At the end of the day, you can't beat a cliché

All journalism students may be urged to "avoid clichés like the plague".

But new research by business news and information provider Factiva has revealed that many journalists cannot resist the temptation to fall back on well-worn phrases.

The research looked at UK newspapers and websites between January and June 2006, and found that "at the end of the day" was the most popular cliché — with 3,347 mentions.

Next was "in the red" (1,877), "in the black" (1,620), "level playing field"

(1,264), "time and again" (819), "wealth of experience" (724), "time is running out" (654) and "clean bill of health" (462).

Other old favourites still cropping up frequently were "split second", "carnival atmosphere" and "eleventh hour".

The research claims that Newsquest Media's local newspapers are the most likely to use the phrase "at the end of the day", with 288 mentions between January and June. Next was BBC News Online (160), then PA's newswire (154)

and finally The Guardian (117).

Journalism trainer and newspaper consultant David Scott said: "I don't think there is a hard and fast rule, and if the readers like them, I don't see anything wrong with them — if used sparingly.

"Some of them are vastly over-used.

There the old favourites, things like ‘pennies from heaven' for a church fundraising story.

"But it is largely the industry and English teachers who don't like them, I don't think the readers really care.

Sometimes you find the same cliché used several times in the same paper, which is too much, but otherwise it's really a matter of style."

Other snippets uncovered by the News of the World columnist Ulrika Jonsson has agreed to be "auctioned" for charity at this year's London Press Club ball.

Guests at the press ball will be able to bid for lunch with Ulrika in the auction to be conducted by Christopher Biggins on Thursday, 12 October at the Natural History Museum.

All proceeds from the auction will go to the Journalists' Charity.

The winner will join Swedish-born Ulrika and a friend for lunch at the top celebrity restaurant, The Ivy.

Ball chairman Philippa Kennedy praised TV star Jonsson for being a "bloody good sport".

"She was a bit shocked by the idea at first, but when she heard it was for the Journalists' Charity she agreed. It's great to get support like this from a star columnist and presenter."

Peugeot is donating a top-of-therange 207 as the star prize in the auction. The ball is also being sponsored by Camelot, who will host the champagne reception.

The ball was revived last year after a gap of six years and was initially scheduled to take place on 7 July, the day of the London bombings.

It eventually took place in September and raised £32,500 for the Journalists'

Charity, having lost nearly £20,000 because of the postponement.

Lord Rothermere has agreed to be the ball's patron and he and Lady Rothermere will attend.

ITV News' chief political correspondent Daisy McAndrew will host the evening.

Tickets for the press ball can be obtained by contacting Entire Affair on 020 8429 7520 or emailing the address lpc@entireaffair.com.

research also included the fact that the cliché "in the black" was most used on the Birmingham Mail, and least used on the Liverpool Echo.

The survey also found that financial turns of phrase were more popular in the press in January to June 2006 than in the previous six months. While "in the red" and "in the black" were the second and third most used phrases this time around, in the six months before, the top three clichés found by Factiva were again "at the end of the day", followed by "level playing field" and then "wealth of experience".

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