Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Forbidden stuff

Wouldn't be the end of the semester without some stuff that looked like the beginning of the semester, would it? A quick reminder of some banned items, then, as exam week enters full swing.

Chicago's Devin Hester celebrates his 94-yard kickoff return for a touchdown during the second quarter. (1B Tuesday)

The verb "celebrate" in all forms and conjugations is banned from photo captions forever, without exception. Why? Because despite regular reminders, it tends to show up every day:

Chicago Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher celebrates after intercepting a pass against the Minnesota Vikings on Dec. 3. (1B Monday)

Titans kicker Rod Bironas celebrates with his teammates ... (Thursday 4B)

United States skeleton racer Zach Lund pumps his fist to celebrate his win ... (Friday 2B)

Got it? Never use "celebrate." You're an editor, not a stenographer. Let the photo speak for itself; spend the cutline space on something useful.

On the lede front, whenever you see one of these, throw it back to the originating desk for rewrite:

"He looks like an average college student" (1A Nov. 27)

Who died and appointed the Missourian official arbiter of what the "average college student" looks like? Keep your opinions of typicality -- and your biases -- to yourself. Readers have plenty of stuff to whack us over the head for without your adding to it.

Same goes for the inverse of Average College Kid:

Real McPerson, a 47-year-old social worker, isn't your typical user (1A Friday)

Hard to imagine a more thoroughly worn-out cliche. But freshness isn't a benefit when an idea is just silly:

Genocide and book fairs are not usually mentioned in the same sentence (5A Friday)

Um ... you certainly seem to have a point there.


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