The Mis-use of the word ‘Media’ by the Media

I guess almost everyone has their pet peeves — I am no different but I want to share with the readers my #1 peeve — the egregious mis-use of the word ‘media’ by the very professionals who work in our nation’s radio, TV and newspaper enterprise.

Look at any dictionary and the AP Stylebook (the bible in newsrooms for grammar and proper usage) and the word ‘media’ is the plural of the word ‘medium’ -i.e. radio is a medium of communications and radio and TV are media of communications.

As a retired higher ed professor of electronic communications, I drilled my students on proper usage with medium/media and tape/film at the top of the list of the inappropriately applied verbiage. For example, when a student informed me that he/she had completed the ‘filming’ of a story (knowing that they had used one of our college’s SONY portable video cameras) I told them that I did not like the ‘F’ word. Eventually, most of them described their remote ‘shoots’ as ‘taping’ or ‘recording’.

Mis-use by college students is understandable — but not by media professionals. Even at the national level I have consistently witnessed network reporters and anchors stating that “the media is…..”. Copy editors should be catching this but all too often they don’t.

I have been looking for the right medium to express my dismay. Perhaps MEDIUM is ironically the best one.

(BTW — pet peeve #2 is having your convertible top up in perfect weather [or your top down and windows up]. #3 is men who wear socks with sandals.)

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