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LA Times Exec Warns Against the Dangers of ‘Mauvais Langue’

In Trinidad and Tobago, there’s a local bit of lingo known as “mauvais langue.” It’s pronounced “mo-vay-lang” and means to speak ill of someone, to gossip.

Thanks to an honorary degree acceptance speech given over the weekend at the University of the West Indies by Los Angeles Times Media Group executive vice president and editor Davan Maharaj (pictured), it’s also now our favorite new expression to describe a main challenge of the digital news gathering age. From a report in the Trinidad and Tobago Guardian:

“We all heard of mauvais langue, a penchant for gossip, for spreading lies, hearsay, or in my world as a journalist, to report a story without the full set of facts, a half-story,” Maharaj said. “It is something my grandmother, growing up in Palmyra, warned me about.”

“[Being a journalist] was an opportunity to dispel gossip, tell the truth, and to tell truth to power.”

Also presented with an honorary doctorate of letters at the October 27 St. Augustine ceremony was Therese Mills, editor-in-chief of Newsday. Congrats to both.

[Photo courtesy LA Times]

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