Media speak

One of the things they tell you in courses about writing for broadcast is that you should never use language that you wouldn’t use when speaking to your granny.

Yet still, on a daily basis, I hear words and expressions that no normal person would use in conversation – the over-used media labels ‘war-torn Darfur’ and ‘oil-rich Niger Delta’ have been irritating me for years.

The latest media speak phrase is ‘swingeing cuts’. Barely a day goes by at the moment without someone on the news using it, yet when have you ever heard a person that wasn’t mic’d-up using the word ‘swingeing’? You can bet your boots neither of my grannies ever did.


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