A short grammar and style lesson for this morning.
Pat, my Web guru, caught something, as she often does, in the Art Marketing Action newsletter this week. It was a question as to whether “the media” should be treated as singular or plural.
I found a case for either in the Chicago Manual of Style, which is my preference for style questions:
“. . . in a collective sense, it may take either a singular or a plural verb form. A singular verb emphasized the group; a plural verb emphasizes the individual members.” It goes on to say that it’s most important that it’s consistent.
group emphasis: “the ruling majority is unlikely to share power”
individual members: “the majority of voters are satisfied”
We went with this for the newsletter: “The media need stories,” which emphasizes the individual members of the media.
Mixed Media? Mixed Mediums?
Then, of course, there is this issue: What does an artist use on a label when a number of different materials and/or techniques are used in the creation of an artwork? “Mixed media” is the usual term, but I’ve also seen “Mixed Mediums.” I actually prefer the latter since media has come to be associated with the press and technology. I guess the only safe way out of this is to list everything and avoid “MM” altogether.
[ By the way, that cool Chicago Manual of Style site also recommends "Web site" instead of "website" for formal writing. I had only recently changed to the latter as it seems to be much more prevalent. It’s hard to unlearn and then re-learn something! ]