Icon Abuse

“Walter Cronkite, the iconic anchorman…”

“Michael Jackson, the icon of pop stars…”

“Ed McMahon, the iconic second banana…”

These and other recent deaths have forced me to suspend the use of “icon” and “iconic” from my newswriting.  I was going to go on at length about icon abuse, but Joe Queenan beat me to the punch in the Wall Street Journal.  If you don’t have time to read his article (and I hope the network anchors did), at least check out the definition of icon.

It’s a very solid word.  It sounds good.  It makes the writer feel smart. 

But icon now joins “shocking” on the long list of words most abused by newswriters.  I will say shocking if I find something to be truly shocking, but that really doesn’t happen too often, much to the consternation of our producers and promo people.

And don’t get me started on all the traditional nicknames for Connecticut’s cities and towns.  (Elm City, Hat City, Thread City, etc…and throw in “Big Apple” for good measure.)  Most of them don’t even apply anymore.

I’m such a joy to work with.  Really.


About Gerry

I've been covering Connecticut news and sports since 1974. I know, I don't look that old.
This entry was posted in Diatribes, Media, Noticed, People and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

12 Responses to Icon Abuse

  1. My pet peeve is ” completely destroyed. ” As in the house was completely destroyed by fire. The word destroyed says it all. Completely is completely unnecessary.

  2. I always hated when news reports said:

    Burned beyond recognition…

  3. Linda says:


    I’ve said it once, twice, and I will continue to say it – I ABSOLUTELY LOVE YOUR BLOGS! You make me smile, you make me laugh and I am so on your wavelength we could be related.

    Thank you for every single word you write – today, tomorrow, yesterday . . . I think you are phenomenal!

    I started copying your blog, posting it to an email and sending it to my husband each morning so he can see why I’m always sharing “Gerry stories” with him.

    Have a great day!


  4. Gerry says:

    Well that’s a lovely compliment to wake up to. Thanks Linda!

  5. Linda says:

    This Linda agrees with the previous Linda. Your entries are entertaining, thought provoking, educational, and just plain interesting. As far as being a joy to work with, I hope your up and coming reporters and anchors (I almost said younger…..:) are paying attention and learning from the fine example you set.

  6. Gerry says:

    I’m just lovin’ Lindas today!

  7. Mike says:

    Gerry, “You ‘da man!!”


  8. #2 says:

    You are fabulous, your keen wit, and sense of whats important, and whats not important is a stark commentary on today’s society. Keep up the good work.

  9. Gerry says:

    #2, you have nothing to do today, do you?

  10. daredevyl283 says:

    I’ve always hated when reporters said: Killed them dead. Isn’t the definition of kill “to put one another to death?”

  11. lori says:

    I will say it always, you always put a smile on my face, always. Don’t ever stop being YOU, they just don’t make em anymore like you.

  12. Lou says:

    Right on the nose as usual, Gerry!

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