There are days when I really feel my 67 years. A recent staff meeting in the newsroom was one of those days.
Our newspaper editors are constantly trying to improve our product and encourage our writers. One way they do this is by workshops. A recent workshop brought together editors, staff writers, freelancers and one newsroom retiree just to make sure we are all on the same page.
The workshop was led by Editor Lois Clermont and News Editor Suzanne Moore. It was a nice surprise to have former editor and wordsmith Bob Grady stop by to share his vast knowledge on grammar.
While his advice on headlines and punctuation are eye openers, his delivery of such was met with curious looks when he said, “Be sure to keep a dictionary on your desk and look up words when you aren’t sure of how they are spelled.”
Dictionary on the desk? I’m sure I saw the college interns and the 20-somethings roll their eyes knowing that their dictionaries are just a touch away in their handheld devices, i.e., iPads, tablets, smartphones.
Bob also, quite innocently, used this phrase, “If you’re going to tout a headline…” to which more young eyes rolled. To the younger generation, Touting is the newest way for our newspaper to upload video onto the Internet of an event that is happening in real time.
I googled “tout,” and I guess Merriam-Webster hasn’t caught on to Touting because their definition is “to talk about someone or something.” Doesn’t mention a thing about video or smartphones.
Tweeting also came up at the workshop. No, not how the birds are finally coming back north because it’s spring, but as a means to talk to each other via smartphone. Anyone in that room over 50 was slightly lost, except for Lois and Suzanne.