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Tuesday, June 12, 2012

The B Word

I listen to a lot of radio and television newscasts, and there is a small group of broadcast words that sets me off faster than any others.

At or near the top of the list is "blaze."

I hate that word, and I got fired up over it when I heard it on the radio on a recent morning.

When you're writing news, there are some basic guidelines, and it really isn't all that hard.  As I've said here before, keep it simple.  You're writing for the ear.  We're not the newspaper.  You can't read it again if you don't understand it the first time.

You also have to write the way people talk.  For example, have you ever walked into the corner store and heard someone say "Hey, did you see the blaze down the street last night."  The only people who use the word "blaze" are cliche ridden people in the news business and that's plain silly.  Some of us have a problem using the word "fire" more than once in a story.  It is what it is, and what it is, is a fire-- not a blaze.

Above all else, my first news director, Jerry Heller at WARM 590, taught me to save "blaze" for the big ones.

I'm still waiting for that big one.