Possessives and Attributives

Q. How would you make “news” possessive? It would seem that you would recommend just an apostrophe (as in CMOS 7.20), but that doesn’t quite make sense to me, since I would pronounce the possessive with an extra s, as in “the news’s problem” or “The Daily News’s new editor.” I’m sorry if you’ve covered this question already, but when I tried searching CMOS I didn’t find anything.

A. Merriam-Webster says that “news” is “plural in form but singular in construction, often attributive.” It’s that “singular in construction” that governs the answer—which agrees with yours: “the news’s problem.” In other words, the possessive follows the rule for singular nouns. Compare “politics,” which is “plural in form but singular or plural in construction.” That word not only looks like a plural (“plural in form”) but can also act like one (“plural in construction”), so an apostrophe alone is used: “politics’ true meaning.” We hope to cover this distinction in a future edition of CMOS.