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Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Things I will not rant about this year: 4. THE MIXED METAPHOR

Mix it up, baby!

I've been getting a raft of poorly-written features from various financial freelances. Now this is surprising, because financial journalists are usually much more restrained in their use of vocabulary and what my former English teacher used to call 'purple prose'.

Compared to the political commentators in the national press, whose articles are more self-congratulatory than informative, or the fashion writers, who mistake criticism of the famous for investigative reporting, financial journalists usually provide you with a record of what has happened, combined with (hopefully) informed analysis of why.

Usual formula:
Banks have raised their dividends to XXX from XXX, because they want to do XXX. Sum Expert says: "XXXX".
The end.

Which is how it should be. But recently, I've been getting copy riddled with inaccurate information, plenty of Warren Buffets and - horror of horrors - mixed metaphors.

Given that the market is not great for freelancers at the moment, you would think they would show more determination to produce great copy and therefore secure repeat business.

Not so.

Here are some howlers for your delectation and amusement, and for my rantification:

The Three-way mixed metaphor:

"The investment and asset management world has been turned on its head and we are now charting unknown waters, but Elizabeth is confident that AGI has a winning strategy."

"Markets are good and investors are being urged to dive right in and bite off the top of the cherry."

And my favourite, a six-way mixed metaphor from someone whose writing many of you will read in the national press:

“Beating the herd to the punch can sometimes be the best recipe for success, and JPMorgan’s Indian Investment Trust is proof of this particular wisdom. While the rest of the world has woken up to India only relatively recently, JPMorgan’s Indian Investment Trust has been quietly beavering away there for years.”



Gorilla Bananas said...

Never use beaver-talk in investment advice - it is the pathway to irrational tumescence.

lilith said...

Daft as a brush! They really need to step up to the mantelpiece (as Rio Ferdinand would say)and grasp the nettle. Must be difficult sorting the sheep from the goats. Luckily you are as bright as a button and no doubt will plough your own furrow, Merms!

Anonymous said...


CityUnslicker said...

Freelance will be fine for the forseeable, trouble at mill in terms of investment both at Bloomies and the FT.

Mermaid of Moorgate said...

Hola GB, indeed, one should eschew all forms of purple verbiage x

Mermaid of Moorgate said...

Lilith - I think I ploughed my own furrow too deeply and now I'm falling into the pits of despair! I ought to knuckle down, pull my socks up, keep my chin up and my head down before leaping over the parapet to seize the day and square up to the enemy before I shout 'Carpe le donut' and rise to the rank of chief furrow-plougher.

Mermaid of Moorgate said...

Really CityUn? I am surprised - and a little unsurprised too - 47% loss emanating from the FT/FT Publishing side of the business. Would not be surprised if that isn't sold off by Pearson altogether. Annoyed now that I sold my pearson shares before the profit announcement. GR!

DirtCrashr said...

I suck at investing and worse even at work - but I think we have that copper bowl, and the whisk too. It makes a fine omelet if you do the whites first.

Mermaid of Moorgate said...

Haha! Well I hope you're not an investment manager then!

Calfy said...

I'm sorry Mermaid! At least the grown-ups can handle commas, adverbs and the pluperfect. I fear the redundancy of competence.