What I read this week: Aug. 4-10, 2013

Here are some of the things I found interesting or helpful this week:

Teresa Schmedding, the president of ACES, wrote a post on her personal blog titled “What are you reading to stay up on journalism/digital trends” that highlighted great places on the Web for those interested in journalism.

I read Anne Curzan’s Lingua Franca post about “impactful” and Mark Lieberman’s Language Log post in response. I love to read linguists’ take on words that some of us find ugly or wrong. Nobody is ever going to get me to like “impactful,” but I recognize that my distaste is not universal and it may not even be justified. On the jargon front, I spent some time this week trying to get to the heart of the many uses of “leverage” in business speak. This sentence appeared in an article about executive pay:  Overly leveraged incentive plans can drive aggressive management decisions, while putting too little pay at risk can promote a “pay for pulse” culture. I wondered whether companies were paying their executives with debt, but what it meant was that some compensation plans depend too much on taking risks. In other works, the incentive plans are tied heavily to increasing value for the shareholders. I think our readers for that particular article (mostly management accountants) probably understand “leverage” — it’s just the literal-minded copy editor who has a problem with it.

I learned something new from Constance Hale’s Lingua Franca post on literary techniques “There’s parataxis, and then there’s hypotaxis.”  Copy editors need to pay attention to the devices that writers use so that when we need to help them smooth out the rough spots, we don’t rub away all the best parts.