You can’t yell “fake” in a crowded theater any more

I closed down The Carolina Ledger last fall and have been enjoying a quiet break from the frenetic news cycle.

One story I can’t ignore is the ongoing obsession with a CNN article revealing that Fox News had killed its own report, which detailed allegations of a bribe to silence Stormy Daniels about her alleged relationship with then-candidate Donald Trump.

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This is why journos can’t have nice things

When you’re a libertarian-leaning journalist and you read “used to not be able to” in a news story about government-backed retail plans–


Image source–

An awareness campaign worth biting for

I avoid most awareness campaigns because they are by nature fad-like, and frequently fail to lead to substantive change. But I think most people in my circles aren’t aware of what Lyme Disease looks like.

takeabite_lymeMay is Lyme Disease awareness month, its campaign marked with the social media hashtag, #takeabiteoutoflyme. Participants bite into a lime and share the photo and hashtag on social media.

May also roughly marks the season when suddenly, six years ago, I found myself too weak to ascend a flight of steps. Otherwise reasonably fit, I knew something was terribly wrong. What followed was an odyssey to discover the source of the problem.

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Comma drama

comma dramaA Portland, Maine dairy company will have to shell out $10 million because of an overtime pay statute and a comma, a court has ruled.

The ruling, according to a March report by The New York Times, is resulting from ambiguity caused by the Oxford comma–or in this case, a lack thereof.

And all the Oxford comma zealots chimed into the discussion with a collective “I told you so.”

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7 commas in a sentence, too many


Try to read a sentence with seven commas that aren’t used for dividing a list. I dare you.

I was reading through a handful of news stories Wednesday following the roads funding debate in the Senate. One story was written by a veteran reporter at an unnamed S.C. daily–unnamed because I don’t want to credit the publication in this case, thereby calling it out directly.

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A root canal, a compliment and a human moment with Sudanese immigrants

She asked my name. Hers is Anna, or some English equivalent that sounds like Anna. She wore mismatched socks–one, orange and black with candy corn, the other, pink and black with lips. I told her the word for pink and pointed at her sock.

She showed me how she could count to 10 by taking fingers away.

I never found out why Anna, her little brother, and her parents, who were with her, came to South Carolina from Sudan. But people rarely leave their homes because things are good there. Continue reading “A root canal, a compliment and a human moment with Sudanese immigrants”

Best of good copy

file_000-39When I think of what makes for good copy, I think of things that make me laugh or think. Good copy is memorable, concise and consistent. I have a soft spot for copy that is funny and whimsical.

Here are three goods and services companies that get copy right–

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Mailchimp expands typeface choices



I use Tahoma for my headings.

The email newsletter service, MailChimp has expanded design options to include several web fonts.

This is great news for writers who lack general coding expertise, but are skilled in other areas of design. (Ahem. That’d be me.)

I’m thrilled about the new options for my Carolina Ledger newsletter, where I currently use Tahoma for headings. It’s a good standby, although not favored by some designers. I chose it from MailChimp’s limited options because it’s easily recognizable, easy to read and lacks frills.

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The lede–a story’s heartbeat

buried lede

Make your point clear in the first sentence

Everybody knows the cardinal rule of journalism–don’t bury the lede.

Well, almost everybody.

Today I picked up a local newspaper bearing a headline stating the Richland County Sheriff’s Department will get funding for body cameras. But I couldn’t tell what the story was supposed to be about until the third paragraph.

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Remembering the 2015 flood following Hurricane Matthew’s aftermath

House debris

One Columbia-area home gutted after the 2015 flood damaged whole neighborhoods and towns.

South Carolina has seen a lot of devastation by weather in the past year. I expect storm damage to be a primary budget focus for lawmakers next year, even after some have said that the state’s most critical funding issue is the Retirement System’s $21 billion unfunded liability.

Photos of caved in roads, a specter of last year’s flooding devastation across wide swaths of the state, filled the state Transportation Department’s Twitter page today as the agency goes into cleanup mode following Hurricane Matthew.

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