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Watching Our Language

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Struggling with a story earlier, I asked someone: how do you report the end of the world? He replied: Calmly.

One of the things financial hacks are (supposed to be) good at is injecting drama into announcements that sound dull on the face of it.

At explaining why a wordy statement from a big company matters in an accessible, punchy way.

I think for the foreseeable future we should probably watch our language.

Yesterday I used the phrase “another torrid day on the stock market”. In the present context the word torrid is, erm, a little over the top.

The word “bloodbath” is surely banned.

I think this applies to communications from flaks and analysts too.

Experts can predict that unemployment will rise to 30% if they want (I’d rather they didn’t) but they should not use the word “apocalyptic”.

Years ago, after an historically bad day on the markets, the first paragraph in the lead story in the Wall Street Journal was this: “The stock market fell yesterday.”

That might be taking it too far, being pointedly unflashy.

The sentiment is right though.

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