Cliché Corner Special Edition  | American Journalism Review
 AJR  Cliché Corner
From AJR,   September 2002

Cliché Corner Special Edition   

By Jill Rosen
Jill Rosen is AJR's assistant managing editor     


For the reporter who has everything, you might want to consider a nice, framed poster. 'Cause, apparently, one can never have too many of them. In fact, since mid-May, reporters have tossed hundreds upon hundreds of them into stories--references to poster children, poster adults--even poster pets. We almost had a poster nuclear family. Here's September's poster cliché:

Poster child (more than 500 references)
"[Martha Stewart] is being bludgeoned by the media, which for the past month have made her the poster child for corporate corruption."
Newsday

"It's boom time for Dilbert. I mean, he's the--he's kind of the poster child for the abused."
Dilbert creator Scott Adams on CNN's "Newsnight with Aaron Brown"

Poster boy (more than 400 references)
"And now to the real burning issue of the day: Which Anger Management poster boy is more of a chick magnet--homeboy Mark Wahlberg or risqué rapper Eminem?"
Boston Herald

"P. Diddy, who predated [R.] Kelly as the poster boy for music malevolence, is college-educated and hails from a middle-class home."
Los Angeles Times

"A column about the young father that year brought criticism from some who saw in him a poster boy for wanton promiscuity."
Washington Post

Poster girl (more than 50 references)
"Barbara Eden of the enviable flat tummy has gone from grantor of grown men's wishes to poster girl for the federal Drug Enforcement Administration."
Orlando Sentinel

"With her long, blond hair and her long, brown legs, Carrie Seger could be a poster girl for people who spend hours baking in the sun, slathered in tanning oil."
San Diego Union-Tribune

Poster boy for bad behavior (fewer than 10 references)
Poster man (fewer than 10 references)
Poster woman (fewer than 10 references)
Poster family (fewer than 10 references)
Poster dog (fewer than five references)
"Bob, a 5-year-old classic English bulldog...has become famous...for hunting down and carrying home discarded plastic soda bottles.... He has literally become the poster dog for an anti-litter campaign."
Bergen County, New Jersey's Record

Poster cat (none, sorry)
Poster bird (just one)
"B.J. is the poster bird for the Tampa Bay Parrotheads' line of sauces, appearing on labels adorning barbecue sauce, hot sauce and salad dressings."
Tampa Tribune

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