The continuing adventures of Beau Yarbrough

What We Say vs. What We Mean (JOKE!)

Wednesday, December 7, 2005, 8:49
Section: Journalism

Years ago, at the News Messenger, this list was something that was faxed from newsroom to newsroom. It was offline for a bunch of years, but it looks like, earlier this year, someone found an old fax and put it online. The list is now traveling around journalism Web sites and mutating as it goes. I’ve seen versions that now reference Google, for instance, which didn’t exist the last time I saw this list.

Here’s a copy of the list that’s closest to the one I remember. Snagged from here, who snagged it from somewhere else, and so on, and so on. This one’s longer than I remember, and “tits out to here” certainly wasn’t in the old list. Still, it’s funny. Use of these terms in past, present or future editions of the Hesperia Star do not necessarily line up to the humorous definitions listed below:

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
Scrappy: a runt
Beloved: Someone who’s been around so long no one can stand them any more (eg: Bob Hope)

(The original ended here, as I recall.)

Hero firefighter: He put out a fire
Hero cop: He got killed
Honor student: Dead kid registered for classes somewhere
Recently: We lost the press release
First in the modern history of: no Nexis entries
Never: no clips
Source who spoke on condition of anonymity: flack
Prestigious: has indoor plumbing
Exclusive neighborhood/school/club: the reporter can’t get in
Mean streets: slums
Street-wise: Hasn’t been hit by a bus so far
Allegedly: He did it but we can’t prove it
Shocking revelation: leaked on a slow news day
Gang: a group of white kids
Wolf pack: a group of black kids
Highly placed source: one who would talk
Supermodel: her picture was printed somewhere
Beautiful: a woman who’s been savagely murdered
Blond: see “beautiful”
Reportedly: we stole this bit of information
Intensely private: Not promoting anything right now
Rarely interviewed: Promoting something right now
High-brow: boring
Family Values: right wing idiot
Progressive: left wing idiot
Couldn’t be reached for comment: the reporter didn’t call until after 5 p.m.
Legendary: about to die
Unclear, uncertain, unknown at press time: no one will tell us
Plucky: someone who is very, very young, very, very old, or very, very short who is ambulatory
Temblor: Reporter has a thesaurus
Brutally raped: raped
Savagely murdered: murdered
Celebrity: He has a publicist
Superstar: He has a publicist and an agent
Tony neighborhood: has no McDonald’s
Modest, well-kept home: at least the cockroaches are dead
Exclusive: No one else returned the flack’s calls
Investigating: waiting for someone to drop a dime
Gentleman bandit: he wore shoes instead of sneakers
Police task force: cops who were working on no-publicity cases yesterday
Elite: see prestigious
Conflagration: what was a fire in the first paragraph, a blaze in the second and an inferno in the third
Outspoken: Rude man
Strident: Rude woman
Effervescent: She won’t shut up
Shapely: face like a mud fence
Full-figured: tits out to here
Statuesque: Tits out even further
Zaftig: fat
Diminutive: under 5 feet tall
Petite: emaciated
Sexy: better looking than reporter’s mate
Dogged by character issue: He screwed a floozy
Political Action Committee contribution: bribe
Moderate: fence straddler
Long-time companion: they had sex
Socialite: woman without job who lives between 57th and 86th street, west of Lex. and east of Fifth
Heiress: see above, but able to hire a pricy divorce lawyer
Good Samaritan: Too stupid to run away
Innocent by-stander: Too slow to run away
Tearful: Could have been crying
Choked up: Definitely could have been crying
Weeping: Tear spotted in one eye
Entrepreneur: Hasn’t made it yet, but we’re doing a nice story about him
Mogul: Has made it, and we’re doing a hatchet job
Mega-mogul: Has made it, and is in process of losing it
Activist: Will talk to press
Stunned: couldn’t give a decent quote
Dapper: Hasn’t bought new clothes in 20 years
Hot button issue: only editors care about it
Towing industry expose: editor got a parking ticket
“with wire services”: no original reporting whatsoever – we just changed the lede

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