As a radio guy, this story makes me cringe. The CEO of Chicago’s Tribune Company has ordered staff at the venerable WGN-AM to refrain from using specified words on the air. Randy Michaels’s edict features a list of more than 100 banned words and phrases that he deems to be overused or technically inaccurate. Worse, management has instructed staffers to file tattle-tale reports (including the date and time of “violations”) against their colleagues if one of the banished utterances slips out.
Killing cliches is an admirable goal for journalists of all stripes, but this is preposterous. Here’s the list:
Wow. My sources inside Tribune say the company’s recent bankruptcy filing and layoffs have already driven morale to new depths. This oppressive micromanagement will not help. You’d think the Tribune suits would spend their time handling bigger concerns these days.