Thursday, October 4, 2007

What Does She Teach, Again?

Apparently not everyone in the world reads Whallah, otherwise Sky News TV would never have done this.

Despite the very real risk of McBride causing an international incident, there is something to be said about the title of her post:

It's amazing how the media work

Um, isn't she supposed to be an award-winning journalist and a lecturer in journalism? One would think that she should already have a clue about how the media works (and how to use spellcheck).


  1. She's right (this time). The word "media" is the plural of "medium." Thus, the medium works; the media work.

  2. Yes, she's right.

    And she's also correct in this case. (The reason for not changing media to mediums in this usage, as has happened with so many Latin words in the English language, is that mediums has another meaning, i.e., spiritualists.)

  3. I'm sorry, Snow, Anony, but you are only half right. Or in McBridese, au contrarie, mes freres.

    While it is true that media is the plural of medium, it is treated as a collective pronoun, which means it gets the singular conjugation, i.e. the media works. For verification, please go here .

    And let this be a lesson to you. While McBride may occassionally get one right, it doesn't happen all that often.

  4. Sorry, Cap, but not so -- you are referring to a collective noun preceded by a singular noun. Using your linked example, it would be correct to say "a group of media was." But it's still "media were."

    I don't know your source (I can't tell from the URL), but see a couple of the college standards -- since that's what she's teaching -- such as Merriam-Webster and the Get It Write site.

    And let this be a lesson to you: She also is following the lessons taught, as she is to do, in the AP Stylebook. Too few journalists do so, when it comes to correct usage of nouns with Latin roots, i.e., media, data, criteria, etc. (Yes, correct usage really is data were, or criteria were -- but a criterion was. . . .).

  5. "News media" is what she's talking about, presumably. "The media" is imprecise, overinclusive, and lazy.

    They consistently say sneeringly that "the media is" whatever, as if all of us in the ole news game were the same. - CJR

    Yep, she sure does, along with all her little Malkinbot pals. Unfortunately, she supposedly teaches the subject at a university.

  6. IT, your larger point is useful, but you and your blog usually are literate. Don't go confusing Cap, now.

    No, the correct wording would be "'news media' are what she's talking about, presumably" -- and perhaps you misplaced quote marks from the CJR article and meant to say, "'The media is' is imprecise," etc.

    In that case, use of the second "is" is correct, as it refers to a phrase (not phrases, plural). Of course, it's nigh unreadable and thus is a phrasing to be avoided.:-)

  7. Heh. In those cases, "is" is referring to the phrases in quotes. To be more clear, what I was saying is that the expression "the media" is imprecise, etc., and that "the news media" is preferable.

    Many years ago I was for a time under the tutelage of the late Dick McDonald, who was something of a legend in the Canadian newspaper game.

    One of McDonald's consistent bugaboos was the use of the term "the media" in applications similar to McBride's.

    I expect I inherited several of his pet peeves pursuant to my great respect for the man and his ideals.

  8. Ah, yes, your insertion of the article would improve the usage in the first sentence.

    As for British (Canadian) usages, that's another matter -- and can really get confusing for those of us in, as the BBC still likes to say, "the colonies." (It seems to be a point of honour, as they say, for them.)

  9. Dear god in heaven, make that Dick MacDonald, not McDonald. I'm glad he's not around to see that. He'd have my head on a pike.

  10. I gathered that -- if, admittedly, after a double-take to make sure you didn't mean the ad guy here . . . who was legendary in the local media world for other reasons.