Monday, September 30, 2013

Journalistic Timidity

. 
What’s Up Seymour?


“It doesn’t take much to fire up [Seymour] Hersh, the investigative journalist who has been the nemesis of US presidents since the 1960s and who was once described by the Republican party as ‘the closest thing American journalism has to a terrorist.’


“He is angry about the timidity of journalists in America, their failure to challenge the White House and be an unpopular messenger of truth.
 
“Don't even get him started on the New York Times, which, he says, spends ‘so much more time carrying water for Obama than I ever thought they would’ — or the death of Osama bin Laden. ‘Nothing’s been done about that story, it’s one big lie, not one word of it is true,’ he says of the dramatic US Navy Seals raid in 2011.” 

—Lisa O’Carroll, reporter, “Seymour Hersh on Obama, NSA and the 'pathetic' American media,” The Guardian, Sept. 27, 2013 


• Editorial Comment: And about that so-called “moon landing”?!?

PeezPIX by Ted Pease
 
Autumn Squash Basket







Original PeezPix archival prints, matted at sizes from 5x7" to 16x20" or larger, available for sale. ted.pease@gmail.com

(Be)Friend Dr. Ted, Professor of Interesting Stuff

TODAY'S WORD ON JOURNALISM is a free “service” sent to the 1,800 or so misguided volunteer subscribers around the planet. If you have recovered from whatever led you to subscribe and don’t want it anymore, send “unsubscribe” to ted.pease@gmail.com. Or if you want to afflict someone else, send me the email address and watch the fun begin. (Disclaimer: While I just quote ’em, I don't necessarily endorse ’em. All contain at least a kernel of insight. Don’t shoot the messenger.) 
 
Ted Pease, Professor of Interesting Stuff
Utah State University, Logan, Utah, & Humboldt State University, Arcata, Calif.

To receive Today's Word on Journalism by email (FREE!), send "subscribe" to ted.pease@gmail.com

“Words are sacred. They deserve respect. If you get the right ones, in the right order, you can nudge the world a little.” —Tom Stoppard

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Friday, September 27, 2013

Brainiac

. 
Simplify


“If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.”

—Albert Einstein (1879-1955), Nobel Prize-winning physicist










• Editorial Comment: It ain’t rocket science.

PeezPIX by Ted Pease
 
Autumn Squash Basket





Original PeezPix archival prints, matted at sizes from 5x7" to 16x20" or larger, available for sale. ted.pease@gmail.com

(Be)Friend Dr. Ted, Professor of Interesting Stuff

TODAY'S WORD ON JOURNALISM is a free “service” sent to the 1,800 or so misguided volunteer subscribers around the planet. If you have recovered from whatever led you to subscribe and don’t want it anymore, send “unsubscribe” to ted.pease@gmail.com. Or if you want to afflict someone else, send me the email address and watch the fun begin. (Disclaimer: While I just quote ’em, I don't necessarily endorse ’em. All contain at least a kernel of insight. Don’t shoot the messenger.) 
 
Ted Pease, Professor of Interesting Stuff
Utah State University, Logan, Utah, & Humboldt State University, Arcata, Calif.

To receive Today's Word on Journalism by email (FREE!), send "subscribe" to ted.pease@gmail.com

“Words are sacred. They deserve respect. If you get the right ones, in the right order, you can nudge the world a little.” —Tom Stoppard

.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Cosmic Pressure

. 
Angst of the Newswriter

“Newspaper writing is not writing. No more than shooting a basketball at your front-yard hoop is like playing in a basketball game with nine others. Or strumming a guitar is like playing in a band in front of 3,000 people. ‘Writer’ connotes the sun, reflecting on the forces around it. The reality of ‘newswriter’ is the asteroid, being tugged at violently from every angle—bitchy sources, bitchy competitors, bitchy editors, bitchy readers, deadlines, space limitations and the emotional fragility those pressures create.”

—Bob Baker, journalist, editor & author, “Newsthinking: The Secret of Great Newswriting” (1981). Bob Baker's Newsthinking. (Thanks to alert WORDster Mark Larson)  Image: “Newspaperman in Paris,” Giovanni Boldini, 1878

• Editorial Comment: Mama wanted me to go into something kinder and gentler. Like air traffic control...

PeezPIX by Ted Pease
 
Unsettled Sea off Elk Head





Original PeezPix archival prints, matted at sizes from 5x7" to 16x20" or larger, available for sale. ted.pease@gmail.com

(Be)Friend Dr. Ted, Professor of Interesting Stuff

TODAY'S WORD ON JOURNALISM is a free “service” sent to the 1,800 or so misguided volunteer subscribers around the planet. If you have recovered from whatever led you to subscribe and don’t want it anymore, send “unsubscribe” to ted.pease@gmail.com. Or if you want to afflict someone else, send me the email address and watch the fun begin. (Disclaimer: While I just quote ’em, I don't necessarily endorse ’em. All contain at least a kernel of insight. Don’t shoot the messenger.) 
 
Ted Pease, Professor of Interesting Stuff
Utah State University, Logan, Utah, & Humboldt State University, Arcata, Calif.

To receive Today's Word on Journalism, send "subscribe" to ted.pease@gmail.com

“Words are sacred. They deserve respect. If you get the right ones, in the right order, you can nudge the world a little.” —Tom Stoppard

.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

It’s National Punctuation Day

. 
Slow-Comma-Down

“I have always liked commas, but I seem to be in a shrinking minority. The comma is in retreat, though it is not yet extinct. In text messages and e-mails, commas appear infrequently, and then often by accident (someone hits the wrong key). Even on the printed page, commas are dwindling. Many standard uses from my childhood (after, for example, an introductory prepositional phrase) have become optional or, worse, have been ditched. 

“If all this involved only grammar, I might let it lie. But the comma’s sad fate is, I think, a metaphor for something larger: how we deal with the frantic, can’t-wait-a-minute nature of modern life. The comma is, after all, a small sign that flashes PAUSE. It tells the reader to slow down, think a bit, and then move on. We don't have time for that. No pauses allowed. In this sense, the comma’s fading popularity is also social commentary.” 

 —Robert J. Samuelson, columnist, “Farewell, Comma, He Said,” The Washington Post, 2007

• Editorial Comment: Let’s pause to eat Gramma.

PeezPIX by Ted Pease
 
Unsettled Sea off Elk Head





Original PeezPix archival prints, matted at sizes from 5x7" to 16x20" or larger, available for sale. ted.pease@gmail.com

(Be)Friend Dr. Ted, Professor of Interesting Stuff

TODAY'S WORD ON JOURNALISM is a free “service” sent to the 1,800 or so misguided volunteer subscribers around the planet. If you have recovered from whatever led you to subscribe and don’t want it anymore, send “unsubscribe” to ted.pease@gmail.com. Or if you want to afflict someone else, send me the email address and watch the fun begin. (Disclaimer: While I just quote ’em, I don't necessarily endorse ’em. All contain at least a kernel of insight. Don’t shoot the messenger.) 
 
Ted Pease, Professor of Interesting Stuff
Utah State University, Logan, Utah, & Humboldt State University, Arcata, Calif.

To receive Today's Word on Journalism, send "subscribe" to ted.pease@gmail.com

“Words are sacred. They deserve respect. If you get the right ones, in the right order, you can nudge the world a little.” —Tom Stoppard

.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Happy Banned Books Week

. 
Mighty Librarians

“And on the subject of burning books: I want to congratulate librarians, not famous for their physical strength or their powerful political connections or their great wealth, who, all over this country, have staunchly resisted anti-democratic bullies who have tried to remove certain books from their shelves, and have refused to reveal to thought police the names of persons who have checked out those titles.

“So the America I loved still exists, if not in the White House or the Supreme Court or the Senate or the House of Representatives or the media. The America I love still exists at the front desks of our public libraries.”
 
―Kurt Vonnegut (1922-2007), writer and book-lover, A Man Without a Country (2005)
 
• Editorial Comment: This is Banned Books Week. How serious are book-banners? The most frequently attacked book this year was “Captain Underpants.” Seriously?

Related:Still Banning Books,” by Ted Pease, Salt Lake Tribune, 2012

PeezPIX by Ted Pease
 
Baby Eggplants





Original PeezPix archival prints, matted at sizes from 5x7" to 16x20" or larger, available for sale. ted.pease@gmail.com

(Be)Friend Dr. Ted, Professor of Interesting Stuff

TODAY'S WORD ON JOURNALISM is a free “service” sent to the 1,800 or so misguided volunteer subscribers around the planet. If you have recovered from whatever led you to subscribe and don’t want it anymore, send “unsubscribe” to ted.pease@gmail.com. Or if you want to afflict someone else, send me the email address and watch the fun begin. (Disclaimer: While I just quote ’em, I don't necessarily endorse ’em. All contain at least a kernel of insight. Don’t shoot the messenger.) 
 
Ted Pease, Professor of Interesting Stuff
Utah State University, Logan, Utah, & Humboldt State University, Arcata, Calif.

To receive Today's Word on Journalism, send "subscribe" to ted.pease@gmail.com

“Words are sacred. They deserve respect. If you get the right ones, in the right order, you can nudge the world a little.” —Tom Stoppard

.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Informed Citizen Disorder

. 
Fair Warning


“[I]nformed citizens aren't puppets; they're critical thinkers. Civic literacy is not inherently impossible. But it can cause such outrage, panic, helplessness, bewilderment—there really should be a consumer warning on the news. 

“What a downer for democracy. You do your best to keep up, and what you get in return for your effort is something the American Psychiatric Association ought to have put in the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual. Informed Citizen Disorder: the damage you do to your mood and your blood pressure by watching Bill Moyers or Jon Stewart, listening to Kevin Phillips or Bruce Bartlett and reading the Guardian or the New York Times.” 

—Marty Kaplan, writer, “Reading the News Is Fun and Patriotic, But It Sure Can Make You Anxious,” AlterNet, June 2013
 
• Editorial Comment: As Aldous Huxley said, “Ye shall know the truth and the truth shall make you mad.”

PeezPIX by Ted Pease
 
Chicks










Original PeezPix archival prints, matted at sizes from 5x7" to 16x20" or larger, available for sale. ted.pease@gmail.com

(Be)Friend Dr. Ted, Professor of Interesting Stuff

TODAY'S WORD ON JOURNALISM is a free “service” sent to the 1,800 or so misguided volunteer subscribers around the planet. If you have recovered from whatever led you to subscribe and don’t want it anymore, send “unsubscribe” to ted.pease@gmail.com. Or if you want to afflict someone else, send me the email address and watch the fun begin. (Disclaimer: While I just quote ’em, I don't necessarily endorse ’em. All contain at least a kernel of insight. Don’t shoot the messenger.) 
 
Ted Pease, Professor of Interesting Stuff
Utah State University, Logan, Utah, & Humboldt State University, Arcata, Calif.

To receive Today's Word on Journalism, send "subscribe" to ted.pease@gmail.com

“Words are sacred. They deserve respect. If you get the right ones, in the right order, you can nudge the world a little.” —Tom Stoppard

.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Creative Muse

. 
A Bloody Pastime
 

“There's nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and open a vein.”
  
—Walter Wellesley “Red” Smith (1902-1982), famed sportwriter
 
• Editorial Comment: When I’ve got nuthin’ I talk to the dog.

PeezPIX by Ted Pease
 
Deck Dawgs





Original PeezPix archival prints, matted at sizes from 5x7" to 16x20" or larger, available for sale. ted.pease@gmail.com

(Be)Friend Dr. Ted, Professor of Interesting Stuff

TODAY'S WORD ON JOURNALISM is a free “service” sent to the 1,800 or so misguided volunteer subscribers around the planet. If you have recovered from whatever led you to subscribe and don’t want it anymore, send “unsubscribe” to ted.pease@gmail.com. Or if you want to afflict someone else, send me the email address and watch the fun begin. (Disclaimer: While I just quote ’em, I don't necessarily endorse ’em. All contain at least a kernel of insight. Don’t shoot the messenger.) 
 
Ted Pease, Professor of Interesting Stuff
Utah State University, Logan, Utah, & Humboldt State University, Arcata, Calif.

To receive Today's Word on Journalism, send "subscribe" to ted.pease@gmail.com

“Words are sacred. They deserve respect. If you get the right ones, in the right order, you can nudge the world a little.” —Tom Stoppard

.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Grapes of Crap

. 
Journalism’s ‘Purity’
 
“What can I say about journalism? It has the greatest virtue and the greatest evil. It is the first thing a dictator controls. It is the mother of literature and the perpetrator of crap. In many cases it is the only history we have and yet it is the tool of the worst men. But over a long period of time and because it is the product of so many men, it is perhaps the purest thing we have. Honesty has a way of creeping into it even when it was not intended.” 

—John Steinbeck (1902-1968), Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist (Thanks to alert—and dogged—WORDster Christine Fairbanks)

• Editorial Comment: Those were the days, my friend.

PeezPIX by Ted Pease
 
Roots





Original PeezPix archival prints, matted at sizes from 5x7" to 16x20" or larger, available for sale. ted.pease@gmail.com

(Be)Friend Dr. Ted, Professor of Interesting Stuff

TODAY'S WORD ON JOURNALISM is a free “service” sent to the 1,800 or so misguided volunteer subscribers around the planet. If you have recovered from whatever led you to subscribe and don’t want it anymore, send “unsubscribe” to ted.pease@gmail.com. Or if you want to afflict someone else, send me the email address and watch the fun begin. (Disclaimer: While I just quote ’em, I don't necessarily endorse ’em. All contain at least a kernel of insight. Don’t shoot the messenger.) 
 
Ted Pease, Professor of Interesting Stuff
Utah State University, Logan, Utah, & Humboldt State University, Arcata, Calif.

To receive Today's Word on Journalism, send "subscribe" to ted.pease@gmail.com

“Words are sacred. They deserve respect. If you get the right ones, in the right order, you can nudge the world a little.” —Tom Stoppard

.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Semicolon

. 
Wink Wink
 
“I use a whole lot of half-assed semicolons; there was one of them just now; that was a semicolon after ‘semicolons,’ and another one after ‘now.’” 

—Ursula K. Le Guin, fantasy writer; science fiction author

• Editorial Comment: Semicolons can only be half-assed, right?

PeezPIX by Ted Pease
 
Whale Tail



Original PeezPix archival prints, matted at sizes from 5x7" to 16x20" or larger, available for sale. ted.pease@gmail.com

(Be)Friend Dr. Ted, Professor of Interesting Stuff

TODAY'S WORD ON JOURNALISM is a free “service” sent to the 1,800 or so misguided volunteer subscribers around the planet. If you have recovered from whatever led you to subscribe and don’t want it anymore, send “unsubscribe” to ted.pease@gmail.com. Or if you want to afflict someone else, send me the email address and watch the fun begin. (Disclaimer: While I just quote ’em, I don't necessarily endorse ’em. All contain at least a kernel of insight. Don’t shoot the messenger.) 
 
Ted Pease, Professor of Interesting Stuff
Utah State University, Logan, Utah, & Humboldt State University, Arcata, Calif.

To receive Today's Word on Journalism, send "subscribe" to ted.pease@gmail.com

“Words are sacred. They deserve respect. If you get the right ones, in the right order, you can nudge the world a little.” —Tom Stoppard

.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Fear of Grammar

. 
Dangling Whosits
 
“[D]iagramming sentences and identifying the parts of speech never made it into my repertoire. And so grammarians intimidate me. Once someone starts talking about verb moods, dangling whosits, and misplaced whatsits, I squirm. When I try to struggle through their prose explanations, my brain hurts. 

“I’ve learned enough to be able to explain basic things to my students about common writing mistakes, but I can’t get technical. . . . When I tell students that adverbs are not their friends, I explain I mean words with ‘-ly’ on their tail. . . . 

“I’m not convinced that studying grammatical labels would help my prose, though it might make me a more intimidating teacher.”


 Rachel Toor, creative writing prof, Eastern Washington University, “My Little Bag of Writing Tricks,” The Chronicle of Higher Education, September 2013.
• Editorial Comment: Beware Conan the Grammarian.

PeezPIX by Ted Pease
 
What •Is* a Kohlrabi, Anyway?











Original PeezPix archival prints, matted at sizes from 5x7" to 16x20" or larger, available for sale. ted.pease@gmail.com

(Be)Friend Dr. Ted, Professor of Interesting Stuff

TODAY'S WORD ON JOURNALISM is a free “service” sent to the 1,800 or so misguided volunteer subscribers around the planet. If you have recovered from whatever led you to subscribe and don’t want it anymore, send “unsubscribe” to ted.pease@gmail.com. Or if you want to afflict someone else, send me the email address and watch the fun begin. (Disclaimer: While I just quote ’em, I don't necessarily endorse ’em. All contain at least a kernel of insight. Don’t shoot the messenger.) 
 
Ted Pease, Professor of Interesting Stuff
Utah State University, Logan, Utah, & Humboldt State University, Arcata, Calif.

To receive Today's Word on Journalism, send "subscribe" to ted.pease@gmail.com

“Words are sacred. They deserve respect. If you get the right ones, in the right order, you can nudge the world a little.” —Tom Stoppard

.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Chamfrained?

. 
Say Again?
 
“I recently read Vladimir Nabokov’s autobiographical masterpiece Speak, Memory. One learns there that Nabokov read in English before reading in his native Russian. Having said that, his embrace of what I would still call his second language is dizzying and unrelenting. Here are a few of his words that I wrote down: ‘fritillary,’ ‘chamfrained,’ ‘ghyll,’ and ‘laciniate.’ Now you know why God invented the Oxford English Dictionary.” 

 Alex Beam, Confessions of a Word Snob,” The New York Times, April 29, 2013  

• Editorial Comment: Dizzying, indeed.
PeezPIX by Ted Pease
 
Trinidad Bay paddlers




Original PeezPix archival prints, matted at sizes from 5x7" to 16x20" or larger, available for sale. ted.pease@gmail.com

(Be)Friend Dr. Ted, Professor of Interesting Stuff

TODAY'S WORD ON JOURNALISM is a free “service” sent to the 1,800 or so misguided volunteer subscribers around the planet. If you have recovered from whatever led you to subscribe and don’t want it anymore, send “unsubscribe” to ted.pease@gmail.com. Or if you want to afflict someone else, send me the email address and watch the fun begin. (Disclaimer: While I just quote ’em, I don't necessarily endorse ’em. All contain at least a kernel of insight. Don’t shoot the messenger.) 
 
Ted Pease, Professor of Interesting Stuff
Utah State University, Logan, Utah, & Humboldt State University, Arcata, Calif.

To receive Today's Word on Journalism, send "subscribe" to ted.pease@gmail.com

“Words are sacred. They deserve respect. If you get the right ones, in the right order, you can nudge the world a little.” —Tom Stoppard

.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Newsroom Cuts. Again.

. 
The Amazing Shrinking Tribune
 
“News costs money. Local news is particularly expensive. I won't insult you by saying we can do more with less. We cant. What we can do is manage smartly, choose carefully and remain committed to Journalism with a capital J. We intend to keep the printed newspaper worthy of you — our readers.”

—Nancy Conway, whose retirement as editor of the Salt Lake Tribune was announced Thursday, in a column written in July. Nine Tribune newsroom staff were laid off in May; another 17—20% of the newsroom—lost their jobs Thursday.


• Editorial Comment: Managing newspapers smartly. That’s Depressing with a capital D.

PeezPIX by Ted Pease
 
Trinidad Bay paddlers




Original PeezPix archival prints, matted at sizes from 5x7" to 16x20" or larger, available for sale. ted.pease@gmail.com


(Be)Friend Dr. Ted, Professor of Interesting Stuff

TODAY'S WORD ON JOURNALISM is a free “service” sent to the 1,800 or so misguided volunteer subscribers around the planet. If you have recovered from whatever led you to subscribe and don’t want it anymore, send “unsubscribe” to ted.pease@gmail.com. Or if you want to afflict someone else, send me the email address and watch the fun begin. (Disclaimer: While I just quote ’em, I don't necessarily endorse ’em. All contain at least a kernel of insight. Don’t shoot the messenger.) 
 
Ted Pease, Professor of Interesting Stuff
Utah State University, Logan, Utah, & Humboldt State University, Arcata, Calif.

To receive Today's Word on Journalism, send "subscribe" to ted.pease@gmail.com

“Words are sacred. They deserve respect. If you get the right ones, in the right order, you can nudge the world a little.” —Tom Stoppard

.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Freaks

. 
Elements of Style
 
Newspaper reporters and technical writers are trained to reveal almost nothing about themselves in their writing. This makes them freaks in the world of writers, since almost all of the other ink-stained wretches in that world reveal a lot about themselves to readers. We call these revelations, accidental and intentional, elements of style.

—Kurt Vonnegut (1922-2007), writer 


• Editorial Comment: I dunno. I already know more about a lot of these wretches than I really want to.

PeezPIX by Ted Pease
 
Humboldt Bay Coast Guard Station, Samoa, Calif.



Original PeezPix archival prints, matted at sizes from 5x7" to 16x20" or larger, available for sale: $14 (5x7), $28 (8x12) and up. email ted.pease@gmail.com. Thanks for asking.

 
(Be)Friend Dr. Ted, Professor of Interesting Stuff

TODAY'S WORD ON JOURNALISM is a free “service” sent to the 1,800 or so misguided volunteer subscribers around the planet. If you have recovered from whatever led you to subscribe and don’t want it anymore, send “unsubscribe” to ted.pease@gmail.com. Or if you want to afflict someone else, send me the email address and watch the fun begin. (Disclaimer: While I just quote ’em, I don't necessarily endorse ’em. All contain at least a kernel of insight. Don’t shoot the messenger.) 
 
Ted Pease, Professor of Interesting Stuff
Utah State University, Logan, Utah, & Humboldt State University, Arcata, Calif.

To receive Today's Word on Journalism, send "subscribe" to ted.pease@gmail.com

“Words are sacred. They deserve respect. If you get the right ones, in the right order, you can nudge the world a little.” —Tom Stoppard

.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

9/11 Remembered

. 
The Press’s Dark Days
“The atmosphere was one of fear, suspicion, a tremendous emphasis on patriotism, on getting on board. It put pressure on journalists to conform, to go with the pack.

“And people who asked questions that were regarded as too uncomfortable were berated or accused of being unpatriotic, or marginalized. A lot of voices were left out of the debate.”

—Michael Massing, journalist, who called 9/11 reporting “one of the greatest institutional failures in the news media,” quoted in “9/11 raised debate on responsible reporting,” Radio France Internationale, 2011



• Editorial Comment: Deafening silence.

PeezPIX by Ted Pease
 
Above the Sidelines Bar, Arcata, Calif.





Original PeezPix archival prints, matted at sizes from 5x7" to 16x20" or larger, available for sale: $14 (5x7), $28 (8x12) and up. email ted.pease@gmail.com. Thanks for asking.

 
(Be)Friend Dr. Ted, Professor of Interesting Stuff

TODAY'S WORD ON JOURNALISM is a free “service” sent to the 1,800 or so misguided volunteer subscribers around the planet. If you have recovered from whatever led you to subscribe and don’t want it anymore, send “unsubscribe” to ted.pease@gmail.com. Or if you want to afflict someone else, send me the email address and watch the fun begin. (Disclaimer: While I just quote ’em, I don't necessarily endorse ’em. All, in theory, contain at least a kernel of insight. But don’t shoot the messenger.) 
 
Ted Pease, Professor of Interesting Stuff
Utah State University, Logan, Utah, & Humboldt State University, Arcata, Calif.

To receive Today's Word on Journalism, send "subscribe" to ted.pease@usu.edu

“Words are sacred. They deserve respect. If you get the right ones, in the right order, you can nudge the world a little.” —Tom Stoppard

.