Book Review: ‘Grammar For Journalists’

Grammar For Journalists (Chilton)

Thirty-five years after taking journalism in high school, while I never got a degree, I’m a journalist by behavior, and a reporter in heart, even if (admittedly) my grammar sometimes needs work. And truth is, you don’t need a degree in America to be a journalist.

Too many ivy league journalists these days are perfectly skilled in grammar, but have tossed objectivity out the window for a political agenda. While I may not have perfect grammar skills, at least I can report a news story fairly.

Grammar For Journalists by E. L. Callihan (1957) is a refresher on the rules of grammar, and a dose of old school clarity on what it means to be a journalist. And one of the better investments I’ve made in the last few years.

Callihan’s book is a crash course on gaining a ‘command of the English language’, mastering elements of grammar, re-learning the importance of a sentence (known as the journalist’s ‘chief tool’), and chapter after chapter on the proper use of verbs, nouns, punctuation, and of course, emphasis on perfect spelling.

This is a book you would find on a 1960s reporter’s desk in a busy city newsroom. Not anymore. These days, can purchase Grammar For Journalists on Amazon at a discount. Sometimes obscure books from the past no one reads anymore are quite valuable.

Thanks for reading The Daily NewsBeat. If you ever catch a blatant typo, or grammar error, please know I don’t have a personal editor, and I write way too quick sometimes, but that’s still no excuse. So I’ll keep trying harder to nip my ‘grammaritis’ in the bud, and strengthen my command of the English language.

In this book review, Grammar For Journalists gets two enthusiastic thumbs up! Get a copy today. If you have kids, give that copy to your teenager one day so they can learn the foundation of the 1950s era of journalistic excellence.

On Media Narratives

Journalist Michael Tracey writes on his Substack on how “Activist” Journalists Have Completely Taken Over The Media Industry”, and he would know, as I do, and given even new clarity, it helps re-affirm why our nation’s media narratives are increasingly wacky and off-kilter.

You can see it on Twitter, or 60 Minutes, or coming out of any big media organization. This isn’t Walter Cronkite’s media environment of objectivity anymore, and not only is the truth often a casualty of media warfare, it’s all too convenient to ride a media lie as long as that wave can be ridden.

Look. Media narratives rule the day. Narratives drive politics, culture, and fuel activism in search of change. In this era, not only are many narratives not even fact based, but when a false narrative is launched into the Twitterverse, some damage will be done somewhere, some minds will be swayed, and that false narrative will drive profitable clicks for those lucky media orgs trafficking in false narratives.

This writer doesn’t prefer to engage in false narratives, and that’s often a lonely road. There are still a few truth seekers and objectivity driven reporters out there, and as I ramp up this blog, the content will be reflect that old school mentality.