Tabloid news, decoded

If people are going to get their news from tabloids, they might as well have a cheat sheet.

Email making the rounds these days conveniently supplies internal translations, allegedly compiled by Daily News staffers, of tabloid rewrite desk terms. (No word from Snopes yet on the legitimacy of this claim.) Some highlights:

Feisty: Short, old female
Flamboyant: Homosexual
Controversial: He did something bad but we’re not sure what
Scandal-plagued: Guilty
Informed source: Reads the newspaper
Confirmed bachelor: see “Flamboyant”
War-torn: We can’t find it on a map
Venerable: Should be dead but isn’t (eg: Strom Thurmond)
Knowledgable observer: The reporter
Knowledgable observers: The reporter and the person at the next desk
Self-styled: Phony
Guru: see “Self-styled”
Screen Legend: Reporter is too young to remember his movies
Teen idol: Reporter is too old to have heard of him
According to published reports: We got scooped
Embattled: He should quit
All American: White kid caught in criminal act
Troubled youth: He lit something on fire

(Thanks to David Milofsky for the pointer.)


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