TVNewser AgencySpy TVSpy LostRemote FishbowlNY FishbowlDC SocialTimes AllFacebook 10,000 Words GalleyCat UnBeige MediaJobsDaily

Writing

14 Words and Phrases PR Pros Need to Stop Using

word-or-phrase-people-should-not-use-in-2014We have discussed catchphrases and buzzwords that should be erased from memory immediately. They are the worst, and used so much that they have become the replacement of “um,” “uh,” and “you know what I’m sayin’?”

No! No, we don’t.

To add to that prestigious list are real words (except one seen below) that have been used in popular settings like new business pitches, client kickoff meetings, and media interviews. Yes, way.

Although we did this in June, which revolved around the word misappropriated term “homophobia,” here we go again. Please take note and spread the word. Save the industry. #PRCares.

Read more

Mediabistro Course

Storytelling for Media Professionals

Storytelling for Media ProfessionalsLearn how to use stories to inspire, connect, and persuade your clients! In this workshop starting September 3, you'll learn how to uncover stories in everyday life, incorporate stories into your media work, use storytelling techniques with clients, all to improve your pitch and presentation skills. Register now!

BAD WORDS: The Oxford Dictionary ‘Mansplains’ Our New Lexicon

OEDMost logophiles and word nerds cherish their local dictionary. Typically ensconced in a warm light, these go-to resources hold a place somewhere among any collection of great works of American literature (alongside your brutally earmarked volumes of the “for dummies” series).

Thank God for Noah Webster’s fascination for etymology at the turn of the 19th century!

However, that wasn’t good enough for the Brits. So, in 1857, the Philological Society of London decided “that existing English language dictionaries were incomplete and deficient, and called for a complete re-examination of the language from Anglo-Saxon times onward.”

As of today, that austere compilation of the Queen’s English known as the Oxford English Dictionary is officially the worst compendium of any language in the history of ever.

Here’s why…

Read more

Grammatical Ignorance Considered Support for Gay Rights in Utah

Inigo-Montoya-WORD-MEANS

I love a good turn of phrase. Much of the time, one can be achieved via the mastery of a word/figure of speech — like these three, for example:

Homograph (n.) – Words that have the same spelling, but different pronunciations and meanings.

Homonym (n.) – Words that have the same spelling and same pronunciation, but different meanings.

Homophone (n.) – Words that have the same pronunciation, but different spelling and different meanings.

That last one is tricky because it reminds narrow-minded people of a word that no one uses correctly: HomophobeYou see, to have a ‘phobia,’ one must be legitimately afraid of something. People who are labeled with that term aren’t scared. They’re just idiots.

Kinda like this guy in Utah who fired a blogger for using that word. No, not that one, the other one: Homophone. 

Read more

The Top 9 Most Contested AP Style Changes in ‘Hopefully’ Ever

APStyle

Come on. High-Five? Who’s with us?

Thanks to the evolution of text lingo, -isms, and a cornucopia of other logophilic and verbivore-ish drama, the AP Stylebook has become the most coveted book for hacks and flacks alike. It’s like anything Adobe — one second away from the thing and it shoots you another inconvenient update.

I’ve been struggling with this whole Oxford comma thing since I read this study and this report. I had a nightmare last night — woke up screaming, sweated a little, and ran to my computer to make sure the Oxford commas hadn’t been adopted overnight.

While that change has yet to be made — and I still struggle with adopting it — here are 10 other controversial changes from the AP Stylebook that caused a Jonestown-like response. Bottoms up?

Read more

STUDY: Oxford Commas for Grammar Snobs Only (Ironically)

serial comma kayne

Who gives a f*ck about an Oxford comma?

We do. Because we’re snooty.

Number-crunching blog for the OCD-compliant FiveThirtyEight.com released a mind-numbing study that will cause curse words to be hurled in PR and ad agencies nationwide. Its key finding: only the grammar snobs in America embrace the Oxford Comma.

This may fly in the face of copywriters and flacks alike who have been taught by the “So, let’s talk journalism and … SQUIRREL!!” experts at the AP Stylebook, but here we are: If you like writing, you love the serial comma.

And it’s not even close.

Read more

5 Rules for Ethical (and Good) Blogging

blogging101On most Saturdays, I make it a point to thank tweeps for shout outs on the retweets or favorites regarding my PRNewser posts. Why? Because it’s nice to get a shout-out and I’m from Texas, so I’m sweet like that.

In short, everyone — bloggers and tweeters alike — appreciates the sharing of love in “@” form. We’re all working here.

That is what led me to think about today’s “5 Things“: the rules to ethical (and good) blogging. 

Read more

Social Media: One Place to Find Technical, Sales Writing Gigs

Technical and sales writing does not carry with it the romantic image of sitting in a cafe in Paris, the excitement of chasing down a lead or the somber atmosphere of writing poetry on a rainy day. But it does allow for a starting point in writing for companies and brands, not to mention a means of a steady income.

Amanda Layman Low did not picture herself working in technical writing for a sales consulting company, but now that she’s there she recommends it as a career option for all writers. For those who may not have considered the option of writing copy for brochures, manuals, PowerPoint slides, etc., Layman Low says you should “dip your toes in” as there will always be a need for technical writers. She writes:

Google technical writing jobs or sales writing jobs. The company I work for is a sales consulting company, but most corporations have their own in-house writers and contractors who provide content for training, presentations and other corporate materials.

If you’re interested in pursuing technical writing, one place to start is social media. Layman Low applied for her current position by seeing the status update of a friend of a friend and recommends mining social media for job opportunities.

For more on technical writing and what it means for you as a writer, read: The Case for Breaking Into Technical Writing.

The full version of this article is exclusively available to Mediabistro AvantGuild subscribers. If you’re not a member yet, register now for as little as $55 a year for access to hundreds of articles like this one, discounts on Mediabistro seminars and workshops, and all sorts of other bonuses.

 

We Knew Papers Couldn’t be Trusted at the Oscars

For the cynical bunch in PR and media (present company included), there was a fleeting thought that the best movie of 2013 would post a pothole as wide as Hollywood and Highland for headline writers who think that’s the time to break out a new comedy series on that funniest of topics — slavery. Because nothing says fun-and-yuks like millions of oppressed people for the sake of lazy rednecks, cheap labor and a civil war.

Yet here it is, and many more after the jump…

daily-breeze-slave-full-617x800

Read more

Amtrak’s New ‘Writers’ Residencies’ Promotion Offers Free Rides to Writers

As writers, we’re all too familiar with the common, seemingly hopeless quest to find a place where we can sit and work for hours at a time without household, office, or coffee shop distractions getting in the way. One place we’ve heard many a fellow writer tout as a fantastic, distraction-free workspace is a train — being alone (and somewhat captive) for an extended period of time seems to help inspire the urge to buckle down and be productive.

But what starving writer can afford to ride around on a train every time they need to meet a deadline?

Enter Amtrak. Thanks to a serendipitous Twitter encounter and a successful trial run, the train company has decided to offer promotional “Writers’ Residencies,” which will allow writers to hop round-trip trains for free.

After reading Alexander Chee’s interview in Pen America, which read in part, “I still like a train best for [writing]. I wish Amtrak had residencies for writers,” New York-based writer Jessica Gross was inspired to tweet her agreement.

Apparently recognizing a unique marketing opportunity, Amtrak responded to Gross, saying: Read more

Bad News: Negative Headlines Get Much More Attention

negative-newspaper-headlines

That news mantra “If it bleeds, it leads” is all our fault.

People who are in the news business, as well as hacks-turned-flacks like yours truly, understand this unfortunate aspect of consumer cravings. People who just watch, read or listen to the news hate this.

The ironic thing is, according to this telling study by Outbrain, it’s all their fault. In short, negative headlines get more attention — much more — than positive headlines. Find out how after the jump…

Read more

NEXT PAGE >>