Michael Gove makes an impact at the MoJ

In his latest effort to ingratiate himself to the population, that lovable rascal Michael Gove has been sending memos round his new ministry telling everybody how to write. Included in Gove’s list of pet language peeves which staff at the Ministry of Justice will henceforth have their wrists slapped for using in official correspondence, is the …

Content in context

Content is a big deal these days. If you work in media or marketing, you’ll be hearing a lot about content. Even if you don’t, you may be thinking about it as a way to help promote your business. My job title recently changed from a series of variations on “editor”, to “head of content”. …

Rules that are there to be broken

I enjoyed this very sensible piece by Steven Pinker for the Guardian, on grammar rules that it’s OK to break – sometimes. Pinker says of grammar rules: Supposedly a writer has to choose between two radically different approaches to these rules. Prescriptivists prescribe how language ought to be used. They uphold standards of excellence and a respect …

Another reason to love Wikipedia

As if there weren’t already enough reasons to love Wikipedia, I think their fundraising email sent out in the run up to Christmas is brilliant. Clear, simple, informal, and not afraid to say bluntly what Wikipedia is and isn’t. “Advertising is not evil. But it doesn’t belong here.” “We don’t think having your email address …

Even better than horsemeat

So Tesco burgers have horsemeat in them. Not great news, but the supermarket has apologised and assured customers that: “We will work harder than ever with all our suppliers to make sure this never happens again.” Harder than ever, you say? This is an example of a tic I see cropping up increasingly in corporatespeak: …

Before and after

In a hilarious mixup, I recently received the ‘before’ and ‘after’ versions of a heavily Photoshopped corporate photograph. I’m not going to share the pictures with you as that would be unfair to the person concerned – you’ll have to take my word for it that the difference was pretty stunning. It was also quite …

Contact us! Actually, don’t

In our world of instant communication and supposed consumer empowerment, it continues to baffle me how some companies get away with being impossible to contact. The worst offenders tend to be companies like Facebook and Google who provide online services for free – making it a bit difficult to complain anyway. But it also extends …

Good or bad week for the press?

Following the extraordinary developments in the phone-hacking scandal this week, I’ve had the feeling of reading one of those choose-your-own-adventure books that I used to love as a kid, where every page presents you with a choice, and every choice sends the story in a weird new direction. After David Cameron’s press conference on Friday …