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Articles by Merrill Perlman | Email the Author

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

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

Serial creators don’t know what will happen to Adnan Syed - New developments in his legal case suggest that the outcome is wide open

The press is responsible for ignoring Bill Cosby rape allegations - Where were journalists 10 years ago when claims originally surfaced against him?

Journalism has a plagiarism problem. But it’s not the one you’d expect - Fareed Zakaria’s case highlights news organizations’ ethical grey areas

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

Will radio save science journalism? - WNYC will soon have a new health unit


CNN reporters in Ferguson provide coverage of CNN reporters in Ferguson (Slate)

“[T]here was little that justified CNN’s egocentric coverage”

Which media outlets use ‘illegal immigrant’? (Fusion)

“[I]n spite of all the good reasons not to use the phrase, it is still very easy to find in the US press, even in headlines”

Jack Shafer on losing his job (Capital New York)

“Right now, my immediate plan is to go to work as a lay therapist at The Intercept to bring the healing there so John Cook and Matt Taibbi can return. I have great interpersonal skills.”

On outlets that continue to call unknown drone victims ‘militants’ (The Intercept)

“Like the US drone program itself, this deceitful media practice continues unabated”

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.