Wednesday, March 28, 2012

How many professional organizations do we need?

I understand and feel the sadness shared by many as the American Press Institute closes, but I challenge those who were so quick to jump into the OMG, it's another nail-in-the-coffin discussion.

Is it? Or perhaps should at least some of those headlines be rewritten to include the word merge? This is one of the many times I want to jump up and down and scream, "what were we taught in J-school, anyway?!" See, API didn't whither away; it merged with NAA. And the merge wasn't a last-gasp; API had five years (at least) of operating expenses in the bank when it merged with NAA. Five years to re-invest, reinvent itself, or look around and realize that there are a dozen or so professional organizations offering education, direction, and memberships to journalists and maybe it makes sense to combine the talents of those organizations.

I think that's how I'd write the story.

On a related note, at least one astute Washington Post reader asked a question I'd like to hear the paper's response to. Why did that article run in the Lifestyle section? File that under "things that make me say, hmmm."

Look, API was a highly respected, unquestionably professional organization, and much as it will be missed, I repeat, it just might not be needed - thanks to several other, similarly professional and well-respected organizations. RIP API. RIP, indeed.
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Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Winning Words: Mneme all over again

Last week the 2011 UT-San Diego Spelling Bee champion became the 2012 champion by spelling "mneme" and several other words I can neither spell, pronounce, or use correctly in a sentence.

Congratulations, Snigdha Nandipat - and best of luck in DC, where the Scripps National Spelling Bee is slated for May 30-31. 

Speaking of Scripps, the program offers a unique school fundraiser that emphasizes (get this!) academics. 

Monday, March 26, 2012

Matriculate Monday gets technical

Vocabula Quiz number nine takes on technology. Wishing you every bit of luck you'll need.

The link, in case technology fails somehow:

Monday, March 19, 2012

Matriculate Monday: Science, take 2

Put away your microscope; everything you need to know to ace Vocabula Quiz number eight you (should have) learned in eighth-grade English.*

*hey, eighth grade wasn't my best year

Monday, March 12, 2012

Matriculate Monday: AS TO Politics

Thanks to my very astute friend Janice, who lamented the lack of a quiz last week, Matriculate Monday is back. If you're very astute, you'll know which one of the quiz questions I missed.

Vocabula quiz number seven takes on politics (and recent history).  Enjoy!

Sunday, March 4, 2012

When an Apology Isn't an Apology

Today's post was inspired by Rush Limbaugh, this week's poster child for what every mother doesn't want her kid to grow up to be. Not the first time he's had the distinction, but this time, the radio talk show host illustrates an important point, or two: words can hurt, and sometimes an apology really isn't one at all.

If you haven't had enough yet of the ridiculous hoopla Limbaugh started by publicly berating a Georgetown law student advocating that birth control pills be included in employer health care coverage, here's what ABC news posted Saturday afternoon:

The labels Limbaugh trumpeted so loudly and illogically* last week weren't impromptu or thoughtless. They were scripted. Just like the apology he issued on Sunday, which read in part, "My choice of words was not the best, and in the attempt to be humorous, I created a national stir. I sincerely apologize to Ms. Fluke for the insulting word choices." 

Sincerely? I doubt it. For a man who makes his living in words, this was a poor excuse for sincerity and if the apology was an attempt at wry humor, it failed in that regard, too. 

It's just like the clerk who says "yeh" or "there ya go" when the expression that's called for is "thank you." Sadly, Limbaugh makes boatloads of money for his caustic expressions. To further insult our intelligence or further his brand (redundant, come to think about it - insulting people an excellent way to characterize his brand) he went on to dismiss President Obama's call to Sandra Fluke as a way of checking "to make sure she's OK."

Yeh. There ya' go, Rush. Way to clear that up for the nation.

 *sometimes "zig-zag" is the best way to describe the radio host's thought process