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CNN Thinks “Policy” and “Stimulus” Are “Stinky”

cnnlogo_3-11.jpgCNN wants their banners to be less “stinky.”

TVNewser obtained an email sent by a CNN producer to some staff members which warned against using certain “stinky words” in banners. From seemingly harmless words like “still” and “may,” to topical words like “Africa” and “Iraq,” the list featured more than 30 words and phrases. The full list is after the jump.

Today we were forwarded a follow-up email from CNN SVP Bart Feder to CNN executive producers clarifying the “effort to improve the writing of our banners.”

“Challenge the writers to go beyond overused words and terms that don’t have impact and don’t explain what a specific story is about,” Feder writes. “For example, to have a banner on multiple shows that says STIMULUS DEBATE doesn’t tell viewers what’s current or immediate.”

Click continued to see the full list of “stinky words” and Feder’s note…


“Stinky Words”:

Controversy Mull Still Become May Debate Might Stir Will Voter Continue Vote Immigration Election Border Consider Middle Class Homosexual Policy Economy Iraq Africa Green Racism/Race Findings Probe Poll Recession Politics Regulations Guidelines Research Stimulus Afghanistan Pork Environment Congress Educate Military War Amid Middle East

From Feder:

Hi all —

Thanks to all of you for what’s been an obvious and concerted effort to improve the writing of our banners.

As you all know it was a main topic during our show reviews and it inspired some great conversation about the words we choose for the banners and how we write them.

Just as a reminder — be straightforward. Viewers should know what the story is about just by looking at the screen. Be creative — not cute.

Challenge the writers to go beyond overused words and terms that don’t have impact and don’t explain what a specific story is about.

For example, to have a banner on multiple shows that says STIMULUS DEBATE doesn’t tell viewers what’s current or immediate.

Or banners like ENVIRONMENT CONTROVERSY or DEBATE OVER IRAQ that don’t reveal something new that we’re reporting on.

There are no hard and fast rules, but we talked about some of those overused banner words in our meetings — they included:

ECONOMY

STIMULUS

RECESSION

ENVIRONMENT

CONGRESS

CONTROVERSY

DEBATE

REGULATIONS

POLICY

A thesaurus is a banner writer’s best friend.

Please let me know if you have any questions.

Thanks

Bart

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