Monday, September 01, 2014. Last Update: Fri 2:45 PM EST

Author Archive

Articles by Merrill Perlman | Email the Author

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Season openers

Baseball terms and myths

Major league baseball season gets under way this week, so let's throw out the first ball, left-handed. That's called "southpaw."... More

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Unpalatable

A plateful of similar words

The artists were being praised for their technique in which, the article said, they "use only pallet knives, not brushes."... More

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Worldly goods

Badly needed reminders

English teachers used to drill into students that they did not "feel good." They "felt well." It was the corollary... More

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Covetous

The difference between ‘jealousy’ and ‘envy’

The pope gets to wear nice red shoes, and a friend said, "I'm really jealous of those!" But, technically, she... More

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Cardinal rules

A real ‘conclave’ is at hand

Betsy Wade was ecstatic. "At last!" she exclaimed. "For the next few weeks people will be using the word conclave... More

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Language Corner

Wether or not

A "bellwether" is an indication of what is to come ("Are rising home prices a bellwether for the economy?") or... More

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Its time

That ol’ apostrophe again

Of the many small errors that bedevil many writers--and enrage their teachers and editors--there is perhaps none so simple to... More

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Brand extension

Why trademarks should be honored

Mayor Michael Bloomberg of New York City called for a ban on "Styrofoam" containers, saying in his State of the... More

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Martial arts

A black belt in spelling

When a society gets out of hand, a government can try to "marshal" its forces to settle things. But the... More

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Take too

It’s a matter of perspective

"It's going to rain, so take an umbrella," the weather forecaster says. "Shouldn't that be bring?" a correspondent writes. "I... More

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‘Scare’ tactics

Quotes around single words

It's Journalism 101: go out and talk to people, then write down what they say. If you can't quote it... More

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Little big, man

Small changes, big effects

Sometimes, it's the little things that count. Little things like whether to use "a" or "the," for example, or whether... More

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… And so on

Explaining explanatory abbreviations

Today, we’re going to talk about what symbols, abbreviations, etc., to use when, i.e., you want to give a list... More

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Our funny language

Puzzling English expressions

As we bid farewell to the holiday season (whatever you may celebrate), here are a few final presents to amuse... More

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Language Corner

Like you were

Using “like” as a conjunction can earn you dirty looks from some quarters. The example most often cited by anti-conjunctionists... More

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For word

Little word, big meaning

“For” is a handy word. As a preposition, it has many functions: Webster’s New World College Dictionary lists 20... More

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Signposts for unfamiliar territory

How to help your readers navigate new words and ideas

A journalist’s job is to deliver information. Sometimes, though, that information needs explanation or context to make it clear. Maybe... More

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Robbing ’hood

Words involving theft

Trying to teach journalists the finer points of law is nearly as hard as trying to teach them the finer... More

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Whine lovers

Complaining with a British accent

People do a lot of whining. Lately, though, many publications seem to be spelling the complainers (or their complaints) differently.... More

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Popularity contest

Words for the people

The article was discussing a survey on the popular view of marketers and politicians. “Both have a higher perception of... 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.