Thursday, September 30, 2010

The Wall Street Journal goes cutesy

Not many years ago, it was a rare event to spot an example of cutesy diction in The Wall Street Journal. The paper was a bastion of maturity and seriousness.

But cutesy diction is becoming more frequent in The Wall Street Journal. The trend is deliberate, as indicated by the diction in a recent letter from the managing editor (boldface added):

Dear Reader,

The Wall Street Journal [sic – no italics] has a crucial role each weekday to inform readers about the world and the world of business, but our personality has always been a tad different on weekends. From this Saturday, that personality will be distinctly different, with a refurbished front page and two new sections that will provide you with an entire weekend’s worth of compelling and amusing reading.

A features section will offer a combination of great reportage, original writing and unpredictable wit, and include a book review lift-out that will carry comprehensive critiques of the books you should read and warn you about those tomes better left on the shelf.


An even better indicator of the paper’s eagerness to become cutesy is its cutesy, bromidic tagline, “live in the know” [sic – no caps or punctuation].

The Takeaway: Don’t let careless diction distract your readers. For example, don’t use cutesy language to describe your company or yourself, unless you’re in a cute business such as baby clothes. If you distract your readers with precious language, they may infer that you are not a serious grown-up.

See disclaimer.

No comments:

Post a Comment