Gushers!!! Cappon Ch.6

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Words that usually signal gush are many, including fabulous, tremendous, superb, unique, exquisite, gorgeous, fantastic, incredible, glamorous and the like. Public relations handouts are often gushers, and too much of that breathless verbiage slips through.

--Cappon, pg 50

After I read this passage, I had to stop and think. I have a sneaking suspicion that I used to use most of those words when I was a high school journalist way back when. In fact, I'm pretty sure "unique" is one of my favorite words to use. But, I can understand why these words are bad--in news writing anyway. They really don't add at all to news. In fact, they're quite similar to using "very" or "really." The only difference is these are bigger words, but they still mean the same thing. 

Furthermore, as a journalist writing news, bias should be avoided like the plague, and I'm pretty sure that if you put any of those words in a news article, you'd be showing bias. Now, I still feel like I could get away with using "unique" in a review about a movie or a book or something. Maybe I could even get away with using it in a feature. I don't want to rule these words out altogether, because I still feel like they can be valuable at times, but definitely never in news writing.

2 Comments

Aja Hannah said:

I see these words come up all the time in reviews and I guess they are ok there right? Anyway, maybe you can get someone to quote that word if you really want to use it. Maybe a detective about a "strange" or "unique" hit and run.

Jessie Author Profile Page said:

That's a really good idea, Aja. I sometimes forget that if you're a good reporter, quotes usually write the story for you. However, in my experience with writing reviews, I don't think I used a lot of quotes--maybe one or two here and there saying that another publication praised a movie or videogame, but I never had student quotes in my reviews. Nevertheless, I like where you're going with this idea. The only problem I see with getting a detective to say something is unique, is I feel I'd have to shape his quote for him. I'd have to say, "Would you say this was a strange or unique hit and run? Can you back up your claim?" But I guess there's nothing wrong with that, is there?

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