My first day at the Ridgewood News about a hundred years ago I was introduced to the copy editor, Harry Robert. Harry was an 83-year-old retiree from the copy desk at The New York Times, and I have never had a better editor.
He took me aside and said, “Rebecca, I want to give you the Harry Robert School of Journalism.”
I waited for him to impart some arcane wisdom. And he did: “Don’t say ‘reside’ when you want to say ‘live.’ And don’t say ‘purchase’ when you want to say ‘buy.'”
Now, whenever we get a new recruit, I give him or her the Harry Robert School of Journalism.
Sure, some “purchases” and “resides” slip in, but we do try to obey the “KISS rule of journalism”: Keep It Simple, Sweetheart.