By Monica Nieporte, OMNA President and Executive Director
I’d like to challenge editors and reporters to do something. Not just for me, for all of us.
Please save us from lazy reporting and trite tweets.
Ask more questions or rephrase your questions until you get a real answer and don’t run gratuitous tweets from people sending their “thoughts and prayers” every time there is a tragic event.
Avoid cliches. Not just in columns and headlines but make the subject of your interview put a little more effort into his or her response.
I’m not sure when the catchphrase “thoughts and prayers” first become the thing to say but I can tell you that as a consumer of print, radio and television media, I’ve heard it way too much and it sounds flippant and insincere even when it is meant as a heartfelt response.
There are others that have become overused and abused such as the “levers of power,” “unprecedented” or “political calculus." I thought sports had the market cornered on all of the tired cliches but now interviewers and interviewees alike are resorting to them even in the most sensitive, serious situations. It just comes off as disingenuous and hollow.
These phrases have lost all meaning.
What if every time it rained hard every weathercaster on every network said “it’s raining cats and dogs” for the next three years? We’d all be sick of it and it doesn’t really say anything, does it? It adds zero value to the story.
I would love for a journalist to turn off his or her tape recorder or cut the camera the next time someone starts generically regurgitating their “thoughts and prayers” and say, “Now that you’ve given us the obligatory comment, isn’t there something else you’d like to say?”