Media Insider: Viral Content in the 19th Century, Interviewing Tips and This Week’s Media Moves

Welcome to Media Insider, PR Newswire’s round up of journalism, blogging and freelancing stories from the week. Listicles, Aggregation, and Content Gone Viral: How 1800s Newspapers Prefigured Today’s Internet (NiemanLab) Ryan Cordell, a Northeastern University professor, recently spoke at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology about viral content of the 19th century. Writing made up of lists…

Grammar Hammer: Is It “It’s” or “Its”?

It’s just three letters (with or without an apostrophe). It’s one way of saying “it is.” “Its” is a simple possessive of a pronoun. It’s also one of the biggest grammar errors according to the Blue Book of Grammar and Punctuation. To quickly check which word you should use, replace your version of the three…

Grammar Hammer: Each and Every One

Which is correct? To say that I write a blog post for Grammar Hammer each week or to say that I write a post for Grammar Hammer every week? “Every” is used to talk about how often something happens.  If I say I write something on a weekly basis, I’m saying I write something “every…

Grammar Hammer: Shinny vs. Shimmy

Months ago, I received a Grammar Hammer suggestion to look at the difference between the words “shinny” and “shimmy.” The person who suggested this topic to me said she’d never heard the word “shinny.” I’ll confess, I hadn’t heard of it either. I wondered if shinny was an eggcorn (a word or phrase that results…

Grammar Hammer: Is That Adverb Necessary?

If you were a child of the 70s and 80s, ABC’s animated series Schoolhouse Rock  left an indelible mark. Many of us can trace a love for history, mathematics, science and – of course – grammar to the show’s clever, musical episodes. In honor of the back to school season, ABC aired a tv special last month ranking the…

Grammar Hammer: Elicit vs. Illicit

Elicit and illicit might sound similar, but technically they are not homophones and their meanings are vastly different.  The words are occasionally confused due to their similar pronunciation and spelling, which is why they are the focus of today’s Grammar Hammer. “Elicit” is a verb that means “to obtain.” It can also mean “to draw out, to extract,…

Grammar Hammer: Whiling Away the Hours

I often see “wile away the hours” used interchangeably with “while away the hours,” so which is correct? Technically, they both are, but there are some subtle differences one should consider. “To while away the hours” means to “pass time idly” or to “pass time, especially in some leisurely or pleasant manner.” For example, “I spent hours…

Grammar Hammer: Punctuation Saves Lives, Part II

Part one of our “Punctuation Saves Lives” series covered the heavy hitters of periods, commas, question marks, exclamation points, colons, semicolons, dashes, and hyphens. Part two wraps up with brackets, parentheses, braces, ellipses, quotation marks, and apostrophes. Groups – brackets, parentheses, and braces Use parentheses ( ) to contain additional thoughts or qualifying remarks (I consider…

Grammar Hammer: Punctuation Saves Lives, Part I

In English grammar, there are 14 different punctuation marks that I think of as the “primary” punctuation marks – the period, comma, question mark, exclamation point, colon, semicolon, dash, hyphen, parentheses, brackets, braces, ellipses, quotation marks, and apostrophes. These are the marks that help us with sentence structure, help us clarify meaning, and distinguish between…

Around the Wire: Your Guide to BlogHer, Jill Abramson’s Interviews and Weird Al’s Word Crimes

Welcome to the latest installment of Around the Wire, PR Newswire’s round up of journalism, blogging, and freelancing news from the past week. 1. Heading to Next Week’s BlogHer ’14? Stay Happy With WordPress’ Happiness Support Bar and Workshops (WordPress News) BlogHer, the popular women’s blogging network, celebrates its 10th anniversary next week at its annual conference in…

Around the Wire: Circa’s New Approach to Covering Shootings, CNN Studies Drones, & More Media News

Welcome to the latest installment of Around the Wire, PR Newswire’s round-up of journalism, blogging, and freelancing news from the past week. 1. The 8 Types of Images That Increase Your Content’s  Psychological Impact (Copyblogger) Research shows that our brains process visuals better and faster than text. Because of this, writes Alex Turnbull on Copyblogger, the importance…

Grammar Hammer: It’s the Principle of the Thing

“The principal is your PAL!” With apologies to Ferris Bueller, that’s how I learned the difference between “principle” and “principal.” Here again, we have two words that sound the same, but have two completely different meanings. “Principle” refers to a fundamental law, doctrine, or tenet. It can only be used as a noun. “Principal” actually…