Setting Standards

The NYT frowns on ‘tweet’, for now. So which words would you edit out of—or into—press accounts?

The New York Times sparked a bit of a blogospheric kerfuffle last week when its standards editor, Phil Corbett, issued a memo entreating reporters to avoid the use of the word “tweet” in most circumstances. (The scoop on the news was nabbed by the Web site The Awl, which dubbed Corbett’s suggestion a “ban” and in the process spawned a second semantic dispute.)

While Corbett has defended himself and drawn support from one of the granddaddies of Web publishing, the decision was greeted with derision by many others. The back-and-forth set us to thinking: Are there other words, phrases, and assorted affectations—new-fashioned, old-fashioned, or in-between—that you would, if given the editor’s mighty pen, implore the press to abandon? At the same time, are there expressions that journalists habitually write around that we should just go ahead and say, already?

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The Editors are the staffers of Columbia Journalism Review.