by Brian Clarey
1. Use the word “rock” as a verb
We’re doing a little end-of-the year housekeeping around here, cleaning out the old Triad City Beat stylebook of words and phrases that have outlived their usefulness. First on the chopping block is this antiquated use of the term “rock” — as in, “I’ve seen a million faces, and I rocked them all.” It was almost 20 years ago when Jon Bon Jovi made this proclamation. He can still say it. You can’t.
2. The dictionary lede
“Webster defines ‘mayor’ as ‘an official who is elected to be the head of the government of a city or town.’” Don’t do that.
3. The recipe lede
While we’re at it, we’ll go ahead and ban the recipe lede, which generally goes something like this: “Take one cup of inspiration, mix it with a generous helping of talent, sprinkle in a little elbow grease and there you have the perfect recipe for (insert artist’s name here).” That’s not a lede; it’s a crime.
4. Refer to people as “hipsters”
Oh, it was fun for a while, especially when they started growing moustaches. But the word “hipster” has been co-opted, reclaimed, tarnished and tossed around more than Jon Bon Jovi’s favorite jean jacket, and it’s time to give it a rest. The preferred term is now “thoughtful, bearded young man.”
5. General cliché list
No “manicured lawns.” No “tender age of.” No “We sat down with.” No “but the weather didn’t dampen anyone’s spirits.” No “For one local business owner.” Like that.
6. Exclamation points
7. No more rejoicing
The lede “(Fill in the blank) lovers rejoice” is cheesy. Particularly when the word that fills in the blank is “cheese.”
You won’t see Triad City Beat giving animals human characteristics, particularly as some sort of bizarre representation of our paper. You know, like a rhinoceros or something.
9. Trolling Facebook for sources
That cattle-call Facebook post, looking for sources who have experienced X, Y or Z and just can’t wait to talk to a reporter? Yeah, it’s not coming from us.
10. Taking city money
We don’t believe a free press should take money from the municipal governments they are charged with covering and investigating. Can we even still call that journalism?
11. Selling out
There are all kinds of ways to be sellouts, whether its pay-to-play or the more insidious creep of apathy into a newsroom shirking its watchdog and investigative roles. We hope you’ll hold us accountable with a swift kick if we ever start to lose our edge, but we have no intention of letting that happen. “City” is technically our middle name, but it might as well be vigilance.