Having just edited a client’s news release, I found David Meerman Scott’s recent post on weasel words, gobbledygook, jargon and other baloney quite topical! (Check it out for some awful examples of what not to write.)

The release I worked on started out in the classic dreadful style: “[Client name] [stock symbol], [standard long,  jargon-filled description of the company], is pleased to announce…”

First of all, the fact of announcing something is NOT the news. So put the “news” in the first sentence. If you absolutely must use the jargon-filled description (and yes, many companies will insist), at least put it in a later sentence.

Second, try to get rid of Frankenquotes — you know, those horrible, made-up statements that no living human would ever actually utter. You know that no self-respecting editor will ever use something full of weasel words anyway!

I rewrote sections of the release to follow these two points, although I don’t know yet if the client will go along with my suggestions. It seems this type of jargony release is firmly entrenched in the corporate world!