ESPN, Social Media, and the Fight for the English Language


Pretty Please, Hire a Proofreader

It’s not exactly news that social media has changed the way we use words. We type quickly and tersely, often eliminating all but the most necessary information. But are grammar and spelling a thing of the past? Far from it!  

As cell phones have evolved, so have our standards for textual communication. When text messaging first grew in popularity, character limits and numeric keypads were restrictive, and “textspeak” was all the rage. Parents were flabbergasted (and terrified) by their children’s nearly unintelligible messages, TV commercials jumped on the bandwagon, and people everywhere were declaring the impending death of the English language. However, as full keyboards and touch screens became the norm, textspeak, for the most part, went the way of the flip phone. English, as a language, is evolving, and textspeak holdovers definitely remain. But now that it’s just as easy to type out full words and sentences, none but the most common abbreviations have survived.

Today, grammar is seeing a renaissance. The internet is filled with Oxford Comma apologists, self-proclaimed Grammar Nazis, and people making a difference—one Wikipedia edit at a time. Sure the YouTube comments section is its own special hell, but, in general, people expect a certain standard to be upheld. This is especially true when it comes to businesses.

This brings me to my point, and, more specifically, my current beef with ESPN.

I get it. When you’re the largest sports media corporation in the world, it’s easy to let some errors slip by. But when you’re the largest sports media corporation in the world, you have the resources and staff to ensure that no errors slip by—especially in the form of updates that go out to the (literal) tens of millions of people who have downloaded your iPhone application. To be clear, I’m not complaining about misplaced commas or questionable compound modifiers. I’m not complaining about abbreviations or sentence fragments. We all understand how strict character limits can be, especially when you’re trying to get information out in a timely manner.

I’m talking about careless errors.

Misspelling a player’s name is NEVER acceptable. It takes seconds to Google and verify the spelling. However, you might be willing to excuse a misspelling in a complicated or uncommon name. Ndamukong? Sure. Keuchel? Yup. One might even forgive a misspelling due to unfamiliarity. But when you completely misidentify a starting NFL quarterback? That’s a problem.

Even in the case of a midseason call-up for the Seattle Mariners, this is still unacceptable.

OK, fine; names are hard. How about not taking the time to simply re-read a sentence before sending it out to thousands of people’s phones? That’s carelessness.

People expect a certain level of coherence. You can complain all you want about the destruction of the English language or the problems created by texting abbreviations, but your average Joe’s grammar skills are not the problem. Our media culture—from books and newspapers to TV broadcasts and app notifications—has always represented professionalism, especially with regard to writing.

If the largest sports media corporation in the world cannot be bothered to proofread the information it broadcasts, it’s a pretty sad statement on our standards as a society. Sure, you can claim that digital communication is ephemeral and print is dead, but that is a lazy argument for lazy people.

The bottom line: If you wouldn’t let it go to press, don’t press send.

Olivia is a Stanford University student and staunch defender of the Oxford Comma. She has served as a copy editor for the Los Angeles Zoo, the Stanford Daily, and Bleacher Report. She recently completed a communications internship with The Huntington Library. Olivia is currently interning with Stanford Athletics Marketing and the San Francisco 49ers, as well as writing for the sports section of the Stanford Daily.


New Rules for the Nutrition and Supplement Facts Labels (Part 3)

The Skinny on the Nutrition and Supplements Facts Label: Fat Content Changes

The American diet has transformed dramatically over the years, and nutrition research has made substantial progress. If the Nutrition Facts Label is to continue to be an effective source of information to guide the dietary habits of consumers, then it must change to keep up.

Recent research indicates that the type of fat consumed is more important than the amount of fat consumed. Since getting your fat calories from mono- and polyunsaturated fats is significantly better (and drastically different) than from saturated or trans-fats, the entries for “Total Fat,” “Saturated Fat,” and “Trans Fat” will remain on the labels. Meanwhile, “Calories from Fat” will be removed from the labels.


As with any change in policy, there are opposing opinions. While some public health experts don’t think the labels go far enough, there are signs that food and beverage groups will be resistant due to the time and money involved in making the updates.

But the process of changing the labels is in place. It pays to be proactive in staying up-to-date with all the proposed changes. If you need help updating your labels, give ConceptuaLine a call! We're here to help.

New Rules for the Nutrition and Supplement Facts Labels (Part 2)

You Are What You Eat: New Nutrition Facts Labels Will Tell You How Much

Many dietitians believe the upcoming Nutrition Facts Label makeover will reflect a more realistic serving size and address the growing problem of the high rate of sugar intake in the U.S. population.

The new panel will most likely include a separate line for "Added Sugar" to help distinguish between the sugars that are naturally found in food, as opposed to the refined sugars added to processed food. Consumers will clearly be able to see the effect "High Fructose Corn Syrup" has on making their “fruit” drink so tasty.

On a serious note, obesity and Type 2 Diabetes are reaching epidemic proportions in America. One goal of the label modification is to make Americans more aware of the quantity of added sugar they consume, so hopefully they will consume less.

This is in keeping with the strategy behind the original Nutrition Facts Labels, mandated by Congress in 1990. Consumers became more aware of what went into their food. One result was the reduction of artery-damaging "Trans Fats," now all but gone from processed food.

Additional tweaking will include shifting the "Percent Daily Value (% DV)" to the left side of the label. The goal: Quick identification of the % DV you are receiving of the nutrients and other ingredients in the food you are eating.

Manufacturers will also be required to declare the amount of Potassium and Vitamin D (nutrients considered to be of “public health significance”) the product contains. Why? Most likely we aren’t getting enough of these beneficial nutrients.

For those who are in the industry, it’s never too early to begin planning for these proposed changes. What steps will your company need to take in order to implement the new design? If you need guidance or advice, ConceptuaLine is here to help!

New Rules for the Nutrition and Supplement Facts Labels (Part 1)

Bigger and Bolder: The Nutrition Facts Label Gets a New Look

Ever look at a nutrition label while in the throes of "hedonic hyperpagia?"

Yup, that’s the scientific term for the act of eating for pleasure, without hunger, and often to excess. You most likely have done it. You find yourself mindlessly eating ice cream or chomping on chips while channel surfing.

It’s always a surprise when you read the serving size. Twelve chips. But wait! You already polished off half that bag of Cheetos!

Well, if the FDA has its way, things are going to change. The iconic black and white Nutrition Facts Label is getting a makeover. For example, calorie count and serving size information will be more prominent, bigger and bolder. You won’t need a magnifying glass. The information will be looking you straight in the eye, daring you to take another bite.

Current Nutrition Facts Label

Current Nutrition Facts Label

Proposed Nutrition Facts Label

Proposed Nutrition Facts Label


Another big change: The serving size will be more realistic. Currently, that 20 oz. bottle of pop is labeled "Serving Size 1 Bottle." That's a pretty large serving! But do you open a bottle and pour yourself just half a cup? Most of us would rather swig from the bottle than wash a glass, right?

The changes to the top of the nutrition label are just the beginning. There will be modifications to the "Percent Daily Value (% DV)" section as well.

ConceptuaLine will continue to follow this developing story, so keep checking back. We also can help you reformat your current labels, ensuring that you are conforming with the new guidelines.