Tuesday, September 02, 2014. Last Update: Tue 3:20 PM EST

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Articles by Merrill Perlman | Email the Author

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Descriptions that deserve respect, or not

We love to modify things, to make them as descriptive or as recognizable as possible. It’s not just a house,... More

Call Me ‘Al’

Another confusing suffix

Is an appliance “electric” or “electrical”? Is Sarah Palin visiting “historic” sites or “historical” sites? Is being “politic” the same... More

Appositive Negatives

Some things are not unique

Last week, we talked about setting a parenthetical description off with commas in the grammatical phenomenon known as an “appositive.”... More

Negative Appositives

Phrases set off by commas

Commas are wonderful tools. They tell a reader to pause, as this one did. They can also tell a reader... More

Name-Calling

Why descriptions are better than labels

Arnold Schwarzenegger had sex with a woman who was not his wife, and that woman gave birth to their child.... More

Out of the Museum

“Curate” gets a new life

Thirty years ago, the only people who were “curators” worked in galleries or museums, deciding what pieces from the presumably... More

Failure to Launch

Adding “ing” makes a noun, or not

When the “launch” of the space shuttle Endeavor finally occurs, many “posts” will appear on blogs and news sites around... More

Hyphen-ation

A little mark can make a big difference

During the recent gathering of the American Copy Editors Society, a lot of “hyphen” jokes made the rounds. One was... More

Important News

Some “most important” notes on adverbs

Writers, rejoice! it’s perfectly acceptable to tell people what’s most important by saying “most importantly….” Many people were taught that... More

Balance Due

A change because of usage

Some grammar battles have been fought for years, and many have been lost. (See “hopefully.”) Here’s another one over the... More

Just Among Us…

Betwixt “between”

Rules tell us what to do, and require no thought. Stop at a red light, or risk getting a ticket.... More

Boing!

Springing to the past

Spring has sprung The grass is riz; I wonder where the birdies is. That little ditty, or variations of it,... More

Less is Fewer

Counting on grammar rules

More and more, fewer people use “less” and “fewer” the way the language gods intended. “There are less people here... More

Taking Dictator-tion

Not-so-subtle clues

Kevin Adams wondered whether journalists are buying in to U.S. foreign policy terminology, subliminally or not. “I’ve noticed that NPR... More

In Style

AP makes more changes

Last Monday, you could have written an “e-mail” to your friend in “Calcutta,” checked for a response on your “smart... More

False Tidals

Not-quite words for natural disasters

Disasters bring out the best in journalism and journalists, and the cataclysmic events in Japan are no different. But in... More

Women’s Suffixes

Making some nouns more feminine

If you die in some states and your son is appointed to handle your estate, he is the “executor.” If... More

Mentee Fresh

Some notes on “protégés,” “mentors,” and manatees

When you have a “mentor,” what are you (aside from in need of advice)? Before the sixties, you probably would... More

Rotary Club

Old phone terms hang on

Some words outlast the things they were coined to accompany, simply because there’s no good alternative. When you write an... More

Indescribable

‘Nondescript’ says more than ‘plain’

Bob Kamman of Arizona writes: “Am I the only one who has noticed the increasing use of the adjective ‘nondescript,’... More

Q&A: An Apple critic with plenty to say - John Siracusa’s legendary - and lengthy - Apple reviews reach their 15th year

Why one editor won’t run any more op-eds by the Heritage Foundation’s top economist - A reply to Paul Krugman on state taxes and job growth made some incorrect claims

4 topics John Oliver explained more clearly than television news - The political satirist brings explainer comedy to HBO viewers

Michael Brown shooting and the crimes journalists choose as newsworthy - Examining why black suspects are covered at a greater proportion than they commit crimes

GOP-backed fake news sites target Dems in congressional races - - Unlike The Onion and other satire sites, the goal is to fool voters, not make them laugh


New WaPo publisher (WaPo)

The departure of Katharine Weymouth ends eight decades of Graham family leadership

The impact of watching executions (PSmag)

“[E]xecutions, even for people who support capital punishment, and even when the criminals being put to death evoke little personal sympathy because of the nature of their crimes, take a toll on witnesses”

Times of India demands employee social media passwords (Quartz)

The company will possess log-in information and will be free to post any material to the account without journalists’ knowledge

Reconnecting with a story source, 17 years later (Hartford Courant)

“People who say reporters exploit people? You are right, we do. We parachute into people’s lives, sidle up, convince them that we care — and then disengage when the story is over. But that doesn’t mean we don’t connect, in a genuine way.”

Bloggingheads

Greg Marx discusses democracy and news with Tom Rosenstiel of the American Press Institute

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The Business of Digital Journalism

A report from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism

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Questions and exercises for journalism students.