Prepare yourselves. For we are entering the season of elections. In the next 18ish months we’re each going to average somewhere in the neighborhood of 47,000 election stories. The staged and manufactured “events” are boring and repetitive as it is. Don’t make it worse by filling your stories with the same crap every hack reporter, producer and anchor says. Dump these 5 words/phrases and you’ll make your stories stronger… or at least less tedious.
1. “Throwing his/her hat in the ring…”
WHY IT’S DUMB: What hat? Where’s the ring? How will I get my hat back? The phrase dates back to the early 19th century bare-knuckle boxing. That means it may have been clever when slavery was considered cool and blacksmithing was considered a high tech job.
SAY THIS INSTEAD: “Announced they’re running” “He/she entered the race”
2. “Made it official..”
WHY IT’S DUMB: Anchor: “Welp, Jeb Bush made it official…” Translation: “Welp, we’re going to tell you something we all knew was going to happen…”
SAY THIS INSTEAD: See previous suggestions. Even better, give us the most interesting tidbit from the announcement. “Jeb Bush opened his presidential campaign by taking a shot at Rick Perry. Bush called Perry a “boob” when he announced he’s running for president today in Florida.”
3. “It’s a horse race… “
WHY IT’S DUMB: First of all, what are you trying to say? It’s a close race between candidates? Since when is every horse race close? Some horses blow away the field. Secondly, it’s a cliche.
SAY THIS INSTEAD: “a tight race” “a close race”
4. “Stumping, on the stump, etc”
WHY IT’S DUMB: It’s another old timey word that comes from the days when candidates would stand on a tree stump to deliver their campaign speeches. I would bet a lot of money half of the anchors, producers and reporters who use that word don’t know that. There’s also a good chance your viewer doesn’t know either. Let’s not forget the verb “stump” also means to confuse, baffle or perplex. Sooooo, the candidate was out baffling for votes today?
SAY THIS INSTEAD: Campaigning will do just fine.
5. “Red state/blue state…”
WHY IT’S DUMB: Wait! Which one is which? Am I red or am I blue? It’s possible some of your viewers don’t know which one is republican and which is democrat. Why not eliminate any confusion?
SAY THIS INSTEAD: Democratic-leaning. Republican-leaning. Traditionally democratic. Traditionally republican.
Now you know. And knowing is half the battle. — G.I. Joe