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.

My New York Times Word of the Day: Obdurate

Headed to my dictionary today to look up “obdurate” used in a direct quote from Liz Diller, the poor architect who had to defend demolishing the American Folk Art Museum building before a crowd of 650 people, many of them … Continue reading

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My New York Times Word of the Day: Forfend

                                         Nick Briggs/Carnival Film & Television for Masterpiece Gotta love Maureen Dowd for her vocabulary. She frequently sends me to the dictionary. And she did it again today with “forfend.” One can grasp the meaning from the context of the … Continue reading

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Six common punctuation mistakes that drive us crazy

I couldn’t agree more with this Huffington Post piece.

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A 13-year-old talks straight about his mental illness

  This Story Corps conversation, recorded in Boise, Idaho between Liza Long and her 13-year-old son she calls Michael, which is not his real name, is nothing short of extraordinary for its frankness. Most anyone who isn’t in this situation … Continue reading

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How true: What Our Words Tell Us

This David Brooks column in the New York Times tells of a fascinating study about the words we use and what that says about our culture and society. Across the page is a column noting that 50 million Americans live … Continue reading

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Gracious is a powerful word

This article, “How to be gracious,” in Esquire reminds me of how much I love this word. Whenever I am feeling stingy or the little voice in my head is coming up with “small-minded” thoughts about someone, I can shake … Continue reading

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Freedom from clutter: Follow William Zinsser’s advice

Glad to see one of my heroes is still kicking. At age 90, William Zinsser, author of “On Writing Well,” is blind but still helping writers avoid clutter. He is featured in the New York Times. The book is a … Continue reading

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Few could deny this is powerful and authentic communication

What to say? It’s unimaginable that anyone would be put in this situation, but Francine Wheeler, whose six-year-old son, Ben, was murdered alongside 19 other children and six educators in Newtown, Conn., four months ago, offered a clear and powerful … Continue reading

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National Grammar Day

Language is something to celebrate, and March 4 is the perfect day to do it, say the folks who are sponsoring National Grammar Day. It’s not only a date, it’s an imperative: March forth on March 4 to speak well, … Continue reading

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Ragan’s PR Daily: 15 common words that are (probably) made up

Couldn’t have said it better myself. Thank you Ragan’s PR Daily for this reminder of some pesky “words” that continue to be in use. This piece offers a good reminder. Any of us can get sloppy. I had forgotten the … Continue reading

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