Hamlets are for Shakespeare, Not News Articles

Dear AP:

Please stop using the word “hamlet” when you mean “small town.” Say “small town,” or say, “Mena, a town of xxxx.” Do not say “hamlet.” When you say “western Arkansas hamlet,” I start picturing people in Victorian clothes saying, “Ye gads! Tis a bloody funnel cloud!” Unless your editors give you bonuses for slipping the titles of Shakespearean plays into articles, this is not necessary.

Also, AP and other reporters: You do not have to tell us when something is “tragic” or “brutal” or “terrifying.” This may be more of a creative writing rule than a journalism one, but show, don’t tell. If you have to tell them how tragic it is, then it must not be all that bad. Let the reader figure it out on their own.

All journalists have annoying habits, and I have to catch myself sometimes as well because hey, using random and kind of obscure words is fun. And really, tragifying of everything bugs me more than the hamlet-ting, honestly. But I am cranky today, so the first one gets a notice, too.

Other than that, have a merry weekend, and stay safe. Vocabulary snarking aside, this is some nasty weather. Tornadoes are gone from my neck of the woods, but are still terrorizing pastoral hamlets farther east.

Related: Some ignore sirens as tornado strikes Ark. hamlet(AP)



Filed under Mother Nature, News

2 responses to “Hamlets are for Shakespeare, Not News Articles

  1. bebehblog

    Dude, I took ONE class in college that required us to write and edit articles and pretty much the only thing they taught us was not to call things “tragic”.

    Happy Easter!

  2. Hilariously enough, there is a small town in NC called Hamlet. And it was the location of a tragic fire some years back at a chicken processing plant. I bet the AP had a field day with that.

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