To college educated native speakers, does one of these sentences sound better than the other?

The media was wrong and it did not apologize.

The media was wrong and they did not apologize.



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The best guidance I've found is in

The American Heritage® Book of English Usage.

A Practical and Authoritative Guide to Contemporary English. 1996.

"The word medium comes from Latin. It has two plural forms"”a Latin plural media and a normal English -s plural mediums. Trouble arises when the Latin plural is used as a singular noun in the fields of mass communications and journalism.

"You may have come across media used as a singular noun to refer to a particular means of communication, as in The Internet is the most exciting new media since television. Many people regard this usage as incorrect, preferring medium as the singular instead.

"People also use media with the definite article as a collective term to refer not to the forms of communication themselves so much as the communities and institutions behind them. In this sense, the media means something like "the press." Like other collective nouns, it may take a singular or plural verb depending on the intended meaning. If the point is to emphasize the multifaceted nature of the press, a plural verb may be more appropriate: The media have covered the trial in a variety of formats. Quite frequently, however, media stands as a singular noun for the aggregate of journalists and broadcasters: The media has not shown much interest in covering the trial. This development of a singular media parallels that of more established words such as data and agenda, which are also Latin plurals that have acquired a singular meaning."

(I should point out that in science and technology, the noun data is always treated as a plural.)

Media can be used in the singular to refer to the various branches as a unit, e.g.

The media is giving our candidate a rough time

It would be equally correct, however, to say

The media are giving our candidate a rough time

The plural verb is used if the idea is clearly plural:

The media are in total disagreement among themselves as to his chances for prosecution

It's never wrong to use media with a plural verb. Even when it is used with a singular verb, however, the pronoun referent is almost always plural: they, their, them, themselves.

Gisele's sentence should be either

The media was wrong and they did not apologize

Or, more likely, and also acceptable to more people,

The media were wrong and they did not apologize

Marilyn Martin

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