Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Another word for Denis's list

In his weekly slot on Kathryn Ryan’s programme yesterday, my old (sorry, former) colleague Denis Welch ran through some of the media clichés, buzzwords and neologisms that got on his nerve in 2010.

Today I emailed Denis to suggest that next time he compiles such a list, he might want to include the word “inked”, as in “When [Sonny Bill] Williams inked a deal with the New Zealand Rugby Union”, which I saw on the back page of today’s Dominion Post. This was the second time I’d seen this usage in a matter of days.

Sports reporters seem more prone than most to fatuous clichés, but it has taken them a while to latch on to this one. I seem to recall that it was part of the house jargon of the showbiz paper Variety as long ago as the 1970s (along with such terms as “skedded”, as in “the series has been skedded to screen next fall”).

As Denis says, these terms are used to make stories seem more racy or momentous than they really are (or to “sex them up”, to use another neologism) – but I agree with him that they quickly wear thin.

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