Sunday, November 23, 2014. Last Update: Fri 2:45 PM EST

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language corner

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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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‘They’ said so

Pronouns without sex

Whenever anyone who loves language wants to start a robust discussion, they have only to mention “gender-neutral pronouns,” such as... 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

Addressee Unknown

Another comma goes AWOL

The Super Bowl is over, thank heavens, so all those incorrectly punctuated signs rooting for one team or another can... More

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Apparently not

The trouble with the apparent heart attack

The American Heart Association says that heart attacks kill about 1,200 people in the United States every day. In many... More

Appositive Negatives

Some things are not unique

Last week, we talked about setting a parenthetical description off with commas in the grammatical phenomenon known as an “appositive.”... More

Beggars Can Be Choosers

Questioning the questions

Every so often it’s important to revisit an issue, to clarify or modify it, depending on the circumstances. It “begs... More

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Bell curves

Lots of “ring” words

“You must be a ringer,” the journalism instructor told the student, who insisted that, though he had many years of... More

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Between ‘us’ and ‘I’

Getting stuck on plurals

The editors were discussing a story about the health benefits of a particular type of cactus, and maybe others. The... More

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Blame excuses

Where to point the finger

"Deer Creek blames fire on science experiment," read one headline. "Arsonist blames fire on living conditions," said another. Some people... More

Bodily Functions

The scent of a language

The scene may have been a long coach ride or a London park bench on a hot day, but the... More

Boing!

Springing to the past

Spring has sprung The grass is riz; I wonder where the birdies is. That little ditty, or variations of it,... 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

Call Me ‘Al’

Another confusing suffix

Is an appliance “electric” or “electrical”? Is Sarah Palin visiting “historic” sites or “historical” sites? Is being “politic” the same... 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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Career advice

On the fast track to ‘careen’

Two accidents, two verbs: In New Jersey, “The car careened down the street and smashed into several parked cars before... More

Conjunction-itis

What about ifs, ands, or buts?

Many generations of students have had certain grammar “truths” drilled into their little heads. One is the “myth” that infinitives... More

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Countdown

Help with numbers

Math is hard for many people, though it's often not the numbers that cause so many problems, but the words... 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

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

Why won’t journalists ask Bill Cosby the tough questions? - Sexual assault charges are hardly ever mentioned to the TV star

Knoxville’s alt-weekly wasn’t losing money. It got shut down anyway - Scripps pulls the plug on Metro Pulse in favor of an entertainment supplement for the local daily

Chuck Todd’s Obama book says more about the author than it does about the president - ‘The Stranger’ underscores a broader problem with the way we cover politics

Beware labeling Pope Francis a liberal - Political boxes like liberal/conservative and evolutionist/creationist miss his real significance

The Virginian-Pilot produces a breakthrough investigation amid layoffs - Reporter John Holland discusses how the story came together, newsroom cutbacks, and colleagues who cover for each other


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”

UNITY’s convention is no more (All Digitocracy)

“The organization’s board of directors decided that UNITY will no longer host the quadrennial conferences for which it had become known”

Bloggingheads

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

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The Business of Digital Journalism

A report from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism

Study Guides

Questions and exercises for journalism students.