Thursday, April 17, 2014. Last Update: Thu 12:15 PM EST

Author Archive

Articles by Merrill Perlman | Email the Author

Un-towards

Tacking ‘s’ on to some directional words

“The electorate seems to be moving towards the right,” one media site said after a conservative candidate won a recent... More

Sic Transitive Gloria

‘For,’ ‘from,’ and ‘on’ go bye-bye

When a journalism professor gave students the sentence “He snapped to attention only when a tourist asked directions,” a number... More

Been There

Learning to dodge clichés

Hurricane Earl was a monster, a Category 4 storm. Along the East Coast from North Carolina to New England, news... More

You Said What?

Words that have changed meaning

Kenn Fong wonders about words whose meanings have been co-opted by popular culture. “The other day a friend spoke of... More

Look It Up!

A dictionary by any other name…

Twitter was all, ah, atwitter last week because a new edition of a dictionary came out, adding about 2,000 words... More

Double Word Score

The same word, only different

The truck on the highway carrying dangerous chemicals usually carries a notice that its contents are “inflammable.” If the truck... More

Capital Losses

When a noun is proper, or not

The coming fall elections promise a lot of intrigue. We will read in The New York Times all about the... More

Sworn Out

How vulgar can you be?

Caution: Adult content ahead! Only a dork or scumbag wouldn’t acknowledge screwing up, though admitting error really sucks. And only... More

For Giving

How to know when ‘for’ needs an ‘e’

A golfer who hits a ball into the vicinity of others is beholden to yell “Fore!” to warn them to... More

Two Shall Be as One

The gospel of merging words

In the beginning, there were two words. And people went forth and used the words separately or together as needed.... More

Presto, Chango!

The magic of a deceptive word

Many legislators are resorting to interesting budget tricks to try to pay for everything they want without necessarily having the... More

The ‘-ize’ Have It

A popular suffix gets even more so

News organizations are in a quandary. They’re trying to “incentivize” readers, “monetize” the publication’s content, and “prioritize” their resources. It’s... More

Style-ish

Yahoo shows why the Web really is different

Yahoo! There’s a new style guide! By Yahoo! Available now on the Web and to be available in print very... More

Dangling by a Thread

Misplaced modifiers can confuse and amuse

“After beating Jankovic in 60 minutes in the semifinals, Stosur’s parents and two brothers flew in from Australia to watch... More

On Your Mark

Trademarks that no one treats as such

When you have a cold, you use a lot of kleenex. When you cut yourself, you put on a band-aid.... More

Proof

Is ‘proved’ the same as ‘proven’?

A basic tenet of the court system, going back to British common law, is that a suspect is “innocent until... More

How Big Is Big?

When numbers are meaningless

It’s that time of year again. Wildfires are starting to spread, well, like wildfires. And meaningless measurements of the size... More

Soaking It Up

There’s more than one way to blot a spill

The aftermath of the Gulf oil spill is giving many readers an education in a booming industry that rarely comes... More

Hyphen Tension

A ‘hyphen’ is not a ‘dash’

Precision is necessary in a lot of things in journalism—facts, spelling of names, etc. It’s also vital in Web addresses—tell... More

Stopping the Flow

‘Staunch’ or ‘stanch’?

Frantic efforts are underway to shut off the oil flowing from a well in the Gulf of Mexico. Everyone agrees... More

16 women whose digital startups deserve Vox-level plaudits - A look at the media entrepreneurs who aren’t grabbing headlines

Why was ‘Dasani’ shut out of the Pulitzers? - 5 problems with The New York Times’ ambitious, influential series on the life of one homeless Brooklyn girl

The AP downplays its Obamacare scoop - Repeal on deductible caps marks another step in The Great Cost Shift

The enduring pull of mag covers - Why do magazine cover images still hold so much cultural power in this decline-of-print era?

Michael Wolff’s digital media bloopers - The Newser founder trolls (other) digital-news companies


The future of Facebook may not say ‘Facebook’

The future of the social network is apps—lots and lots of apps

Bitcoin creator ‘Satoshi Nakamoto’ unmasked-again?

A linguistics analysis suggests that Nick Szabo, a well known name in cryptography circles, is the mysterious father of the digital currency

The Center for Public Integrity’s response to ABC News

“I urge you to go to your reporters and engage in serious self-examination”

The slaughter bench of history

How war has made the world safer and richer

New Jersey’s good government

Despite the bridge scandal, Chris Christie’s state is relatively transparent and accountable. CJR’s Greg Marx talks to Gordon Witkin

  • If you like the magazine, get the rest of the year for just $19.95 (6 issues in all).
  • If not, simply write cancel on the bill and return it. You will owe nothing.

Who Owns What

The Business of Digital Journalism

A report from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism

Study Guides

Questions and exercises for journalism students.