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The Better Angels of Our Writing

Copy editors are to the world of publishing what the stage manager is to the world of theater. I love copy editors and I love stage managers. When the copy editor for my latest book placed a little check mark over the name of a computer game, Snood, and then wrote in the margin (“”), I knew that her fact-checking was protecting me, and I felt grateful. When I dashed…

Oh No You Didn't

Misleading Publisher Email Promises Paid Stipend, Delivers Lottery

An email from a reputable higher education publisher just landed in my inbox. “Paid Invitation to Review Digital, Print Products.” But the actually messages says “If you complete the survey by July 21st, 2015, your name will be entered into a drawing to receive one of three $50 Visa Gift Cards.” Hm… how would Reputable Academic Publisher like it if I “paid” for their products by taking dozens of titles from their…


Journalism academics: mocked by the media and stifled by universities

  [T]he traditional consensus is that journalism education should be focused on practical vocational skills including shorthand, news gathering and news writing and yet it is situated within an academic environment, whose core business is research.Although the practitioner academic is fairly common in universities today, due to the huge rise in converted polytechnics teaching vocational courses, a big divide still exists between practitioners and researchers. |  I recently decided that…

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Why Love Lyrics Last

I am inclined to agree with the “favorite scholarly idea” that is here criticized, if only to offer a counterpoint to the notion that the “I” who speaks in each Shakespeare sonnet is a coherent and consistent stand-in for Shakespeare himself, and that the proper way to understand a poem is to imagine a situation that might have motivated the poet to write this poem. In order to teach literary…

80 Days (Map)

80 Days: “1872, with a steampunk twist. Phileas Fogg has wagered he can circumnavigate the world…”

I stayed up way too late last night playing 80 Days, a choice-based interactive fiction romp from Inkle .  I had read all the glowing reviews, but kept putting off the purchase until I really had time to enjoy it. I started my first play through at about midnight, and was up past 3am. (I made it around the world with one day to spare, though in order to make…


English Major: Working as student journalist “helped me get the job” of technical writer

I just got this email from a student who graduated in May. I’m the adviser to The Setonian, the student newspaper. I think it’s safe to say that working with the Setonian helped me get the job. Several of the tests I took with the company involved me compiling given information into paragraph format, which was pretty similar to writing news articles! The teamwork and leadership experience with the Setonian was…

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Wanted in College Graduates: Tolerance for Ambiguity

“What answer do you want?” “Just tell me what you want me to write, and I’ll write it for you!” I once had a student in a literature class who almost had a panic attack when she found out, from the mock final exam, that the final exam would contain poems and prose passages that we hadn’t gone over in class, so that there was no way for her to…