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Romps, Tots and Boffins: The Strange Language of News [Kindle Edition]

Robert Hutton
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (37 customer reviews)

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Book Description

You may not recognise the phrase, but if you have ever picked up a paper you’ll have come across ‘journalese’. Essentially, it covers words and phrases that are only found in newspapers – whether tabloid or broadsheet. Without them, how would our intrepid journalists be able to describe a world in which late-night revellers go on booze-fuelled rampages, where tots in peril are saved by have-a-go heroes, and where troubled stars lash out in foul-mouthed tirades? When Rob Hutton began collecting examples of journalese online, he provoked a ‘Twitter storm’, and was ‘left reeling’ by the ‘bumper crop’ of examples that ‘flooded in’. He realized that phrases which started as shorthand to help readers have become a dialect which is often meaningless or vacuous to non-journalese speakers. In a courageous attempt both to wean journalists off their journalese habit, and provide elucidation for the rest of us, Romps, Tots and Boffins will catalogue the highs and lows of this strange language, celebrating the best examples (‘test-tube baby’, ‘mad cow disease’), marvelling at the quirky (‘boffins’, ‘frogmen’) and condemning the worst (‘rant’, ‘snub’, ‘sirs’). It will be a ‘must-read’ ‘page-turner’ that may ‘cause a stir’, ‘fuel controversy’, or even ‘spark’ ‘tough new rules’ in newsrooms.

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Review

Shortlisted for the Political Humour Book of the Year at the PaddyPower Political Book Awards 2014

Financial Times Gift Books of the Year
Sunday Times Books of the Year - Humour Roundup
Spectator Books of the Year - chosen by Matthew Parris



"great joy from Robert Hutton's Romps, Tots and Boffins. Never has the weird language of headlines been so wittily defined."--Libby Purves, 'books of the year', The Times

"Robert Hutton...has set himself up as the Dr Johnson of this strange, widely read, hardly spoken, language."--Matthew Engel, Financial Times

"I'm loving a little book just out by my fellow political journalist Rob Hutton. It's called Romps, Tots and Boffins: The Strange Language of News but is so much more than a hilarious compendium of the ghastly cliché to which our trade is prone. "--Matthew Parris, The Times

"An essential guide to finding out what you are reading about. Some people may dismiss this as a 'loo book' but, actually, it's so much more."--Ann Treneman, The Times

"A right romp"--Paul Dietrich, The Metro

"A fascinating code-breaker of the cliches, inanities and banalities which fill our newspapers. Or, if you prefer, 'News Secrets Revealed Leaving Bosses Shamefaced'. I'm not sure I dare write another word."--Nick Robinson

"Finally, I understand what my fellow journalists are writing about."--Simon Hoggart

"Long journey to Lib Dem Conference enlivened by Robert Hutton's journalese book, Romps, Tots + Boffins - hilarious, wonderful, + very true - a mini classic"--Andrew Sparrow, Guardian Politics blogger

"Very funny new book by Robert Hutton - "Romps, Tots + Boffins: the strange language of news" - a must-read page-turner"--Iain Martin, former editor of the Scotsman and Scotland on Sunday

"For readers, it promises to explain what journalists really mean. And for journalists, it also provides a guide to some of the hackneyed, arcane and clichéd phrases that are probably best avoided."--Axegrinder, Press Gazette

"an amusing dictionary of arcane hack-speak"--Michael Deacon, The Telegraph

"The world of journalism was rocked to its foundations last night as a top newsman claimed to have discovered the secret of 'journalese'." --John Rentoul, The Independent

About the Author

Robert Hutton has been UK political correspondent for Bloomberg since 2004; previously, he worked at the Mirror and Financial Times. Having read Artificial Intelligence and Computer Science at Edinburgh University, he is believed to be the only member of the Parliamentary Press Gallery to have built a rugby-playing robot. Arguably his most notable contribution to journalism has been the introduction of the 'news sandwich' to the political lexicon. He lives in south east London with his wife and sons.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 4762 KB
  • Print Length: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Elliott & Thompson; annotated edition edition (19 Sept. 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00DY0UACQ
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • : Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (37 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #73,773 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

As UK political correspondent for Bloomberg, Robert Hutton can be seen wandering into shot on 24-hour news, or phoning in copy in the background during prime ministerial trips abroad. It was during one such trip, waiting for a 4am plane in Jordan, that he tweeted a list of words only used by journalists. That was to become the start of his Journalese collection, Romps, Tots And Boffins.

It was his experience of being not-exactly-misled on a daily basis that inspired his second book, Would They Lie To You. It's a guide to "uncommunication" - the art of not saying what you mean.

Before joining Bloomberg in 2004, he worked at the Mirror and Financial Times. Having read Artificial Intelligence at Edinburgh University, he is believed to be the only member of the Parliamentary Press Gallery to have built a rugby-playing robot. Arguably his most notable contribution to journalism has been the introduction of the 'news sandwich' to the political lexicon. The best piece of advice he was ever given was during a visit to Tripoli: "That's my M4 by your leg. If I grab it, duck." He lives in south east London with his wife and sons.

You can find out more at www.roberthutton.co.uk or www.facebook.com/RobDotHutton

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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The journey of journalese 28 Sept. 2013
Format:Hardcover
I rarely take time out of my day to write a review on amazon but I must say this book is well worth picking up, if not for yourself then as a great stocking filler!

I never really gave much thought into the origin of phrases such as 'mad cow disease' or the fact that the scientific term may be something different.

Also love the fact that the language of journalese is never complete. I constantly find myself coming up with new phrases which I will be sure to pass onto Robert Hutton for volume II.

Get buying people.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Incisive and an entertaining read 14 Oct. 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
"'Coffers' – where organisations of which we disapprove keep their money"

Hutton has cleverly identified the way that newspapers use language (often language never found outside of newspapers) to suit their agenda, and provides an entertaining guide to decoding it. A great book to dive into occasionally, especially when irritated with the media! So always.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Insightful, educational and very funny 26 Sept. 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Any follower of news is going to instantly resonate with Rob Hutton's brilliant explanation of the language of newspapers.

This is an affectionate book, written by an insider who clearly loves journalism while being highly attuned to its oddities and idiosyncrasies. The result is both illuminating and extremely funny. I laughed out loud on nearly every page.

Highly recommended.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Every journalist should read this 29 Oct. 2013
Format:Hardcover
This is simply the funniest book on journalism I've ever read and every journalist should read it.

If you are a journalist or a media studies student, buy it. If you love a journalist, buy it for them. If neither apply, I think it'll still make you laugh - and probably horrify you in places too.

Hutton has a brilliant ear for the language of news and an insider's knowledge of how newspapers work. So this is not just an exhaustive list of journalists' jargon: every definition is funny because it exposes, in our own words, the arcane or hyperbolic vocab we use to turn something into a story.

The book is divided into lots of short sections covering every part of a paper - from crime to the Royals to sport. This makes it very dippable, although I read it straight through in two sittings, thrilled to recognise my tribal language.

Can't recommend it enough.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliantly funny 10 Oct. 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I cried with laughter at Rob Hutton's best definitions of journalists' words. Romps, Tots and Boffins is very clever and very funny. Enjoy.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Romps, Tots and Boffins 14 Nov. 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Absolutely fantastic. So so accurate, been waiting ages for a book like this covering something that's irritated me for years.
Brilliant

I certainly wont be jamming any hotlines or launching a foul mouthed tirade!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hilarious 26 Jan. 2014
By Claretta VINE VOICE
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
What a great little book - if you are a regular reader of any British newspaper (not just the tabloids) you'll find yourself hooting with laughter at the accuracy of its observations. Well done Rob Hutton; a clever and original idea, beautifully executed.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining romps 25 Nov. 2013
Format:Kindle Edition
An excellent insight into why journalists use the language the way they do and what they really mean. A great way to while away a wet afternoon
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Hilarious!
Published 12 days ago by Carolyn Rowland
5.0 out of 5 stars A great read. You won't be disappointed
Enjoyable and funny book. Definitely recommend. Interesting learning the bizarre semantics of tabloid journalism.
Published 3 months ago by M E WORRALL/REBECCA PAVEY
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
This short read is hilarious in places . Very entertaining.
Published 4 months ago by J. Prince
5.0 out of 5 stars Very accurate, very funny
Brilliant. Cried with laughter at the explanations of expressions journalists use to make a story. Also interesting to think about how we go along with them without questioning... Read more
Published 5 months ago by Georgina
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant incisive writing that cleverly deconstructs the language of...
Hilarious from cover to cover. Brilliant incisive writing that cleverly deconstructs the language of the UK print media. Cannot recommend this book highly enough.
Published 6 months ago by amv
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
OK without being outstanding
Published 8 months ago by Peter Bullock
5.0 out of 5 stars A very funny book and great for dipping
Until I read this, I had not realised how many of these journalistic shorthand phrases they were.

A very funny book and great for dipping.
Published 9 months ago by Peers Carter
4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable
An amusing list of words and phrases used by journalists. I had most fun thinking of my own favourites and waiting for them to appear. Most did!
Published 10 months ago by Shez
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
Great reference guide, but would've preferred more commentary about the provenance and usage of various phrases.
Published 10 months ago by Mr. R. J. Knowles
4.0 out of 5 stars A Humourous Dictionary of Journalese
A really interesting commentary on the language used by journalists. Well worth reading. The chapters are themed, e.g. Politics, Sex, Death etc. Read more
Published 10 months ago by James Kemp
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