Wednesday, October 01, 2014. Last Update: Wed 1:03 PM EST

Author Archive

Articles by Merrill Perlman | Email the Author

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

Snow Job

Just what constitutes a “record”?

The snowstorm that hit much of the United States last week was one for the books. In Chicago, the 20.2... More

Overnight Sensation

A wordier term for dusk to dawn

The weather outside was frightful, and so was the advisory from the National Weather Service. Not known for their literary... More

The Fast Lain

Figuring out ‘lay’ and ‘lie’

It’s no “lie”: Many people get “lay” and “lie” wrong a lot. So let’s “lay” down the rules. The best... More

The Frugal Writer

Why use several words when one will do?

At some points in time, people engaged in the profession of journalism tend to learn to acquire the negatively associative... More

Duty Double

When nouns and verbs collide

Headlines are supposed to grab a reader’s attention and provide a fast synopsis of an article for a busy reader.... More

Whoa, Nelly!

On “reigning in” misspellings and misusage

"New Auditor Will Take Reigns in 2011" was the headline. Another article about money said that the "government refuses to... More

Two-Faced

Beginning January with Janus words

Welcome to January, the two-faced month. On the one hand, it’s the start of the new year, a time to... More

Just One of Those Things

Choosing between singular and plural

Be the hit of your holiday party! Amaze your friends! Impress your family! Be one of those people who uses... More

Spellbound

Different spellings, different words

Much has been written about the dangers of using spelling checkers without brain in gear. Spelling checkers won’t tell you... More

Grainy Picture

‘Granularity’ and other business jargon

For a number of years, some attendees of jargon-heavy business meetings have played “Buzzword Bingo”: Someone prints out cards with... More

A Matter of Taste

On “gourmet,” “gourmand,” and loving food

When a word takes on unwanted connotations, people seeking a replacement often settle on something close, thinking, perhaps, that the... More

Never the More

Replacing a word in a quotation can lead to trouble

What happens when a public official misspeaks? Should a news outlet edit the quotation, paraphrase it, or just leave it... More

Degrees of Rejection

‘Refudiate’ may have a use after all

The “words of the year” lists are beginning to appear, and we’re generally going to ignore them, since those words... More

Passing the Blame

A “scapegoat” by any other name …

Antonio Pierce, on ESPN, was talking about how the Washington Redskins seemed to be blaming their quarterback for a lot... More

Stock Answers

A stylebook takes on financial terms

If you’ve been reading too much “financial porn,” you might be tempted by the “skirt-length theory” and try to “buy... More

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

This is how Tehran Bureau covers Iran - Its reporting model, using undercover journalists and distant editors, is one way to cover closed societies

Alessandra Stanley’s troubling history of error - Scrutiny alone isn’t enough to solve the problem

Why Bill Simmons might leave ESPN - Other outlets would jump at the chance to gain his following

Simon & Schuster should come clean about discredited Monroe/DiMaggio book - C. David Heymann’s Joe and Marilyn is full of highly dubious information—just like many of his previous books


The Recollectors

Remembering parents lost to AIDS

Swedish scientists sneak Dylan quotes into articles (The Guardian)

Whoever nets the most before retirement wins a free lunch

Mag for dog haters is a hit in Germany (WSJ)

Poop and Pooches. That is all

A data viz reading list (Susan McGregor)

Useful resources for journalists

Bloggingheads

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

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A report from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism

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Questions and exercises for journalism students.