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Does the phrase “based off of” make you shudder… or shrug?

When I first started noticing the phrase “based off of” in student papers, I thought it was just a careless typo. But I’ve noticed it more and more in online writing and in casual speech.

Saying “based off of” may be related to the phrase “flying of off,” as it seems to mean something like “is now different from, but was once more obviously similar to.” By contrast, “based on” may be taking on the meaning “still directly connected to.”

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Fascinating example of new media journalism: a graphic novel investigative report. The content is noteworthy, too: our lives have already changed now that we regularly give away our privacy in return for various benefits (lower prices, connection to friends). The corporations who use our data benefit more than we do, and many of us now feel we have no choice. Al Jazeera America.

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The Article is Dead. Long Live the Article

Take the background paragraph. It ill-serves everyone. If you know nothing about an ongoing story, it gives you too little history and explanation — how can you possibly hope to catch up on, say, the war in Syria in five lines of type? If you know a story well, this paragraph merely wastes your time and the paper’s space; readers have had to train themselves to skip over it and find the…

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About that Cough, Rough, Pony, Bologna Meme

Do the spellings of cough & rough, pony & bologna bug you, too? English evolves organically, without our permission. Words that look similar but are pronounced differently generally came to the language from different sources and/or at different times, by an organic process that is not controlled by people in smoky board rooms. In our day, private organizations such as dictionary publishers or the Associated Press do regularly make decisions on…

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Open Source College Math Book

One day last year, David Lippman got an interesting Google Alert. 1,300 miles away, fellow math professor James Sousa had created free video tutorials for almost every example question in David’s basic math textbook. James did all of that without asking for David’s permission: David had already given permission by licensing his work under a Creative Commons license. David loves getting that kind of news. He’s dedicated his career to…

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High Schooler’s Fake Story of Stock Riches Fools New York Editors

“If your mother says she loves you, check it out.” In the most recent edition of New York, its annual Reasons to Love New York issue, the magazine published this story about a Stuyvesant High School senior named Mohammed Islam, who was rumored to have made $72 million trading stocks. Islam said his net worth was in the “high eight figures.” As part of the research process, the magazine sent…

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7 Tips for Budding Mobile Journalists

“Mobile journalism is … not something you’re going to succeed at super quickly,” Richardson said recently in a Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) on the practice. Mobile journalism is a process with a learning curve, she said. | Richardson trains youth to report the news using only smartphones, MP3 players and tablets. She is also creating an online video tutorial platform that will…