Language Watch: Chicago’s WGN Bans “Alleged,” “Gunman”


Tribune Co. CEO Randy Michaels has ordered news reporters on Chicago’s WGN radio to stop using 119 words or phrases, many of them involving crime and justice. Robert Feder’s blog quotes a news director for the station as saying that the goal is to avoid “newsspeak,” or “words that make you sound like you're reading, instead of talking.”

Among the banned words or phrases: allegations, alleged, authorities, behind bars, clash with police, death toll, flee, gunman, “especially lone gunman,” incarcerated, killing spree, manhunt, officials, perpetrator, senseless murder, shots rang out, and undocumented alien.

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