Saturday, November 01, 2014. Last Update: Fri 3:50 PM EST

Author Archive

Articles by Merrill Perlman | Email the Author

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

Leading Questions

How some journalism terms were born

The Associated Press recently said it would stop using some wire-service jargon as instructions on its stories. Among them were... More

Boo!

Scary words

Halloween is next week, and thousands of people are “scarifying” their houses in anticipation of the hordes of trick-or-treating children.... More

Overly Possessive

Why the lack of an apostrophe sometimes isn’t wrong

A student recently asked why she had been corrected when she wrote “The teacher’s union voted to strike.” That’s easy:... More

Loan Ranger

Money can change a noun to a verb

The reporter seemingly couldn’t make up his mind. In an article about a mayor’s financial problem, the reporter used a... More

Who, I?

When personal pronouns don’t get along

If you go to Language Corner’s Facebook page (and while you’re there, you may as well “like” it), you’ll see... More

Echo Chamber

On redundant acronyms and initialisms

An acronym or initialism can become so familiar that we forget what it stands for and add one of its... More

Selling Short

When words are truncated, spellings differ

By now, just about everyone knows what an “app” is, and knows it’s short for “application.” The verb form of... More

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

The ethics of The Guardian’s Whisper bombshell - It would have been a journalistic lapse not to have told readers

Gawker: The internet bully - Nick Denton’s media empire is an intellectual online fraternity that invites people to their parties only to make them buy the booze

The Washington Post short-sells a reporter’s integrity - Steven Pearlstein smears TheStreet’s Adam Feuerstein for criticizing a biotech firm

Former Sun-Times staffers react to top reporter’s resignation - “Whereas we don’t have all the answers, we have way too many questions about what happened here”

Stop trolling your readers - We know you’re only doing it for clicks


John Oliver video sweepstakes (The Awl)

“We may update this list next week to reflect Facebook shares gathered by The Awl as the result of this post, which is ultimately an elaborate excuse to embed a John Oliver video on our website”

Which news org is the most trusted? (Pew)

The answer is complicated

‘My Captivity’ (NYT Mag)

An American journalist on his two-year kidnapping in Syria

FBI faked an AP story, in Seattle Times style, to catch a suspect (Seattle Times)

“‘We are outraged that the FBI, with the apparent assistance of the US Attorney’s Office, misappropriated the name of The Seattle Times to secretly install spyware on the computer of a crime suspect,’ said Seattle Times Editor Kathy Best”

Bloggingheads

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

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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.