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When Asking the Question is Part of the News Story (New Example: Clinton Supporters)

I ask my journalism students to avoid using the phrase “When asked about…” as a default transition in news stories. While they are taught in freshman comp classes to introduce their quotes and then explain the significance of the quotes, to a journalist that’s just filler. This story from the Daily Mail (a UK publication which has a reputation for being gossipy and conservative) covers shows pictures of teens and…

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The Chronicle of Higher Education Announces Plan to Limit, Curate Comments

By 2016, the terrain has shifted. Publications of all stripes are re-examining what it means to engage with their audiences and to encourage productive conversations. Quite a few of those conversations — including ones about our work — have already moved to social media. Many publications have played down comments or eliminated them altogether; others have gone in the opposite direction, devoting more time and energy to shaping discussions. Comments have…

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Is There a Santa Claus?

We take pleasure in answering thus prominently the communication below, expressing at the same time our great gratification that its faithful author is numbered among the friends of The Sun: Dear Editor— I am 8 years old. Some of my little friends say there is no Santa Claus. Papa says, “If you see it in The Sun, it’s so.” Please tell me the truth, is there a Santa Claus? Virginia…

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An Open Letter to Reuters Reporters Nate Raymond and David Ingram

How did Reuters happen to get a picture of the arrest of Martin Shkreli (the pharmacy bro who bought the rights to a drug and raised the cost an obscene percentage)? Why is that question at least as important as what Martin Shkreli looks like while being arrested? There are two subjects on which Reuters could have informed its audience, two sets of questions it could have answered: Subject One:…

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Why Do So Many People on YouTube Sound the Same?

So it turns out the “YouTube voice” is just a variety of ways of emphasizing words, none of which are actually exclusive to YouTube—people employ these devices in speech all the time. But they generally do it to grab the listener’s attention, and when you’re just talking to a camera without much action, it takes a little more to get, and keep, that attention…. YouTubers’ monologues often speed up and…

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The Post drops the ‘mike’ — and the hyphen in ‘e-mail’

When I announced these style changes, another Twitter user wrote, “wait, it’s 2015 and there are still people who write e-mail?” Not everyone is on Twitter, of course. For every online Post reader snickering at mike, there might be a longtime print subscriber baffled by mic. Because it would be impractical to edit each article separately for online and print audiences, we err on the conservative side. And, at the risk…