EYES ON THE NEWS
A cold February morning last year, I was woken up by a call from then Crimson Managing Editor Brian Hecht. "Iraq is giving in," he said. "The war is going to end. We need to do an extra."
I rushed to 14 Plympton and read the latest accounts from the Associated Press newswire. Armed with several printouts, I proceeded to the Adams Dining Hall for a "reaction" story.
"The war might end," I asked. "How do you feel?"
Unlike the naive Crimson staff, Adams diners had their doubts. I got answers like this: "I'm skeptical, but it sounds like a good start."
Back at the Crimson, Ira E. Stoll and I wrote a headline, "At Breakfast, Students Upbeat, Cautious." It was classic newspaper doublespeak: cover all bases...if necessary, say nothing.
This article was the cause of my very own parody in the Lampoon and the source of newsroom jokes for a year.
I've since found, though, that I'm not the only lazy reporter in the world. Here are some gems from the world of news.
New York City has always been considered a strong bastion of support for Robert Abrams. So, the mood here is upbeat, but is becoming increasingly more cautious as the minutes and hours tick on, and we have not yet had either a concession speech from Robert Abrams, or a victory speech from Alfonse D'Amato. Charles Feldman CNN, November 3,1992
HARRISBURG--If Republican Sen. Arlen Specter has a special game plan for the remaining days of the campaign before Tuesday's election, he's not saying...The campaign seems upbeat, but cautious. Brad Bumstead Gannet News Services, October 30, 1992
On economic matters, Bush was upbeat but cautious in light of past errors in forecasting by the administration. "We've been through this long, slow recession. We're growing a little bit now as a country. In my view, we are poised for a good recovery," he said. John W. Mashek The Boston Globe, July 22, 1992
Despite Cautious Buying, Stores Upbeat; Post-Thanksgiving Sales Top Estimates The Boston Globe, December 2, 1991
Gold and platinum pushed higher in modest trade on the London bullion market with an upbeat, but cautious resumption of US trading after Friday's holiday. Financial Times, July 7, 1992
Generally, attendees at the convention were upbeat, expressing more than the usual degree of "cautious optimism." On the eve of the convention, most discount store chains were reporting double-digit percentage sales gains for the Discount Store News, June 1, 1992
Trading so far this year has been encouraging in all areas says chairman John Parkinson, but after similar optimism last year he is cautious about being too upbeat. Even so, market expectations are for profits to rebound to pounds 2.8m. The shares, at 65p are on a forward PE of 11, which leaves little to go for. Financial Times, March 20, 1992
Reaction to a week-long series of Israeli trade presentations [in Japan] was positive but extremely guarded...The Israelis, while cautious, were more upbeat. Laura Stern The Jerusalem Post, March 9, 1992
Mr. Lamont was playing the traditional Chancellor's role of scapegoat. "If he is cautious, he is accused of being gloomy; if he is slightly upbeat, he is accused of being complacent."
Ministers accept that the recovery will be slower than they had hoped and maintain that Britain's economic problems are part of a global recession. While John Major's new year message is expected to be cautiously optimistic, senior colleagues want to avoid giving the impression that the upturn [will be dramatic]. Philip Webster The Times of London, December 30, 1991