Thursday, September 5, 2013

My problem with media

I don't mean the newspapers, broadcast outlets and online entities to which the word applies. I have a problem with the word itself and how it's used.

In my mind media describes the category that includes those newspapers, broadcast outlets and online entities. Many vehicles for news, but one news media. Therefore a statement such as "Media are important" just seems wrong to me. Food is a category that refers to things like meats, vegetables and fruits, so we don't say "Food are important" (even though food obviously are more important than media.)

Data is another problematic term for me. Every time I hear a statement such as "The data are irrefutable," I immediately want to refute them -- I mean, it. Whatever.

The problem is Latin, as it was throughout my high school years. In Latin, when the singular ends in -um, the plural ends in -a. So, one = medium, more than one = media. Likewise, one datum, two or more data.

Tough. Latin is a dead language. English is alive, so I think it more correct to treat media and data each as a single category -- and a singular noun. But I don't expect anyone to agree. I don't have a single datum to prove it.


You know you live in a sophisticated area when the police blotter reports on someone who is arrested for impersonating a diplomat.

So far no one has been caught sending threatening sonnets to the neighbors or turfing their lawn with a segue, but it's probably just a matter of time.

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