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Smart people

Perhaps you are tiring of my voice. (Imagine what my children must have endured.) So take a look at some of the other people who are writing intelligently and practically about language. Get some relief.

Bill Walsh
Bill, a colleague of many years in the American Copy Editors Society, works at some newspaper to the south of Baltimore. His two books, Lapsing into a Comma and The Elephants of Style, abound in trenchant, sensible advice about usage. His workshop on Rules That Aren’t Rules has pulled in crowds at ACES conferences, and his blog, Blogslot, will repay your time:

Doug Fisher
Doug, who teaches journalism at the University of South Carolina, has wide-ranging interests in journalism, and he comments with perspicuity about the emerging trends in the business. When I want to make sense of what is going on in newspaper and electronic journalism, I go to Common Sense Journalism:

Fred Vultee
Fred, who works out of the University of Missouri, keeps coming up with penetrating structural analyses of sentences and articles. If something is published with a blurred focus, a weak spot, or sloppy thinking, Fred will dissect it before your eyes. He is one sharp reader.

Pam Robinson
Pam, one of the co-founders of ACES, a news service editor based at Newsday on Long Island and an indefatigable cultivator of talent, writes on a broad range of interests touching on journalism: language, politics, editing — the whole shebang. In agreement, she is an invaluable ally; in disagreement, a worthy foe.

Ruth Walker
You can find Ruth Walker’s Verbal Energy blog at The Christian Science Monitor. She starts with language and expands into history, culture and contemporary society. Her work is thoroughly researched, clear and unfailingly interesting:

Jan Freeman
Jan Freeman’s column, The Word, appears in The Boston Globe. She challenged me this week on calling bureaucratic jargon pompous, and the exercise of explaining what I meant compelled me to inspect my ideas more closely. Her column should have a similar effect on you:

Paul Martin
Paul R. Martin, formally retired after a distinguished career at The Wall Street Journal, continues to put out a newsletter, Style & Substance, for the paper. Look in on it to find out how much precision and rigorous self-examination contribute to the making of one the nation’s great newspapers:

Pam Nelson
At the News and Observer in Raleigh, Pam Nelson puts out the Triangle Grammar Guide, addressing issues that provoke or pique readers. Test your own mettle as a writer or editor by working through her periodic quizzes.

Andy Bechtel
Andy Bechtel teaches at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. His commentaries on what he reads in newspapers or online are refreshingly direct and free of academic jargon. His blog is The Editor’s Desk:

Nicole Stockdale
They gave Nicole Stockdale a new job at the Dallas Morning News, and that seems to have put a crimp in her blogging. Have a look anyhow at A Capital Idea to see what things engage a smart editor’s attention:

And never ignore my many colleagues carping away at the Testy Copy Editors discussion board:

Posted by John McIntyre at 9:16 AM | | Comments (3)


My, my. Such kind words and most undeserved.

And you, John, are the one I turn to when I want level-headed, incisive language commentary sprinkled with enough dry wit to keep me laughing many times

At my house, the name Nicole Stockdale is always rendered in boldface.

JEM: Oops. Fixed.

A great list; I went missing on Thursday from my post (churning out Deathless Prose about local government) in order to soak up a couple of these blogs.

Another good spot, perhaps more devoted to the theoretical relevance of newspapering in the future, is Invisble Inklings:

You may laugh about the Deathless Prose bit, but we do have bound volumes going back to about 1825. Some of that 19c prose won't die at these little weeklies.

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About John McIntyre
John McIntyre, mild-mannered editor for a great metropolitan newspaper, has fussed over writers’ work, to sporadic expressions of gratitude, for thirty years. He is The Sun’s night content production manager and former head of its copy desk. He also teaches editing at Loyola University Maryland. A former president of the American Copy Editors Society, a native of Kentucky, a graduate of Michigan State and Syracuse, and a moderate prescriptivist, he writes about language, journalism, and arbitrarily chosen topics. If you are inspired by a spirit of contradiction, comment on the posts or write to him at
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