It’s one of the worst clichés imaginable, yet you hear it just about every day: fled on foot. Absolutely no one says that except newscasters, although cops are trained by lawyers to write it that way on police reports. It’s become part of the lexicon of the language known as “journalese”, along with chestnuts like “transported to a local hospital”, “high rate of speed” (speed IS a rate, expressed usually as miles/hour), and the universal police blotter story tag, “the incident remains under investigation”.
The theory is that young reporters, who’ve never used any of these horrid clichés, hear it from the anchors and veteran reporters at their station, and think they should write that way.
Many award-winner news writers say you should, in almost every case, write like regular folks speak. Here are a few words on the topic, from one of those award-winning professionals.
Posted by Tim Morrissey