This expanded eleventh edition of the bestselling guide to style is based on the Economist's own updated house style manual, and is an invaluable companion for everyone who wants to communicate with the clarity, style and precision for which the Economist is renowned. As the introduction says, 'clarity of writing usually follows clarity of thought.' The Economist Style Guide gives general advice on writing, points out common errors and clichés, offers guidance on consistent use of punctuation, abbreviations and capital letters, and contains an exhaustive range of reference material - covering everything from accountancy ratios and stock market indices to laws of nature and science. Some of the numerous useful rules and common mistakes pointed out in the guide include: *Which informs, that defines. This is the house that Jack built. But: This house, which Jack built, is now falling down. Discreet means circumspect or prudent; discrete means separate or distinct. Remember that "Questions are never indiscreet. Answers sometimes are" (Oscar Wilde). Flaunt means display, flout means disdain. If you flout this distinction you will flaunt your ignorance Forgo means do without; forego means go before. Fortuitous means accidental, not fortunate or well-timed. Times: Take care. Three times more than X is four times as much as X. Full stops: Use plenty. They keep sentences short. This helps the reader.
By Charles Lewis
Facts are and must be the coin of the realm in a democracy, for government “of the people, by the people and for the people,” requires and assumes to some extent an informed citizenry. Unfortunately, for citizens in the United States and throughout the world, distinguishing between fact and fiction has always been a formidable challenge, often with real life and death consequences. But now it is more difficult and confusing than ever. The Internet Age makes comment indistinguishable from fact, and erodes authority. It is liberating but annihilating at the same time.
For those wielding power, whether in the private or the public sector, the increasingly sophisticated control of information is regarded as utterly essential to achieving success. Internal information is severely limited, including calendars, memoranda, phone logs and emails. History is sculpted by its absence.
Often those in power strictly control the flow of information, corroding and corrupting its content, of course, using newspapers, radio, television and other mass means of communication to carefully consolidate their authority and cover their crimes in a thick veneer of fervent racialism or nationalism. And always with the specter of some kind of imminent public threat, what Hannah Arendt called ‘objective enemies.'”
An epiphanic, public comment about the Bush “war on terror” years was made by an unidentified White House official revealing how information is managed and how the news media and the public itself are regarded by those in power: “[You journalists live] “in what we call the reality-based community. [But] that's not the way the world really works anymore. We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality . . . we're history's actors . . . and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.” And yet, as aggressive as the Republican Bush administration was in attempting to define reality, the subsequent, Democratic Obama administration may be more so.
Into the battle for truth steps Charles Lewis, a pioneer of journalistic objectivity. His book looks at the various ways in which truth can be manipulated and distorted by governments, corporations, even lone individuals. He shows how truth is often distorted or diminished by delay: truth in time can save terrible erroneous choices. In part a history of communication in America, a cri de coeur for the principles and practice of objective reporting, and a journey into several notably labyrinths of deception, 935 Lies is a valorous search for honesty in an age of casual, sometimes malevolent distortion of the facts.
Sundays at Eight
By Brian Lamb
For the last 25 years, Sunday nights at 8pm on C-SPAN has been appointment television for many Americans. During that time, host Brian Lamb has invited people to his Capitol Hill studio for hour-long conversations about contemporary society and history. In today's soundbite culture that hour remains one of television's last vestiges of in-depth, civil conversation.
First came C-SPAN's Booknotes in 1989, which by the time it ended in December 2004, was the longest-running author-interview program in American broadcast history. Many of the most notable nonfiction authors of its era were featured over the course of 800 episodes, and the conversations became a defining hour for the network and for nonfiction writers.
In January 2005, C-SPAN embarked on a new chapter with the launch of Q and A. Again one hour of uninterrupted conversation but the focus was expanded to include documentary film makers, entrepreneurs, social workers, political leaders and just about anyone with a story to tell.
To mark this anniversary Lamb and his team at C-SPAN have assembled Sundays at Eight, a collection of the best unpublished interviews and stories from the last 25 years. Featured in this collection are historians like David McCullough, Ron Chernow and Robert Caro, reporters including April Witt, John Burns and Michael Weisskopf, and numerous others, including Christopher Hitchens, Brit Hume and Kenneth Feinberg.
In a March 2001 Booknotes interview 60 Minutes creator Don Hewitt described the show's success this way: All you have to do is tell me a story.” This collection attests to the success of that principle, which has guided Lamb for decades. And his guests have not disappointed, from the dramatic escape of a lifelong resident of a North Korean prison camp, to the heavy price paid by one successful West Virginia businessman when he won 314 million in the lottery, or the heroic stories of recovery from the most horrific injuries in modern-day warfare. Told in the series' signature conversational manner, these stories come to life again on the page. Sundays at Eight is not merely a token for fans of C-SPAN's interview programs, but a collection of significant stories that have helped us understand the world for a quarter-century.