From jargon to vernacular


By Travis Mayfield

Every workplace has its jargon.

Ask a Microsoft employee the last time they were ‘reorged’ or try referring to a Starbucks employee as anything other than a ‘partner’ and you’ll know what I mean.
In the world of broadcast news we of course have lots of jargon.
A television story that includes video edited together with multiple sound bites and taped narration by a reporter is called a ‘package.’ 
A guest who joins the radio anchors either live in the studio or live on the phone for an interview is called a ‘liver’ (unlike what it looks like it is, pronounced live-er).
My mom was so proud of herself after six months in my first job out of college as a TV news producer at KECI-TV in Missoula Montana when she used the acronym VOSOT (voice over sound on tape) correctly in a sentence.
Most of the jargon we use in the newsroom has no application in the outside world. However there is one word ‘created’ by news folk that I think deserves to catch on and be used widely by everyone.
That word is efforting.

Even as I type it my spell check is trying to autocorrect, but I am taking great delight in NOT allowing that to happen.

I love the term efforting.

The term is used to describe a story, an angle or an interview a crew is trying to get.

Here’s how it can be used in a sentence:

Producer to a reporter mid-afternoon: How’s your 6:00 pm lead story going?

Reporter: I’ve confirmed the facts, my photographer already shot the video and now we are efforting an interview with the victim of the crime.

I know the grammar experts HATE this term.  The Urban Dictionary even uses the term to mock newscasters:

A made up word used only by newscasters to show off that they're doing the job they're paid to do. A poor attempt to make the word ‘effort’ into a verb. To make it sound like something simple is tough to do, so they’re making extra effort. Often used as a stall when a report isn’t ready.

But to the critics I say, this term has real potential for everyone.

Here’s how I can see it being used outside the newsroom:

Wife to husband in advance of wedding anniversary: Have you made reservations at my favorite restaurant yet?

Husband: No not yet, I am efforting them.

(man that husband sounds like he's seriously working to get that reservation!)


Father to high school age son: Have you finished your research paper?

Son: I’m still efforting some final data and I can best do that over at my friend's house.

(well if you are efforting the data then I HAVE to let you go right?)

Efforting just SOUNDS like you are working hard.  It implies active effort.  It is so much better than its sad-sack synonym trying.

Seriously if you tell someone you are trying you've already admitted you're going to fail.  But if you tell someone you are efforting who can argue with all that effort?

So what do you think? Can you help me make efforting a real word used in common vernacular?

Maybe someday the folks at Merriam-Webster might even relent and add it to the dictionary.

Until then, I’ll be efforting it.

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