Newspeak

Today is my last day as a journalist.

Sad, I know. But I’m moving over to the political world to be the Deputy Director of Communications for the Borough President. So I’ll still be dabbling in journalism (making headlines instead of writing them).

I’m not sure what I’m going to do with the blog. I may repurpose it based on my experiences in my new job. I’m sure I’ll have a ton of stories to tell!

But until then, I will leave you with this last post about how news has infiltrated every part of my life:

I’ve written a little bit about “newspeak,” or how we talk in news. We make up words and terms all the time. And they have become so much a part of me that I end up using them all the time, even in non-news situations.

For example, a word I learned in the news biz is “efforting.” Now, “efforting” is not technically a word. Effort isn’t a verb, but we made it one. Basically, efforting means that  you’re trying to set up something. So we’ll say that a reporter is efforting a story on a new program designed to help the homeless. It means that the story hasn’t exactly been set up yet, and it may or may not come through.

At first, I hated the word efforting. I was annoying that we made up a word where there didn’t need to be one. We could have said “trying to set up” or something. But eventually, efforting entered my lexicon, and now I use it nonstop. I currently use it in situations that have nothing to do with news. If I’m a bit tired, I’ll lay in my bed and say I’m efforting a nap. If I see a cute guy, I’ll think to myself that I’m efforting a date with him. Despite my initial dislike, efforting turned out to be one of my favorite words.

Another similar term I use all the time is “possible.” We don’t really use the term possibility, we use the term possible, or for short, poss. You might be efforting a poss story to put cameras in a park where a lot of crime has happened. In real life I’ll look at a menu and decide which item is a poss (I guess that would mean I’m efforting my dinner?)

A different weird term I’ve taken on is “I’ll fix it in post.” For those not in the know, this means that you will fix whatever problem is happening after you film in by editing it. I have begun to use this in a totally non-filmic way. This began one day when I took a shower and then decided to take a nap with wet hair. If you’ve ever slept on wet hair, you know that it doesn’t usually dry in an aesthetically pleasing way. In fact, my hair tends to take on the shape of whatever pillow I lay it down on. As I was drifting off to sleep, this occurred to me, but I thought to myself, “I’ll fix it in post.” Meaning that I would have to work some magic on my hair when I woke up. Since then, I have used it for all sorts of things (usually having to do with having to do something to my face, hair, or body to make it look more acceptable).

I’m sure that despite leaving the news business, I will still use these terms, as well as many others in my daily life. You can take the girl out of the newsroom, but you can never really take the newsroom out of the girl.

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Crazy Callers, Part 2

CALL #1

Racist Lady: I’m in a nursing home in Staten Island, and I need your help. There are Arabics working here. When I was younger I was abducted by an Arabic and forced to marry him. I luckily escaped from him but I know these Arabics are out to get me.

Me: Have they done anything to threaten you?

RL: No, but they will, because they are Arabics. All Arabics know each other. I can tell they are out to get me.

Me: But they haven’t done anything to hurt or threaten you.

RL: No, but I can hear them talking in their own language. I’m sure they are talking about me and what they’re going to do to me.

Me: Ma’am, if they haven’t done anything to you, we can’t do anything to help.

RL: But they’re going to get me! I know they are plotting!

Me: Maybe you should change nursing homes.

RL: I can’t. They will find me there too. Arabics are everywhere. You need to help me.

Me: We can’t do anything to help you. If you feel like your life is in danger, you should call the police.

RL: Okay. I’ll call the police.

 

CALL #2

(This took place the day after New Year’s Day)

Garbage Guy: I’m calling because I didn’t get my garbage collected yesterday. You didn’t say anything on the news about garbage collection being suspended.

Me: Sir, yesterday was a holiday. I’m pretty sure they don’t collect on New Year’s Day.

GG: Well there’s garbage everywhere! No one told me there wasn’t collection.

Me: They never collect on holidays. Hold on, let me check.

(Within five seconds I googled and found that garbage collection had been suspended the previous day)

Me: I just checked. There was no collection yesterday because of the holiday.

GG: Well, you didn’t say that on the news!

Me: I’m sure we did. We always announce that stuff. Maybe you just missed it.

GG: No, that’s not right! You didn’t say it! And now there’s garbage everywhere! Next time you have to say it!

(The guy had started screaming by this point…so I decided not to tell him that it’s not the news’s job to tell him when to put out his garbage, and that he could have checked himself by looking it up)

Me: Okay, thank you, goodbye.