Radio 4’s Word of Mouth did a whole half hour on journalese, in which I barely plugged the book at all.
This extract from the still-being-written next book seemed timely…
Would They Lie To You?, the follow-up to the quite-well-selling Romps, Tots & Boffins… is out now. The Mail called it “brutally funny”.
Where Romps dealt with the sometimes-shifty language of newspapers, Lie deals with, well, everyone else. In particular, the people who want your time, your money or your votes.
You can think of it as a spotters’ guide to evasion, or as a handbook for success.
You can see some extracts here, and what people think of it here. I also Storified part of the creative process.
Where is drunken vandalism always a “booze-fuelled rampage?”
Where is everyone in uniform a “hero” and every thief “heartless”?
Where are market towns always “bustling” and villages “sleepy”?
Journalese is the language of news. It’s a strange language, a little like English. I’ve been working around native speakers for two decades, living as one of them and learning their ways, and in my book, Romps, Tots and Boffins – The Strange Language of News, I make their secrets available to the public for the first time. You don’t need to thank me.
You can read some of the funny bits, see what people are saying or just take my word for it that it’s a “must read laugh-a-minute page-turner” and buy it from Waterstones, or The Book Depository, or your local bookshop. Or, you know, order it from Amazon.
A Huffington Post piece in which I discover what “Sky sources” really means.
Matthew Engel reviews Romps for the FT, and concludes that you should buy it, and I should write a second edition. Hard to argue.
Ever wondered how political scandals progress? All is revealed:
“Die fremdsprachfaulen Engländer haben entdeckt, dass sie eine zweite Sprache beherrschen…”
I went on the BBC World Service, and offered them a view of London, through the eyes of a foreign correspondent fluent in journalese…