Thursday, August 28, 2014. Last Update: Wed 2:50 PM EST

Author Archive

Articles by Merrill Perlman | Email the Author

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

You Talkin’ ‘Bout Me?

Avoiding reader ‘indirection’

“A 28-year-old man who died early Saturday in a crash was remembered Sunday as an outgoing, optimistic fellow who had... More

Out the Wazoo

Misspellings of ‘yin and yang’ abound

Here’s how language changes: Take a term rendered in a foreign language, let’s say “yin and yang.” Have people start... More

Ex-Sited

An AP style change shakes things up

The Associated Press shook up the world last week. The World Wide Web, that is. The AP, whose stylebook is... More

Beset by Acrimony

Words that no one uses outside journalism

Time for a rant. Journalists seem to love certain words that no one actually uses in normal conversations. Have you... More

Portion Control

The many variations of ‘proportion’

How do I “proportion” thee? Let me count the ways: • “Checks dated by April 30 will receive a special,... More

Exclusive

When a list doesn’t include everything

The newspaper reported a burglary, and said that “four items were taken, including a DVD player, a laptop computer, an... More

Probably Likely

A change that likely needs making

Now that the health care bill is through Congress, President Obama “likely” will sign it soon, opponents “likely” will challenge... More

Your Deal

Confusing a ‘card shark’ with a ‘cardsharp’

You’re in Vegas, putting your poker skills to the test. As you are raking in the chips from a particularly... More

No Lectures, Please

‘Podium’ and ‘lectern’ are often interchangeable

There’s an old joke among journalists—OK, mostly among copy editors—about a passage that says that the speaker “stood behind the... More

Incomplete

Why use “completely”?

“Completely” is probably one of the most completely superfluous words in the English language. Too often, it’s used to emphasize... More

Exit Strategies

Why are there so many ways to leave?

The Eskimos may—or may not—have many words for “snow,” but we English speakers certainly have a number of words to... More

Special Issue

A problematic discussion

Gene Foreman has an issue with “issues.” “I see the misuse of ‘issues’ as a synonym for ‘problems’ as part... More

Meta Data

Self, meet yourself

Lady Gaga and Elton John, two of the music world’s most self-referential and self-aware performers, sang a duet at the... More

Natural Selection

The dilemma of choices

These are tough times, and politicians have to make hard choices about how to spend the smaller amounts of money... More

Sissy Talk

“Pantywaist” has survived for nearly 100 years

If you had children in the early part of the twentieth century, you probably clothed the babies in one-piece suits,... More

Sizing It Up

‘Downsize’ upgrades itself

In a letter to CJR, Jeffrey Kaye, a freelance journalist and author, objected to some usages in recent articles about... More

Compound Interest

When you’re not quite a suspect

In the wake of the attempted Christmas Day bombing of a commercial jet, we were introduced to a new term.... More

Word

When auld acquaintance be forgot

As the new year begins, we’re reeling from an overload of retrospective lists: top news stories; persons of the year;... More

Seizin’ Greetings

Tis the season for misplaced apostrophes

Pity the poor apostrophe. Even in this, the jolliest of seasons, its traditional role is misused, abused, and forgotten. As... More

Apple can’t hide from a 20-year-old reporter - The University of Michigan student gets behind the tech titan’s newest products

Al Jazeera America struggles to get off the margins - A quality-first strategy faces huge hurdles

Finding James Foley - This 2013 story takes a look at GlobalPost’s search for the photojournalist

Gannett cribs from Advance Publications playbook for struggling newspapers - Staff compete for fewer jobs; ‘readers become the assignment editor’

Cop corruption probe sparks newspaper feud - A spiked story is at the center of a bitter fight between Philadelphia’s two dailies


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.”

The McDonald’s in Ferguson (LAT)

“Lately, the restaurant has taken on the appearance of a battered frontier outpost”

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.