OLD Media Moves

Press release jargon, and those that hate it

October 19, 2007

Posted by Chris Roush

Ben Worthen of The Wall Street Journal writes on the Business Technology blog about how jargon makes it into press releases that business journalists then have to translate into English.

JargonWorthen wrote, “Terms like ‘solutions,’ ‘robust,’ and ‘leverage’ aren’t just meaningless, they’re harmful. They intimidate people who aren’t familiar with information-technology, at best causing them to stay quiet when they should be asking questions, and at worst, preventing them from taking an interest in IT.

“The Business Technology Blog is on a crusade to strike these words from the tech lexicon. (And before you search through the archives, yes, we admit that we use jargon from time to time, but we’re trying not to.) We thought we knew the chief culprit: PR people. Press releases are full of the kind of jargon we’re talking about. A few weeks ago we wrote about one particularly egregious example, but there’s at least a handful of buzz words in most press releases.

“But maybe PR people aren’t to blame. We recently received this email from a PR professional: ‘I share your hatred of common marketing terms, even as I’m forced by my superiors to use them.’ And the other day, a different PR person told us this doozy: ‘I once edited the word ‘seamless’ out of a press release. The client called me up and protested, ‘if we don’t say it’s seamless, how will people know it’s seamless?'”

Read more here.

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