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The Plight of the Market Writer

Pity the poor market writers.

They slave every day covering the ebb and flow of the equity tides. Lately, it's been pretty exciting. But many days it's not. Yet it is essential. The market-write, typically updated 6 times a day rain or shine, is the bread and butter of business coverage. Yet the work is often under-appreciated.

And then, to add insult to injury, the market writer often gets slapped around for word choice. A 50-point drop: is that a "fall," "trip," or "stumble." How about a 100-200 point drop? "Dive" or "dip"? More than 300-points? "Rout"? "Sell-off"? When can we use "face plant"?

Of course if you have days like you did last week, the dreaded "c"-word gets considered. That's usually where a committee gets involved. The "c"-word means so much. A few arguments popped up in the business journalism community about some organizations that chose to use it last week, albeit with some qualifiers like "slow motion."

But arguments ensue about the little words too. One man's "dive" is another man's "stumble." And when you get reversals of direction, like we're apparently going to get this week, one woman's "rocket shot" is another woman's "jump." And readers often let us know when their thesaurus disagrees with ours.

Luckily we have a pretty good market writing crew around here. One of them in particular can handle market weirdness pretty well, owing to her work on a recently published book (New York Curiosities). But please, keep letting us know. If nothing else, we can always use more adjectives to consider.

Just pity the poor market writers.

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