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The Saddest Phrases in Journalism

September 19th, 2018 · 1 Comment · Journalism, Sports Journalism

The inspiration for this comes from a gallery of “the saddest phrases in the English language”.

It ranges from single words (heartbroken, lonely, melancholy) to actual phrases (time for bed, if only, back to school).

It struck me that we might be able to put together a saddest list that would resonate with journalists.

Here are 10.

  1. “You’re late.” This covers a gamut of journalism situations. From arrival at the workplace to missing deadline.
  2. “The editor wants to see you in his office.” Can never be good news when it is phrased like that. If things go well, it’s a dressing down.
  3. “The publisher wants to see you in his office.” Like No. 2, above, but more dire.
  4. “(Name of competitor) had that yesterday.” It hurts in at least two ways. You got scooped on a story … and you didn’t even know it till you were told by co-workers.
  5. “The coach wants to see you, and bring your playbook.” Oops. That’s professional football, not professional journalism.
  6. “Daylight savings began last night.” And your watch was still on “standard” time. (I did this. On a spring Sunday in 1999 I wrote a minute-by-minute chronicling of the events of a fatal crash at California Motor Speedway … pretty well done … aside from the fact that every single time element was an hour off. Crushing. No, really.)
  7. “We need to cut your story in half. Can you do that please?”
  8. “We couldn’t wait; we closed the newspaper without you.” Individual disappointment as well as group opprobrium.
  9. “Last call was 10 minutes before you got here.”
  10. “We got a late ad; we have to kill your story.”
  11. … And one more. “Nobody told me about the food run.”


1 response so far ↓

  • 1 Ben // Oct 3, 2018 at 9:43 PM

    “We’ll see what we can do about that.”

    Nothing happens.

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