Banning words, makes them harder to avoid

By Samantha Scheltema

You would think there would be an easier way to have journalists use new phrases and avoid cliché’s than banning 119 words. That’s what Randy Michaels, CEO of Tribune Co., did to the company’s Chicago radio station, WGN-AM. He issued a list of 119 words, phrases and pronunciations that were not allowed to be aired anymore.

I’m sorry, but how the heck do you avoid using words that you are used to using all the time, especially on the radio? When you’re writing you can avoid it much easier, I guess, but when you’re on the spot talking on live radio? I just don’t understand why Michael’s decided to do so.

As I continued reading the article Blacklisted by Jan Freeman, I discovered that Freeman kind of had the same point of view as me. His article seemed to be one sided, it was mostly against the banning of words. Freeman views banning words as looking like a bold move, but “It’s not the way to get the job done.”

Random, but this actually reminded me of when I was doing a group leadership project with the Air Force; we weren’t allowed to say “guys” or else we would die, which would definitely hinder our ability to meet our goal (we have to say “cadets” or “everyone”). I found great difficulty with this especially since I say “guys” a lot. I ended up dying two minutes after they made the rule. It is very hard to try to remember not to use a specific word while also trying to concentrate on your goal.

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