Friday, March 23, 2007

A Plug for Brand Y

The Wall Street Journal's excellent Style & Substance newsletter is now available in blog form.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007


Tuesday, March 20, 2007

A Plug for Brand X

The delightful Merrill Perlman, who runs the copy-desk world at the New York Times, is answering reader questions this week. Lots of good stuff, including a nice description of what exactly copy editors do.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

One Count of Stupid Shorthand

The Justice Department did not fire a bunch of "attorneys." OK, they were attorneys, if you accept the tarted-up term as a synonym for lawyers, but to use it as an all-purpose shorthand for U.S. attorneys makes about as much sense as using it to describe Supreme Court justices.

The generic term for those who hold the title U.S. attorney is federal prosecutor, or simply prosecutor. In fact, it's a good idea to work prosecutor into any story on the matter even if U.S. attorney isn't too long for the headline specs or too frequently mentioned as to become monotonous: There are bound to be readers out there without a firm grasp of what exactly a U.S. attorney does.

Friday, March 02, 2007

The Oughties' Newest Wrinkle

We never did decide what to call this decade, did we? The 2010s will make things a little easier, but wait . . .

At the Conservative Political Action Conference, veteran Republican fundraiser Richard Viguerie said he is not optimistic about a GOP presidential victory in 2008. "I think it will be '012 or '016," he said.

That sure looks odd in print, but people do talk that way, don't they? Though the 0 in '07 most assuredly stands for the third digit in the year, not the second and third digits, "in '12 or in '16" just doesn't roll off the tongue the way "in '68 or '72" did. I let the quote run in the Post for one edition before it occurred to me that the apostrophe was required. That makes it look at least a little less queer.

(And I decided that CPAC would be the Conservative Political Action Conference, taking a cue from the event's Web site, though one could argue that CPAC is still the Conservative Political Action Committee and that this is the CPAC conference.)