalist and executive Cathy Taylor, who worked for the Register from 1983 to 2011. Taylor served as a reporter, editor and columnist supporting the Register’s business coverage, and joined the Opinion and Commentary pages in November 1996. She was a member of the Register’s senior leadership team as vice president of Opinion and Commentary before leaving the company in November 2011 to accept a position at Washington, D.C.-based Eagle Publishing as editor of Human Events, a national weekly publication.

In her new role as Washington Bureau Chief, Taylor will provide deeper enterprise reporting on the economy, immigration, job creation and public policies that affect the health and welfare of people in Orange County. In addition to her planning, reporting and editing responsibilities, Taylor will lead a team tasked with explaining the processes and procedures in Washington, connecting the dots between local politics in Orange County, state politics in Sacramento and national politics in Washington. Taylor begins her new role on April 2.

“The Washington bureau will provide timely and relevant coverage around issues that influence our future and pocketbooks, with exclusive insights and greater depth than what national news wires and day-to-day reporting could provide,” Taylor said. “It is our plan to write in a style that’s fun, informative and absolutely addictive reading.”

* On her 59th birthday, NYT executive editor Jill Abramson spoke at the University of Michigan. “Quality, serious journalism that is thoroughly reported, elegantly told and that truly honors the intelligence of its readers is the business model of the New York Times,” she said. (

Love this page one headline!

Love this page one hed and story!

* Roger Ailes on why he told his story to Zev Chafets: “He’s an actual author, a good journalist. He’s mature and thoughtful and not out to hurt people. I’m not saying anything about the other guy.” (The other guy is Ailes biographer Gabriel Sherman.) (
* From my “Page One Story of the Day”: “I’d never really seen turkeys up that close before, and I didn’t know what they were,” [student driver Justin] Ceresini said. “I was nervous. I just thought they were some kind of bird. It was pretty wild. I was like, what do I do?” (
* “I don’t know a single person who works in daily news today who doesn’t have her eyes trained on the exit signs,” says a former reporter who now writes fundraising copy for a hospital. (
* Time Out Chicago columnist: “Most of the 60 people who work here will lose their jobs” when the new owners take over. (
* Lawrence Wright first became interested in Italian journalist Oriana Fallaci as a teenager. (
* Ezra Klein is sorry he supported the Iraq War. (
* The Weather Channel wants exclusive use of the Internet domain .weather. (
* Meet the people who were at New York Observer’s 25th anniversary bash. (
* Michael Koretzky: “Furries embody everything I value as a journalist: Thick skins (quite literally) and an outsider’s view of the rest of the world, but with its own tight-knit community that won’t exclude anyone with an open mind.” (
* In Letters: Journalist Edward Champion explains why he’s walking 3,000 miles, from Brooklyn to San Francisco. (Romenesko Letters)
* “I’m going to tell Romenesko about that!” Send letters, anonymous news tips, memos, gossip, and typo alerts to| Follow Romenesko on Twitter | Romenesko on Facebook | Romenesko on Pinterest | Letters to Romenesko

The organizers of Conscious Capitalism 2013 have changedcon their policy and will not require bloggers to write at least two posts to avoid a conference admission charge.

I received this note from Working for Good CEO Jeff Klein:

Dear Jim,

I am writing to let you know that we are changing our press policy for Conscious Capitalism 2013 and apologize for what was apparently an inappropriate policy.

As a small non-profit, with few hands and a lot to handle, we accepted a policy someone had used for another event, which they told us was “standard policy,” in the new environment with an almost infinite community of bloggers. Boy were we wrong!

We’re truly sorry for any offense that you may have felt and assure you that we welcome you to Conscious Capitalism as a non-paying member of the media, regardless of what you write (or don’t write) before or after the event.

Please let me know if you have any questions and concerns, and thank you for paying attention to Conscious Capitalism, and considering its relevance to you, your readers and society.

With gratitude for your understanding (and, as appropriate, forgiveness).


* Earlier: Conference to bloggers: We’ll bill you if you don’t write about us (