Author Archives: msvoss

About msvoss

Melinda Voss, MPH, APR, is a freelance writer, editor and public relations specialist. A staff writer for The Des Moines Register and Tribune for nearly 26 years, she has won regional and national awards and taught undergraduate and graduate journalism courses at three universities. In 1999, she earned a master's degree in public health from the University of Minnesota after co-founding the Association of Health Care Journalists in 1997. Voss initially served as the association's unpaid coordinator, then became the executive director from 1999 to 2004. She then became the public relations director for the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system and served in that position until November 2012. She earned her APR, an accreditation in public relations, in 2011.

Experiencing Cuba

How my curiosity about Cuba inspired my book Fidel Castro was a frequent guest at my family’s large Formica-topped kitchen table in the 1950s and 60s. Prompted by the nightly news, my family frequently discussed Castro’s action and the resulting … Continue reading

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Plain Languge certificate now being offered

Imagine that a certificate program in Plain Language has now been introduced. I confess I have mixed emotions about this. Encouraging more people to become proficient and to use Plain Language in communicating is a good thing. But gee whiz, … Continue reading

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Do superlatives do lasting damage?

Here’s a fascinating look at the Use of Superlatives in Cancer Research stories published in the JAMA Oncology. Reporters, take care. Consumers, beware.

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NYTimes piece points out sneaky and pernicious use of passive voice

This New York Times op-ed piece, A Texas History Lesson, by Ellen Bresler Rockmore, a lecturer in the Institute for Writing and Rhetoric at Dartmouth, exposes how some Texas history books blunt the cruelty and ugliness of slavery.  Well worth … Continue reading

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My New York Times Word of the Day: monopsony

“Monopsony” wins hands down for today’s title. Used in “How Book Publishers Can Beat Amazon,” “monopsony” is defined in the enlightening piece by Bob Kohn as when a buyer of goods has the power to unlawfully lower the prices of … Continue reading

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My New York Times Word of the Day: zettabyte

How high can we go? “Zettabyte” is a recently invented term to describe an extremely large amount of digital data, according to James Gorman in an article, All Circuits are Busy. A zettabyte equals about a trillion gigabytes or 75 … Continue reading

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FDA steps forward in requiring clear nutrition information

Three cheers for the Food and Drug Administration’s proposed nutrition label. (Wall Street Journal: Food Nutritional Labels Set for New Look). Consumers want clear, realistic and easy-to-understand information. Unfortunately, the processed food industry is not as interested in letting us … Continue reading

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My New York Times Word of the Day: terroir

Am still catching up with Sunday’s paper. The story, “Loss Leaders on the Half Shell,” about the current oyster craze, captured my attention today even though I am not a fan of oysters, raw or otherwise.  The writer, Karen Stabiner, … Continue reading

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My New York Times Word of the Day: blah, blah, blah

What consumer hasn’t listened to a medical professional and wondered: What the heck did that person just say? Too often, much of what a physician or other medical professional says sounds like “Blah, blah, blah, Heart Attack blah, blah, blah … Continue reading

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My New York Times Word of the Day: Othering

I couldn’t help but be struck by Charles M. Blow’s use of “othering” in his column today. He put it in quotes most likely because it isn’t a word, at least not according to the dictionaries I checked. Here’s how … Continue reading

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