As I wrote in today's print edition column, readers pay close attention to facts and figures in everything they read in The Star and on They also closely scrutinize word choice.

Take one emailer who pointed out what he thought was the wrong word in a recent front-page story about the gun-control debate. The reader called the story "fairly balanced," but took exception to this sentence: "Calls for changing the gun laws grow louder every time some madman sprays a public place with bullets."

"You do not spray bullets from a gun," he wrote. "In legal weapons in the America you and I live in, each time you pull the trigger the bullet is shot. The automatic weapon (the story) described is not legal."

I'm not sure everyone would agree on this point, but I'm sure many people do immediately think of the images of fully-automatic weapsons we've all seen in movies, TV shows and video games when we hear the word "spray" in this context. Even if there's no set answer, it's a fair observation for journalists to think about, particularly in a news story as opposed to an opinion piece.