One of my pet peeves as a broadcaster is when people on the air don’t speak like real people. What was the last time you asked someone if they knew the weather for tomorrow and they said, “there’s a chance of precipitation” or “we’ll probably get some white stuff” when they meant it might rain or snow?
I once made a traffic reporter on my show stop saying “motorists, use caution,” because he would never say that to anyone if he weren’t on the air — he’d say “drivers, be careful.” There’s no real reason to remind people of that in the first place, I told him, but if he felt compelled to play the role of traffic nanny, he should at least do it in plain English. And while you’re at it, stop referring to a “vehicle” on the side of the road, when you can see from the helicopter or traffic cameras whether it’s a car or truck.
Bob Ingrassia has compiled a funny list of some of other words journalists use that people never say.