Wednesday, August 29, 2001

What next? First, cell phone conversations in restaurants and now people who don't remove their phone headsets even to eat.

I realize I just wrote two sentences with no verbs (and I can't figure out where the commas go). Omitting verbs is a well-established trend in television newscasting, as reported by--but, thankfully, not usually adopted by--The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer.
TERENCE SMITH: Today in Washington, around the country, television reporters, talking like this.

JOHN KING, CNN: Those negotiations continuing. Mr. Bush speaking to reporters earlier today: Suddenly optimistic.

TERENCE SMITH: Short, staccato bursts.

ANDREA MITCHELL, NBC News: Gary Condit today, the first sighting in weeks.

TERENCE SMITH: Fragments, not sentences.

[Reporters] JIM AVILA, NBC News: No natural enemies in North America, lives most of its life underwater.

TERENCE SMITH: Dropping most verbs, everything present tense.

CORRESPONDENT: A man alone as his wife sits in jail, admitting to killing her five children. Rest of online transcript

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