Arts & Culture

“Journalese, A Dictionary for Deciphering the News” Co-Authored by North End Resident, Bob Skole

Longtime North Ender, Bob Skole, has co-authored a new book with Paul Dickson, Journalese, A Dictionary for Deciphering the News.

Neighbors that know Bob will not be disappointed. The book epitomizes his everyday wit and knack for breaking through the nonsense.

Published by Marion Street Press, Journalese is a new dictionary of journalistic buzzwords that looks at the true absurdity of journalists’ tired quips and clichés.

The humorous reference book translates media buzzwords for the rest of us. For example:

  • Eerily: streets that are dark or deserted are always eerily silent.
  • Jockeying: what politicians do when they’re busy elbowing out an opponent.
  • Noted authority: said of anyone on the reporter’s speed-dial or Twitter feed.

With an irreverent tone, the authors present hundreds of entries and include real-world examples. The book covers such topics as incendiary leads, double entendres, media shoptalk, teasers, hidden agendas and tabloid-TV excesses.

“Good editors keep trying to kill clichés, but clichés outlive editors,” said Mervin Block, author of Writing Broadcast News and Weighing Anchors. “So Paul Dickson and Robert Skole have given clichés a good look.”

The authors define journalese as “the particular code in which journalists report a story. It is a pattern of language—a jargon—that never appears in normal conversation.” But does that mean the authors approve of using journalese?

“It was never our intention to stamp out journalese nor to bless it,” the authors write in the book’s introduction. “Our role was to describe and define it and, in the process, perhaps spike—or at least skewer—some of its more overwrought examples. As a dictionary it is descriptive rather than proscriptive.”

“Never has the deciphering of newspeak into plain English been so hilarious,” said Suzette Martinez Standring, author of The Art of Column Writing. “Journalese shows how the power of original phrasing fuels great reporting.”

The new book is available for $14.95 at or in paperback or e-book format.

About the Authors:
Paul Dickson is the author of more than 60 books including Sputnik: The Shock of the Century; The Bonus Army: an American Epic (with Tom Allen); and Bill Veeck: Baseball’s Greatest Maverick. He lives in Garrett Park, Maryland. Robert Skole has worked as a reporter, editor and foreign correspondent. He lives in Boston. They are the coauthors of Volvo Guide to Halls of Fame.

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