Friday, July 03, 2009

Enough already with ‘mediums’

Hey, fellow armchair copyeditors, do you see anything wrong with this sentence at the Los Angeles Times website?

“Two senior Los Angeles Times editors were given new responsibilities today as part of an effort to create a 24-hour newsroom serving multiple mediums.”

The blunder, of course, is the inappropriate use of “mediums” as a plural of the word medium.

As everyone in the media business ought to know, media is the plural of medium.

Thus, television is a medium. A newspaper is a medium. Together, they are media, not mediums.

The only time the word “mediums” is appropriate is to describe a gathering of psychics.


Blogger Mark said...

I once gave a big tip to a psychic and ended up with a happy medium.

10:22 AM  
Blogger Brian Miller said...

must have been refering to weather

10:52 AM  
Anonymous bevo said...

Thank you. Now, could you do something about "First Annual," an incorrect phrase that journalist seem to love.

11:11 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Or unique, one-of-a-kind, another incorrect phrase that journalists also love

1:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Maybe the LA Times is starting a news service for psychics.

3:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So true, after this, they should consider hiring you.

4:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hmm. First indicates it hasn't happened before, but does not necessarily imply a future or second episode. First annual, while seemingly redundant, does imply that this is the launch of a series.

6:58 PM  
Anonymous Tom Johnson said...

Here in Santa Fe, NM our 60th annual rodeo took place. Once again, the reporter assigned to do daily features on it wrote about horses and bulls coming out of the "shoots." Grrrrrr.

7:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What about "He died overnight", or "They perished overnight in a fire". What a lingering death indeed…

8:38 PM  
Blogger Bettok said...


9:18 PM  
Blogger Ashish said...

Not just a gathering but even as a collective singular...' he consulted several mediums'

11:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Let's also ban:

"reach out" as a euphamism for "contact" or "telephone" or "call" or "e-mail." This imprecise marketing speak drives me bonkers. I did not "reach out" to Bob. I called Bob.

While we're at it, let's put the kibosh on avoid false ranges. The newly lax copy editing standards at The Wall Street Journal mean at least one false range in every edition. "We talked about everything from cars to tennis shoes" is nonsensical!

Now that we've picked these small nits, I suppose we should get back to saving mediums ... er, media. ;-)

11:37 PM  
Anonymous Blogger Tutorial said...

I once gave a big tip to a psychic and ended up with a happy medium.

5:54 AM  
Blogger Jarry said...

hehe u so right, plus media are not even close of being psychics at all xd

6:42 AM  
Blogger JoelS said...

And I can't handle it when they write " 6PM on Thursday evening".

6:48 AM  
Blogger Autumn Victoria Marie said...

Lol...So true...

7:19 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That's what happens when newspapers are managed by broadcasters.

8:13 AM  
Anonymous Stephanie said...

It is also what happens when you hire a reporter who is NOT smarter than a 5th grader. I needed a good laugh today, thanks for posting.

10:02 AM  
Blogger Denise said...

You're missing "heavily armed men." Always one of my favorites.

Denise Kusel
Santa Fe, NM

5:27 PM  
Blogger Melchezidek said...

Good find! Don't you hate ad copy that includes "and so much more"?

5:39 PM  
Blogger Benjamin Crawshaw said...

It looks like I have my work cut out for me (future English teacher).

8:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What about the midget fortune teller who escaped from prison?
"Small medium at-large"

8:52 AM  
Blogger Mark said...

Silly geese: the medium is the middle number among a bunch of numbers. To be distinguished from ala mode and being mean to people.

1:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Let's also delete, "When it comes to..." from our phrase vocabulary!

9:26 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh sure, start encouraging the use of English now...
Here are a few that could stand correction. A person that did something: how about a person who did something.
Or numbers: over a table, under a table, more than a number, less than a number. As in my favorite ice cream store, with over 88 flavors. More than 88? How many more? 1, 2? How about 89 or 90 flavors? You counted to 88. A couple more were going to kill you?
Or, "at this point in time" - pick one or the other.
Hopefully... oh don't get me started on hopefully.

6:13 AM  

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