To get good insightful answers, how the question is framed matters. I missed an opportunity on Thursday
Public trust in journalism is beyond broken, it is basically non-existent. To be effective, journalism must secure the trust of a super-majority of the public, a bare majority is not enough.
Which brings me to one of the reasons I don’t trust journalism, the overuse of adjectives such as prestigious, controversial, dramatic, and such.
Baltimore Sun editor John E. McIntrye makes a great argument against the use of prestigious in his latest post:
The first part of the argument was that when a thing genuinely possesses prestige, people know it. You don’t have to call a Nobel Prize “prestigious.” The second part was that if people don’t know it, a mere adjective will not confer prestige.
Then @PatWallace05 responded, “But if I’m writing about China for a US audience, they may need to be told that Fudan is a ‘prestigious’ university.”
I suggested that it would be better to indicate why the university has prestige. Is it highly selective? Is it a school for children of the Party elite? Does it produce Nobel laureates? A short phrase would tell the reader more than a threadbare adjective.
Read his full discussion here: http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/language-blog/bal-prestigious-has-lost-its-cachet-20160520-story.html