Journalists reveal most irritating PR jargon

Journalists across the UK and US have revealed the top ten most annoying pieces of jargon they find in emails and press releases from PRs, with “reach out” and “growthhacking” topping the list, according to a small poll conducted by Houston PR.

For three years, Houston PR has asked correspondents and editors in the UK and the US to identify words and phrases that annoy them the most once every quarter.

With some responses going into Houston’s How NOT To Guide to PR and some going into, the agency’s automated ‘jargon removal tool’, Houston founder Hamish Thompson collated a list of the most frequent answers received over the past three years and sent it to UK and US journalists last week as he asked them to vote for the worst.

Here’s the Houston PR list of the ten most annoying pieces of jargon in order of irritation (from most irritating to slightly less so):

  1. Reach out
  2. Growthhacking
  3. Onboarding
  4. Curate
  5. Circle back
  6. Synergy
  7. Empower
  8. Solutions
  9. De-layer
  10. Ecosystem

Thompson said that just outside the top ten were ‘bandwidth’, ‘robust’ and ‘evangelist’.

He also has a top tip for PRs. “If you are writing to a correspondent or editor, announce that you are ‘reaching out’ at your peril,” Thompson warned.

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