Every journalist knows the sight of a newsroom full of flustered and bedraggled reporters cursing every tick of the second hand as the clock pushes on mercilessly towards a deadline.

Every news editor and sub knows that many of those reporters have only themselves to blame.

Reporters have wasted countless hours of valuable newsroom time typing out needlessly complex sentences, empty cliches and other alphabetic fodder. Countless more has been spent expunging the same before the stories can be published.

For those of you hoping to make your mark as distinguished and efficient writers, the Guardian has produced a helpful guide to the most common literary crimes committed in the name of journalism.

Having (shamefully) committed several of these - and been burdened with the late-night responsiblity of fixing many more - I can vouch for their accuracy.

Those of you new to newswriting should particularly note the strife caused by the words "that" and "local" - many news editors are allergic to both and can suffer bouts of sudden and extreme profanity if exposed to them.

To that list I would add "facility" and "people" as words which take up space without adding any value. Are there any others which should be banned from the vocabularies of newswriters?

 

Comments

Currently. Can you find a sentence in which its usage is essential?

Ian Reeves is head of the Centre for Journalism

I'm going to add famous to the list, too. If you need to say it, they're not famous...

Rob is a lecturer in reporting and writing at the Centre for Journalism

The Guardian's guide to better writing