Making a jargon jar for the newsroom

Making a jargon jar for the newsroom

One of the things I've learned since starting to cover the education beat is that there are tons of specialized terms in the field, and usually outsiders have trouble figuring out what they mean.

Blog PhotoIt's my job as a reporter to explain things in normal English. Last week, Online Editor Mike Howie and I made a 20-cent bet about whether my a recent story I wrote would contain jargon.

It was a wash - he claims "facilitate" is jargon, I disagree. I kept my 20 cents but we started joking about needing a jargon jar in the newsroom. The idea is, it's sort of like a swear jar - only no one cares if you swear in the newsroom.

You include jargon in your story, you pay the Jargon Jar. When we have enough, we buy treats or have a party or do something fun.

So of course, I immediately started thinking of cool ways to make this jar.

I decided to take decaf coffee can (small, with a plastic lid that could be easily cut) and paint it with chalkboard paint. I wrote "Jargon Jar" on it with chalk, along with other jargon that we encounter on the job around the sides. Right now it says, "signage," "roadway" and "usage." Those are common ones - we change them to "signs," "road" and "use."

I used a knife to carefully cut a coin slot in the lid, and used homemade modge podge (a combination of Elmer's Glue-All and water) to decoupage newspaper scraps to it. It ended up crunchy and weird, though, so I pulled it all off this morning before I came to work.

It's kinda cute, don't you think?


Photo by N-G photographer Vanda Bidwell.


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prairiegourmet wrote on January 30, 2012 at 10:01 am

You should relay this idea to the local television station.  They could deposit funds every time they say "now" or " one area ___ ."  They could have one heckuva party with all the money collected.