Mark Memmott has one of the most important jobs in our newsroom: he’s the designated noodge who makes sure that we get our facts right (as ombudsman Elizabeth Jensen details) and our language unvarnished and clear. He quotes Rick Holter from member station KERA on avoiding euphemisms for death:
“Any time you use one of those euphemisms on air or online (except in a direct quote) to ease the pain of the family or respect the person, you’re basically saying this death is different from others; it could be heard or read as this person’s death is more sensitive or valuable than others.
“We shouldn’t be making those judgments.
“Also, we follow Associated Press style, which is unequivocal about this:
“‘Don’t use euphemisms like passed on or passed away except in a direct quote.’
“So remember: People die. And we respect all those deaths equally.”
Thank you, Mark, for keeping us in line.